Monday, March 11, 2013
After last week’s post went up, a friend emailed me: “I love the social media ethos you are developing,” he wrote. “ Pastor Reid… the sermons are good.” It was a funny, and completely unexpected comment because I hadn’t previously considered that my social media fundamentals could be looked at from the perspective of moral values--that was just an accident, albeit a happy one. I was only thinking in an abstract way about whatever works.
This week my social media fundamental is curation, which is a pretentious way of saying that the user is making choices that reveal their judgment, personality, and identity. Every time you find links to share on Facebook, you’ve made a decision that they are more important than the stuff you come across that’s not good enough. This is usually instantaneous and automatic. There’s a quote from Ryan Gosling that is applicable:
“Picking roles is like listening to songs on the radio: there can be a lot of really great songs in a row, but then one comes on that just makes you want to dance.”
You hear that song, you read that article and then… click! Whether you think about it or not, you are incrementally saying: “this is who I am.” You are making gesture to all your offline friends and acquaintances, and all those completely unknown people who gather around the social media water cooler: “Hey everybody, here are my favorite movies, TV shows, bands, books, politics, and hobbies!” I am what I choose. And when a lot of people in the social media space sign on to what you’re putting out… it makes you feel good. It gives you satisfaction in some weird way that is new with social media.
Facebook is more popular than all the other networks combined because it allows you to make your choices better than the others do, and it has the most members, which gives you a potentially larger bully pulpit for your curations. Twitter is inherently not so good at curation because you are making so many choices that each one has very little weight. Therefore, Twitter will never, ever be even close to as popular as Facebook, but one of the reasons that it is popular is that it rests on a bedrock of curation--you just have to follow a tweetmeister for a for a very long time before their personality becomes evident through a hundred foot high pile of 140 character tidbits.
You take a lot of pictures with your phone. Which ones do you put up on Instagram? Which pictures do you put up on Pinterest? What do you put up on your Tumblr blog? That’s you. . Just pluck a lot of crap out of the fragrant perfume and effluvia of the worldwide web.
Okay. Imagine there is a sites that provides a service of some kind. Not wanting to be left out of the social media whirlwind of excitement, they decide they need to be “social.” So they stick on some iteration of “like” and “share” buttons and give their users the opportunity to comment. But maybe they forget curation or don’t realize its importance or just can’t jam it in for some reason. Even if they do, not many people take them up in any significant way because it doesn’t make them feel good, and generating that high is the crack of social media. For most platforms, there is a circular problem with getting the users to that emotional place, because one component of the joy of curation is having a sizable audience. But the successful ones can make you feel good without a big audience. You feel the fun immediately for its own sake, soon others do, and as Chairman Mao said in the Little Red Book, you soon have a prairie fire.
Curation is the oxygen of social media as it breeds the comments, likes and shares.
By the way, I just suggested above that I read Mao’s Little Red Book, something I could easily have done on my Facebook page. What does that tell you about me? It says that I contain multitudes, as Walt Whitman said. Dropping lots of names shows that I’m a real smartie, and I don’t have to write this damned blog to do that, which is a lot of work, and by the way, tons more people see what I curate on Facebook than read this.
Of course, I’ve neglected to say that people don’t only curate on social media, they also make their own stuff. Creativity is next week’s post.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Most of us are familiar with how Facebook and Twitter work, but some of us might not use Pinterest or Instagram or have never thought about how you might get more out of LinkedIn. New social media networks are going to be invented in the future. It’s possible that you will like one so much that you’ll spend more of your time there than you do on Twitter or Facebook (as I do with Artstack.) When you get there first time, you are probably a little lost.
What if there were some fundamental ideas that were true for all social media? What if you could use these ideas as a basic guides for how to use each one of them well? Armed with a compass like that, you wouldn’t always need to be looking to experts for advice and you could follow your own path through each one.
Last week I wrote about the basic social media component of reciprocity. This week I’m going to discuss its sibling, generosity. Reciprocity within social media is pretty much what you’d expect-- “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”--but generosity is the idea that you are going to get very little back for what you put in.
