Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ghost town

'This town is coming like a ghost town'

So said the Specials in '79 and so it goes with the continued fascination with amassing hundreds of 'fans' to branded facebook pages where nothing ever happens.

The Facebook ghost towns.

Wikipedia's description of the ghost town goes along the lines of:

'Factors leading to abandonment of towns include depleted natural resources..roads bypassing or no longer accessing the town...economic activity shifting elsewhere, human intervention such as highway re-routing, and nuclear disasters (such as Chernobyl).'

Nuclear disasters aside all of the above apply to these desolate online spaces.

The avatars are there, for sure. A small glimmer of recognition that human life once inhabited these spaces for one brief 'like' moment.

In the absence of anything to DO, these settlers moved on.

What's the value of a Facebook fan?

Nothing, until you make it valuable.

Facebook fandom in an unactualised state is simply a low level permission asset, a bunch of people who don't particularly mind being spammed or opportunists happy to recieve free product.

Like most cases of shiny object syndrome, it's a case of technology for technologies sake.

Give it purpose, some meaning and a shared goal. Give those fans something to DO.
A reason to be connected to the brand, and to each other then theres the chance for all that potential fandom to be realised.

Better still, is find the community that already exists, that already has purpose and already has a goal. Find them and help them get to where they want to be by being useful.

So, how do we get people to engage with [our brand]?
How about, how does [our brand] engage with people?

'Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?
We danced and sang as the music played inna de boomtown...'

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