Mashable Asks Facebook to Face 2012 Mistakes

Mashable takes Facebook to task for some of its mistakes in 2012. Granted, we all made mistakes in 2012 … remember (that embarrassing event) and/or (person I dated)? 

But regarding Facebook, the "hidden inbox" was the really frustrating one. Looked like I’d missed messages from people and they probably think I’m a jerk for not responding, when the fact is I’m a nice guy — and I’ll be the first to tell you that. Mashable relays:

3. Instagram vs. Twitter and the Rising Garden Walls
In a move that has gone largely unexplained, Instagram disabled support for Twitter cards in early December. Instagram links no longer propagate as photos in Twitter streams, and users who’ve married the two in their social media lives are frustrated.

It’s clear Facebook still views Twitter as an existential threat, and perhaps rightfully so. The two networks keep adopting each other’s features (Twitter incorporating media, Facebook becoming a real-time news feed). But killing Instagram’s Twitter integration is a classic "walled garden" move by Facebook, and a sign that if you still want to use Instagram, you’ll have to play by Facebook’s rules.

Who loses in this battle of APIs? Users, according to Mashable’s deputy editor Chris Taylor. I have to agree.

4. Facebook Messaging Gets Weird
We’ve had email since the ’70s. It’s not that hard to implement.

Yet baffling quirks in Facebook’s messaging system came to light in 2012.

The first was a "hidden inbox" that stored messages Facebook deemed unimportant. Users in late 2011 and early 2012 were surprised to find outdated communications from friends and family buried there. While this "Other" inbox was not a new feature, it became black mark on Facebook’s user experience in 2012.

Remember kids: Users, not algorithms, should determine what is and isn’t important.

Another bizarre feature that bubbled up this summer was "Message Seen" notifications — essentially, a read receipt that indicates when users see your messages, chats and group posts. You can no longer hide from unwanted Facebook communications. Your friend will know as soon as you’ve read (and ignored) that request to attend her poetry slam next Thursday.

Oh, and you can’t turn it off (not without some fancy browser extensions, anyway).

If that’s not enough, Facebook just rolled out a dandy new feature that lets strangers send you a message for $1. Get ready for spam, unsolicited pitches and long-lost stalkers.

Advertising: Make It Count offers some thoughts on how to keep your advertising effective. Some valuable suggestions here:

4. Focus on faces
The face is the center of our being, the barometer of a person’s health and beauty. It’s also how we evaluate whether we like somebody, and the place to check if we distrust what we’re being told. Fake smiles don’t fool us; everybody’s a natural facial coder. For instance, ‘surprise’ that lasts for more than a second isn’t genuinely felt surprise; it’s canned, another case of ‘spin’ and is intuitively rejected. Our results show that the casting alone can account for a 30% swing in consumers’ emotional response to an execution that is otherwise identical in format and messaging.

5. Make It memorable
Ad agencies too often set a pace that feels like a blur to consumers. Their clients can meanwhile be foolishly blind to the need for an ad that achieves an emotional peak. People notice change; a solution where the ‘pain’ of the status quo isn’t conveyed adequately means the solution isn’t perceived as valuable and the storyline just drones on.

6. Relevancy drives connection
‘Us’ and ‘me’ is everything; attachment and self-esteem are the motivations that work best. Differentiation from rivals doesn’t by itself deliver anything on behalf of your target market. In Latin, the words ‘motivation’ and ‘emotion’ have the same root, i.e., to move, to make something happen. Without emotional engagement, you’re dead.

7. Always sell hope
Meaningfulness is the key to sustained happiness. Create a powerful context, a way to enhance confidence and security, or else you’re merely selling a product or service instead. When we’re happy we embrace a branded offer, and are inspired to solve problems at a clip that’s as much as 20%faster (with superior results). In other words, happiness isn’t ‘soft’.

8. Don’t lead with price
Price has only to be heard to be pigeon-holed, short-circuiting the emotional connection. In contrast, value gets assessed over time, based on the build-up of brand associations and experience of the offer. Make money by building a relationship. Loyalty is a feeling, after all, and when it comes to price it depends on overcoming people’s natural aversion (disgust) about surrendering cash to purchase a company’s goods.