Ted Hope has almost 25,000 Twitters followers and there is no doubt that he derives great benefit from having that many people hear what he has to say. But how much time has he invested getting all these followers? Tens of thousands of hours? How much information and commentary has he put out there every day. Is it “worth it”? Not in the world outside of social media it isn’t. We would expect to get a lot more out of that kind of investment of time. There are a lot of people and entities like Ted: celebrities, organizations, companies, journalists, and so forth, where they see advantages of various sorts for tweeting or being active on Facebook. Still, if you are a follower of Aziz Ansari or Chelsea Handler or Steve Martin or Howard Stern you’re getting a lot out of it. They get something too, but trust me they make more $$$ in their day jobs. Weirdly there are all sorts of people you have never heard of who build vast followings on Twitter for some reason. Why do they do this? For ego? There is this strange fever of delight that people get from having a lot of followers even if it’s as meaningless as “Follow me and I’ll follow you back!” But no matter. We get stuff from them just as we get stuff from our friends who don’t try to out-tweet the universe, and that’s one of the fundamental things that effective social media can offer us. And that’s what we should aspire to do on Twitter. Give.
If your company or film or organization has a Facebook page and all you do is use it as a newsletter, it’s not going to be very successful. Some added benefit has to be given to the people who like the page, from giveaways and prizes to entertaining content or news that they can’t get anywhere else. You have to treat your business page exactly like you treat your personal page. You have to give. People who have liked my Facebook page know that I put up cinema quote graphics each day (I’ve started putting up here too). That’s my treat. Maybe you enjoy them or maybe you don’t, but I make one every day.
You’ve got to give something.
Likewise, how many times have you helped somebody through social media? Answered a question? Given advice? Obviously generosity is central to crowdfunding networks like Kickstarter, where you literally reach into your pocket. Why? Would you have done this in another context? Would you extend your checkbook so easily if they set up a stand in Union Square? It’s an internet phenomenon that supersizes the telethons and PBS tote bags of yesteryear, but have you ever thought about how crowdfunding might have parallel attributes to other things you do in social media?
All kinds of opportunities for giving can be found on the internet. Giving doesn’t make something social media, but social media means giving.
When you get to unknown social media terrain for the first time, if you look around for where the giving is, I promise you it will help you get started and soon you’ll be ahead of the game. And if you have trouble finding it or it seems lame and grafted on, then there is something amiss with that network.
Is it intrinsic to the fabric of the thing? Is it built in? Or has it merely been grafted on by its creators to make it look “social”? This is a vital question in figuring out not only how to use it as well as questioning whether it’s much of a social network at all. It may be very useful, but you might notice that it’s attempts to be social are kind of lame.
Where’s the generosity? Find it and be generous. If you can’t find it… there is probably something wrong.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
“And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to
The love you make.”
Everybody wants people to pay more attention to their Facebook business page and there are lots of ways to make that happen--although I believe it’s getting harder and harder to do these days.
Unless you have a huge page with thousands of followers, I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are only a few people who comment and share regularly on your page, the ones that appreciate what you’re offering more than anybody else does. Social Media gurus call them “superfans” and some even refer to them as “free salesmen” for your products which I find kind of cynical kind of idea I’d like to scrape off my shoes.
What if instead of only thinking about ourselves, we took a little time to try to help out our superfans? How about our friends? How about anything that looks worthwhile? Because it is very hard to make your voice heard on Facebook and people need all the help they can get.
What about a little reciprocity? That’s the true spirit of social media.
Facebook forces us to do all kinds of unnatural things because it’s computer algorithm Edgerank is antithetical to human communication, as it puts a computer between us. Facebook servers don’t know how to evaluate the quality of human contact. If you are quietly appreciating something without commenting, it decides you don’t care, which is nuts.
Reciprocity is one of the fundamental components of social media. I don’t think a social media network will grow and flourish unless reciprocity is hard-wired into it, like the retweet is in Twitter.
There are a lot of niche social media platforms out there in addition to the big ones: Athlinks (athletes), ArtStack (fine art discover) Gentlemint (kind of like a Pinterest for men), and ThirdAge (health for boomers and beyond), and hundreds of others, notably niche dating sites for every group you can imagine. Which ones will survive?
The winners will be the ones that incorporate reciprocity and other social media fundamentals in the most elegant and authentic ways.
Just as reciprocity is make or break for these platforms, it works the same way for you when you use them. Whatever menu you cook up for yourself with the big and small networks, if you enter them with the idea of practicing intelligent reciprocity you will do better than if you don’t.
