New Facebook Page Layout Causes Mass Uprising

Sometime last week, Facebook made good on a threat to significantly change the layout of Fan Pages (business pages, brand pages, etc.) and also the methodology in which they are built. This marks the death bell for FBML, the proprietary mark-up language of Facebook that has spawned a cottage industry explosion of “social media experts” and services who build tab applications like simple Welcome pages. Going forward, all applications need to be built using an IFRAME rather than FBML. Facebook says this is for the better for all parties involved. As developers we have to agree. This straight from the Facebook Developers Blog:

“As of today, you can build your Page Tab apps using iframes rather than FBML. This means you can now build apps that run across Facebook (including Pages and Canvas applications) using the same simple, standards-based web programming model (HTML, JavaScript, and CSS). In addition, you can easily integrate social plugins and the Graph API within your tab.”

So in a nutshell, here are highlights and lowlights:

1. Tabs are gone, and Pages for brands and businesses look a lot more like personal pages. There is a photo strip above the status update window, much like on personal pages.

2. Navigation links in the left column replace tabs. So if you had a Welcome page that new visitors default to when they visit your brand page, it will still work*, but rather than having a tab at the top of your page, it will show up in the lefthand links.

3. Powerful new feature: admins of Pages can toggle between using Facebook as themselves (John Doe) or the Brand (Acme Widget Company). Social Media marketing managers are going to wet themselves over this change alone.

4. Brands who have invested in the development of FBML tab apps will likely have to rewrite these apps at some point using the new iFrame method, but Facebook’s official word on when FBML will be deprecated and phased out has been vague. The Captain recommends you do it sooner rather than later. That crap should live on your own server anyway.

5. A lot of folks have been complaining about the order of Status Updates: the new change apparently applies a ranking to Status Updates, and the most relevant or popular appear top down, rather than in chronological order. I’d be willing to bet, mateys, that Facebook will change this back to chronological, and/or give users the choice. After all, it wouldn’t really be a status update if “What Are You Doing Right Now” didn’t appear at the top of the list.

What do you think on these new changes? Pirate Booty? Cause for mutiny? Couldn’t give a scurvy rat’s ass? We’d like to know.

One Less Fan

It finally happened. I publicly “unfriended” someone. There have been times in my personal experiences with Facebook where I grew tired of someone’s activity, and I quietly “unfriended” that person. There have been other times, for example, during a recent career switch, where I quietly “unfriended” former client contacts that I probably never should have “friended” in the first place. Nothing personal. Life goes on. Just trying to unclutter the stream, the same way you might recycle business cards in your desk of people you’ll never need to talk to again. That’s what LinkedIn is for anyway. But in the case mentioned above, I couldn’t take it anymore. To protect this person’s identity, I’ll just call him “Coach.” I knew Coach from bike racing. Nice kid. Quiet. Humble. From a good family. Then he became a contestant on Survivor. No shit! Of course I accepted his friend request on Facebook, after all, I thought I knew him pretty well. Not sure if he actually does his own Facebook posts or if his “publicist” does them for him, but I noticed the last few months they have become crass, negative, self-absorbed. It was starting to become pollution in my newsfeed. Then there was one post that just sent me over the top, something about not caring about the country’s Gazillion dollar and growing federal deficit, as long as it didn’t affect him personally, he could care less. I posted a comment saying how negative and self-absorbed I thought he had become. Then I promptly unfriended Coach. I should have stayed friends for awhile, so I could have had access to all of his supporters who cussed me out, criticized me (for being critical of Coach), calling me a jackass, wondering why I cared about the federal deficit as a personal matter, etc. I think next time, I’ll just do it quietly. The lesson I learned: I really just wanted to send Coach a message to get him to think about what he was saying, instead I incited a riot amongst his fans and followers. People read this stuff, folks. It’s become a powerful medium, even when it’s just personal conversation.

How Do You Mountain?

I applaud Park City-based The Canyons Resort, (or maybe just Canyons), for committing some serious bucks towards creating content. Check out How Do You Mountain. Is this a social media campaign? Or is it a PR campaign? Yes, it’s all of those things. If you are going to shell out a $40k stipend for 4 months of work, put the winner up in a luxury suite at the Waldorf Astoria, spiff them out with content creating tools like a camera, video cam, laptop, then give them an all-access pass to one of the largest ski resorts in North America, people are going to notice. Here’s what I really like about their strategy:

1. the selection process to find their pro blogger for a season in itself is creating user-generated content. A 2 minute video is required with every application. Tons of people are going to submit. Heck, I’ll bet some marketing staffers at neighboring resorts are going to apply, just for the fun of it. Aye mateys, why not? I’m sure there will be some funny ones that will end up on their YouTube channel later this fall, regardless of who wins the coveted position.

2. Forget about turning screws in the rental shop, bumping chairs, slinging nachos in the bar. This would be the highest paying ski bum job you are going to find in Park City this winter. Most other resorts and DMOs pawn off blogging and content creation to an intern or someone who is currently on-staff and chronically overworked. Kudos for bucking up the cash.

3. Who cares if the person who wins ends up being a tool? The contest is going to generate more PR buzz in the long run just for the high stakes nature.

What do you think? Smart move?

Salt Lake City Egotist Is Here

There is a new community site that just launched for the blossoming creative industry in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s called Salt Lake City Egotist, modeled after Denver, Colorado’s Denver Egotist. Straight out of their manifesto, yo:

The Salt Lake City Egotist exists  ”to work together to elevate the range, genre, and creative quality of what is being produced in our city, to hold each other accountable for our work, and to hire, promote, and educate local talent. We are here to build a community.”

The SLC Egotist is not just pushing news out there, one way street style, they are also willing to be on the receiving end of, well, news. If you are a member of the creative, advertising, digital, what-have-you industry, there are several ways you can submit news and work. Nice. Also good for freelancers looking to cast some nets out there, as the SLC Egotist has a job board, and users are encouraged to join as members and maintain profiles. Aye, Mateys, we are indeed excited to see what new undiscovered ports this frigate sails to.