PR: Getting Out in Front Works Again (JetBlue Edition)

By now, you’ve heard the story about the JetBlue flight attendant who quit in an uproar, telling a customer — and many others — to (bleep) off. What’s more, he’s been anointed by some as a hero by angry employees nationwide. The whole incident was certainly unprofessional and not something the company is proud of. At any rate, after a day or so of public ridicule, Twitter wars with comedians, etc., JetBlue finally acknowledged the situation on its own blog and seemed to come off quite well:

Sometimes the weird news is about us…
It wouldn’t be fair for us to point out absurdities in other corners of the industry without acknowledging when it’s about us. Well, this week’s news certainly falls into that category. Perhaps you heard a little story about one of our flight attendants? While we can’t discuss the details of what is an ongoing investigation, plenty of others have already formed opinions on the matter. Like, the entire Internet. (The reason we’re not commenting is that we respect the privacy of the individual. People can speak on their own behalf; we won’t do it for them.)

While this episode may feed your inner Office Space, we just want to take this space to recognize our 2,300 fantastic, awesome and professional Inflight Crewmembers for delivering the JetBlue Experience you’ve come to expect of us.

Additionally, they were able to parlay the incident into a compliment for their existing employees.

So let this be a lesson that sometimes it’s best to address a situation upfront, rather than hope it goes away while losing your ability to control any part of the message.

The Family Guy

"Sir, I’ve served with family men; I knew family men; family men are friends of mine. Mr. Quayle, you are no family man." This might be Lloyd Bentsen’s response to a political mailer being sent by Dan Quayle’s son, Ben, in his quest to fill the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. John Shadegg in Arizona.

CQ Politics recently blogged about the mailer, which shows the candidate with two little girls, although he himself has no children (see the link to the full blog for a snapshot of the mailer):

Congressional candidate Ben Quayle, son of the former vice president, is raising some eyebrows with direct mail pieces that seem to invite readers to presume he and his wife have more than just themselves and a dog to take care of.

The Arizona Capitol Times’ Bill Bertolino reports that the campaign uses shot above in two mailings. Part of the cutline reads, "Tiffany and I live in this district and we are going to raise our family here."

Writes Bertolino: "Is Quayle intentionally trying to leave voters with the impression that he’s a ‘family man’? It’s plausible.He’s been a frequent target of many of his nine opponents — all of whom are older than him and have children — for what they call his thin resume and lack of life experience."

When asked that question, Quayle’s campaign said the girls in the picture are relatives of a staff member who happened to be at a campaign event.

"I think you guys have got a lot of time on your hands," said spokesman Damon Moley. "They’re just terribly cute kids."

"We are presenting Ben as a pro-family candidate because he is a pro-family candidate," Moley said. "We are presenting him as a traditional-values candidate because he is a traditional values candidate."

So what do you think? Are the media and critics right to say the mailer is misleading, or is it just savvy politics on Quayle’s part and nothing more?

Collaboration Could Enhance Your Messaging

Does your company use a PR agency? For that matter, is your company a PR agency? recently conducted a survey that showed 90% of the PR professionals questioned thought results would be better if the agency/client relationship was more collaborative. One would think many of their clients would feel the same way. So Glasscubes offers these helpful tips to improve your relationship, and hopefully improve your visibility in the process.

5 Tips to Improve Agency-Client Collaboration

Every day, Glasscubes helps small businesses improve working relationships by strengthening collaboration. The following tips are based on that first-hand experience, as well as feedback collected in the survey.

Stop thinking in terms of “agency” and “client.” Instead, be part of one team working side-by-side to meet goals. By tearing down the walls separating the agency from the client, you’ll build a more trusting, team-focused relationship.

Reduce reliance on email. Email is quick and easy, but it doesn’t lend itself to give-and-take, back-and-forth communication – one of the driving forces behind effective collaboration. For example, by encouraging conversations on a shared online workspace, agencies and clients can listen to suggestions from multiple people, discuss ideas and work together to develop a solution. Plus, reducing emails means less time wasted searching archives, and no more forgetting to CC someone.

Encourage collective brainstorming. Barriers develop when agencies think they’re supposed to have all the answers. Likewise, tension is created when clients don’t provide enough input, but still expect agencies to deliver the goods. Instead, brainstorm together and encourage feedback. Combine the collective resources of the agency with the client’s subject-matter expertise for better results. This brainstorming can happen in-person or online.

Build trust. Trust isn’t developed overnight. But, it’s critical to effective agency/client relationships. With trust comes confidence, an openness to new ideas and a sense of partnership.

Continue to evolve. Just because “that’s the way it’s always been done” doesn’t mean it’s the right. Nearly 90% of survey respondents said relationships are “somewhat collaborative,” which is okay, but not good enough. There’s a clear desire to increase collaboration as a means to generate better results. Be willing to shake up traditional agency/client communication.