There are other fundamentals to successful social media and I’ll be talking about them in later posts.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
As I was turning in this blog post on Wednesday, Tom Scott’s Tumblr blog “Actual Facebook Graph Searches,” was going viral. Scott searched things like Mothers of Jews who like Bacon, married people who like Prostitutes, and current employers of people who like Racism, and more disturbingly, family members of people who live in China and like Falun Gong, and Islamic men interested in men who live in Tehran, Iran. It’s likely that some of these “likes” were intended to be ironic; I’m dubious that people would say they liked Prostitutes, even if they did, and Gizmodo found people with dubious likes for “Shitting my pants,” as well as some creepy things that might not be ironic. Also the men in Iran said that they liked both men and women, and it's not unusual for people on Facebook to interpret that preference in a non-sexual way. But as has been noted a lot, it would be hard for people in China to say they were joking about liking the Falun Gong.
I will write more about this, but I would advise all of you to go to “3 Privacy Changes You Must Change Before Using Facebook Graph Search” (Gizmodo) and Facebook Graph Search: Now Is The Time to Go Over Your Privacy Settings (ABC News). I also think it would be worth taking a look at The Facebook Privacy information page .
Last Tuesday, Facebook introduced a new feature called Graph Search at a highly hyped press conference. Wall Street, which had been expecting a phone ,was not impressed, and the stock dived by 6.5% (it’s since recovered). On the other hand, the social media bloggers almost unanimously called Graph Search a triumph and Mashable declared: “Facebook Graph Search Could Be Its Greatest Innovation.”
What is it? Graph Search gives you the power to tap into the web of connections between you and your friends in a way that has never existed before. For example, if you type in a question like “Which of my friends like Moonrise Kingdom?” you will be shown a list of your friends, weighted by the ones you interact with the most, i.e., best friends on top. You could also ask, “What films do my friends like?” and presumably--I haven’t seen it yet--the films at the top of the list will be the ones most liked by your friends. You can also add other variables to your search like “Which of my female Los Angeles friends who speak French like Moonrise Kingdom?” As Graph Search indexes photos as well as likes, you can ask to see pictures from the photo libraries of all your friends who have liked something or other on Facebook. You can see more examples of what Graph Search can do on a very Apple-ish video, and sign up for their Beta here.
Consider for a moment how Graph Search could supplement or compete with the services that other websites provide. Yelp tells you what friends have to say about restaurants and other businesses; Graph Search tells you which ones are liked by your friends and their friends. LinkedIn is a powerful hiring tool for searching through people’s resumes; Graph Search lets you make targeted social inquiries, such as finding which friends of your friends are film publicists. Match.com, as USA Today pointed out, allows you to see profiles of strangers who have signed up for the service; Graph Search shows which of your Facebook acquaintances and their friends are single. (Female Facebook users… prepare to be pestered!)
At this point Graph Search only indexes what’s in your profile and the pages you’ve liked, so its usefulness is limited by how much our Facebook profile tell about us. However, Mark Zuckerberg says that his ultimate goal is for Graph Search to include all the content posted on Facebook. Imagine if you could instantly call up comments that a trusted friend made about a movie three months ago? That would indeed be very useful, but it will be many years before Graph Search can do that. In the meantime, if there’s anything that Graph Search can’t help you with, your search goes to Bing.
If people having all this instant access to your data disturbs you, remember that there is nothing accessible through Graph Search that you haven’t already made public, and it only works within your circle of friends. This is an excellent time to revisit your privacy settings, perhaps take down some pictures and remove tags. Here’s Facebook’s information page and the video below about how how privacy works with Graph Search.
As far as your film’s fan page goes, Graph Search will force you to change your strategies. In the past, your page was the nucleus of a network, branching out to your fans and their friends, and to the tributaries of Facebook users that stem out beyond them. Graph Search serves people on the outer margins looking in. Previously the likes, comments and shares drove your message into the network, and the number of likes was secondary, but if Graph Search catches on, the number of fans will be very important to a search for “What movies do my friends like?” However, the quality of the content will be as important as it was before, because it will move your film up to the top of the list.
Will Graph Search become one of those big ideas that changes the way we use the Internet?
Time will tell. As I said before, Graph Search’s viability is limited to how much our profiles express who we are, and that is never the whole story--all of us enjoy more movies than we “like” on Facebook. Will people hike up their privacy settings so much that Graph Search never reaches its potential? (If that happens it would have a detrimental effect on advertising.) How well will Graph Search work on phones? What will be the impact of all the bots and fake likers on Facebook? On the positive side, will Graph Search make it more likely that people will like film pages and write positive comments, as they can see how it will make a long-time difference? Secondly, if Graph Search truly lives up to its promise it may become the “killer app” that convinces Facebook holdouts to join so they can get access to it. At this point I think it’s too early to separate what is hype from what could be a seismic change. Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg had the right tone when he said, “This is just some really neat stuff. This is one of the coolest things we’ve done in a while.”
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Imagine if an idealistic multi-billionaire became determined to reinvent independent film.
Imagine if he sought out the most talented, but not yet established, filmmakers in this country--the stars of the film schools, people, festival prize-winners, critically acclaimed directors whose movies have not turned a profit. He invites each of these people to his office in California, where he takes them for a nature walk to explain his dream of a colossal experiment in cinematic collaboration, larger than anything the world has previously seen. Not incidentally, he offers each of them a substantial salary to take part. Most will grab the money or be curious; others will be suspicious of his motives or wary of being tied up and say no. It will take awhile to put together the perfect group, but
the entrepreneur is patient and won’t quit until he’s assembled hundreds of people, the best of the best of the best. Of course, sometimes he’ll make the wrong choices, but one thing he’s known for is his decisiveness about letting people go when necessary.
The ultra-wealthy man hires one of the world’s most acclaimed architects alive to design the biggest open office space on the planet, a Xanadu where all these filmmakers can work together. There are no private offices, only a single floor and the owner works in the same gargantuan structure as everybody else.
What would happen if such an abundance of talent were brought together in the same place? Is this clear-eyed passion or mad folly? Would it be an unwieldy mess, a total waste of money and time? Or is there a chance that something wonderful might emanate from this imagination factory? Maybe even something unimaginable and new?
Change “gifted film director” to “visionary hacker” and that is very similar to what Mark Zuckerberg is planning to happen in the Xanadu that Frank Gehry is building for him.
Architect Frank Gehry and Mark Zuckerberg review the Facebook West design with Gehry's partner, Craig Webb. Source: Frank Gehry/Gehry Partners
My mind boggles when I visualize Zuckerberg’s huge room, several football fields long, chock-a-block with tech geniuses. What will be born when so many fertile imaginations collide? His venture is so outsized it reminds me of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York,” rebuilding New York City inside a warehouse. No matter where Zuckerberg’s audacious dream takes him, it’s an artist’s dream, not a businessman’s dream.
While many Facebook-haters cast Zuckerberg in the mold of an arrogant commander like Steve Jobs or a socially uncomfortable nerd like Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network,” his lack of impressiveness as a speaker belies his undeniable brilliance, and I actually find him kind of sweet. I believe in his sincerity when he says that “Facebook was not originally created to be a company… it was built to accomplish a social mission—to make the world more open and connected.”
Zuckerberg is the opposite of Steve Jobs. Jobs didn’t want anybody to know what the person in the next office was doing; Zuckerberg doesn’t want there to be offices at all, he wants “hangouts” where people can congregate. Jobs was obsessed with secrecy; Zuckerberg wants his staff to work in transparent ways. Jobs didn’t want anybody to know about his future plans; Zuckerberg loves to talk about them. For example, if you want to sleuth out what companies Zuckerberg is buying and what people he’s hiring, you’re going to have to go to this page in Wikipedia where they are all listed. In the past he was more interested in so-called “acqui-hires,” people taken on solely for their brains, rather than the startups they created (which sometimes pared down their services or shut down altogether, to the chagrin of their users), but lately he has been buying companies useful to mobile, most famously Instagram, but also Tagtile (mobile-based customer loyalty app), Glancee (location app to connect strangers with common interests), Karma (gifting app, which aided the very successful Facebook Gifts), Face.com (facial recognition) as well as many more acqui-hires.
I am particularly fascinated with the acqui-hires, because they are brought in with no specific ideas for how they might improve Facebook. I also believe that the entrepreneurs who do come in with companies attached are also acqui-hires as it is the nature of tech people to follow up a success by moving on to develop new technologies, just like a successful film director often wants to try out something different from what they’re known for.
This venture has been widely reported in the tech media but the mass media hasn’t given much notice to it. It’s a very big deal and it’s sitting right in front of people’s noses. The problem with most people is that tend to judge a company like Apple or Facebook based on what it looks like at the moment they’re looking at it. They aren’t capable of considering what it might become because they’re not Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg themselves. Therefore Apple could bring out the iPods, iPhones and iPads, and everybody is surprised, until one day it isn’t Apple Computers anymore, it’s just Apple. But why should each one of those things continue be so astonishing when you look at what Jobs had accomplished previously and you knew what a hungry mind he had?
Facebook has over a billion members and is adding a hundred thousand a day. It has changed the lives of many people. What other twenty-something has built a company like this? You have to give Zuckerberg a lot of credit for what he’s already achieved. As for where he’s going in the future, it’s my hypothesis that he hasn’t assembled this group merely to make Facebook “better” any more than Apple brought people into the company in the late 90’s solely to improve the iMac. I believe that the Facebook of the future will be a much more evolved social network, but also an umbrella under which many technological marvels as yet unknown will flourish. I think the idea of Facebook will be something much more expansive than what people consider it to be today.
There are a handful of technological ideas that will transform our lives in the future and I believe many of them will be born in Zuckerberg’s workshop.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
I read that 57% of people say they talk more online than they do in real life. Whether or not this suspiciously precise statistic is wholly accurate-- it paints a realistic picture of the way people I know live today, and how we will live as we move forward to 2013 and beyond.
Does social media increase our connection to each other or does it tear us apart? By communicating with more people more of the time do we let our face-to-face social interaction skills deteriorate? Will we evolve into creatures with very small mouths and extremely dexterous fingers?
Of course, not all the changes wrought by the internet have kept us physically apart. In almost as many cases it has brought us together, for example: computer dating; reunions with long-lost friends; joining with strangers at meetup.com live events; connecting with nearby friends through 4Square, to name but a few. The truth is that the internet has probably connected more people in the real world than any entity that preceded it, and it has opened up previously unimagined opportunities for lasting connections with the people we already know.
How does the internet impact moviemaking? While technology has created the opportunity for parts of the process to be done in isolation, mostly we band together in groups of varying sizes during film production. In addition, most of us interact at film festivals and through organizations like the IFP, the Sundance Institute and Film Independent. Where the fissures between people are growing is in the way we watch movies, which is less and less in movie theatres.
Technology is chipping away at the idea of cinema as a communal experience, and this concerns me. The small screens cut into the art of the cinema and into the vitality of the experience, which is at its best when it flows from the credits through the café conversations that flow afterwards.
Technology has proven its ability to help get people into the theatres, notably the transformation of the experience created by online ticketing. Social media can help people find out what their friends are seeing and recommending. I do miss the golden age of the film critic, but I realize that the purpose of sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic is to get people out of their houses and into the theatres.
I’m as big a believer in social media as you can find, but I am more cheered by new ideas in micro-exhibition like ReRun and Rooftop Films, and the alternative distribution models being explored by people like Peter Broderick, Jon Reiss, Scott Kirsner, and the creator of this blog. We need more ideas like these and we need to integrate them at their core with social media. As a marketer, I do advise people to consider the digital route, but I never advise them to leave some kind of theatrical showing out of their plans.
My plea to the independent film community for 2013 is simple: let’s use technology to bring us together. See you at the movies!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
A Shareable Square should be as bold and brief as it is possible for you to make it. Shareable Squares are all about the quick glance; they get a larger response than text for exactly that reason.
Never forget that many people will see your square on their phones or in apps like Tweetdeck where the image you may have put a lot of time into will be extremely small. If you are too subtle, a lot of people won’t notice it at all. What’s the point of that?
I found the quote above on the web and I liked it. It was fine, but I didn’t think it was something that would have the greatest impact on my page. So I kicked it into high gear.
Keep your text as short as possible.
Stick with a single bold font.
I began my New York movie career as a graphic designer, and so I know a bit more about it than most, but I’ve thrown the rulebooks out for my squares. In terms of font weight, my answer is increasingly bold or even extra-bold. I’m often going with Arial Black because PicMonkey has it, so that makes it quick. When I do my squares elsewhere, I use Gill or Helvetica Neue.
Many graphic designers abhor Helvetica or Arial, as they are omnipresent cliches --check out Gary Hustwit’s excellent film Helvetica--but they are used everywhere because their stripped-down Swiss design is elegant and beautiful. You can’t go wrong with it, and that’s a good thing if you don’t know what you’re doing with typography.
Artist Barbara Kruger has created a lifetime of great art with Futura Bold Italic and Woody Allen has used Windsor Light Condensed on every movie since Annie Hall. It’s okay if you find your font and stick with it. Sans serif is recommended but you can choose anything you want if it packs a punch. If it’s not extremely legible at a small size… toss it!
On the other hand, I do admit that sometimes I feel like making a square like this Breakfast at Tiffany’s quote that breaks all my rules. The squares are also creative expression for me, and it would bore me if all I did was swing for the bleachers for fan reaction every time. And maybe I will assemble this square later with other things and it will work well in other social media like in Pinterest or a Tumblr blog.
But I know that most of the time I have to look for the most impact.
Monday, October 15, 2012
There is a business that has been spreading through Facebook for a long time that involves the selling of “likes.” In order to have likes to sell, the con men have to create untold thousands of phony people online. In order for the fake likes to appear real, they need to like other sites, not just the ones that they are being paid to like. The result is that you may be getting a lot of strange people liking your page: people who only seem to speak a foreign language; people who haven’t posted, or if they have posted it’s all gibberish; have profile pictures that are celebrities; and finally--have liked 4000 pages. One way to test your page is to look in your “Insights” and see where your fans live. I have a LOT of so-called “fans” who live in Morocco.
Some of you might be happy about this because it creates the illusion that your page is more popular than it really is, but having fake likes is not a good thing. When you buy ads to reach your fans, you will be paying good money to reach these phonies. Worse, if you advertise to the friends of your fans, you will get more and more of these imposters. In no time, they’ll be growing like crabgrass on your page.
The only way that your page will work as a marketing tool is by getting people to come to it that are truly interested. Anyone who is supposedly a fan of your page but isn’t involved puts you at a disadvantage. Over time, the Facebook algorithm will judge your page to not be interesting and will show your posts to less people. I have no idea how these things work--perhaps real people are manipulating them or perhaps they are internet robots (aka “bots”).
Having these counterfeit people on my page defeats the whole purpose of what I’m trying to achieve, which is bringing people together to talk about Facebook and social media. .It has been reported that Facebook is in the process of cleaning out fake pages, but I can’t wait for that. I want them gone.
Whenever my page is liked, I check out the page to see if it is real. I try to give it the benefit of the doubt. If there is any sign that this is an actual person I leave it alone. But if I’m sure it’s a fake, I go to the top of the phony profile and click the downward arrow next to message and select “Report/Block.” Blocking means that I can’t contact the person who doesn’t exist and that non-person can’t contact me… but that doesn’t help me. I want them gone. So I report them to Facebook.
After that, Facebook will ask to see if you’ve read their Community Standards. And then you can Confirm.
I realize that this doesn’t actually do anything, it just passes on a request to Facebook. It would be nice if Facebook would allow an individual page admin to eliminate any “likes” that they find suspicious. In the meantime this is the only option we have.
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Once you’ve set up your page, you’ll need to create a cover photo--an 851 x 315 picture that sits at the top of the page. Your cover is anything that can look good cropped into a long rectangle, but beyond that… what do you want your cover to be? For you, it might be a still from your movie, or one of your photographs, or your paintings or a product. If you don’t have anything original you’re going to have to create something and it has to be good as this is what will represent your business. You need to take your time on this, and if necessary get a graphic designer to help you. This is not a place to mess around with copyrights. I am very knowledgeable about Fair Use, which I will write about later, but let me say that it is hard to verify what it is, but it is not hard to verify what it isn’t—if you are looking to make money out of an image you have to pay for it. And I want to create an image that I can use later for everything. Let me tell you why I think a stock photo company is essential. I found my picture I use for my cover of the woman filmmaker on iStockphoto and decided she would be a good image for my brand. There are numerous pictures of her on iStockphoto and even a video, all of which might be useful at some point. More importantly, I was able to buy the lowest file size for $19 while knowing that more hi-def versions are available if I ever need them. One of the reasons I buy from iStockphoto over other stock photo companies is that they allow you to pay for them in dollars, rather than in credits. With all the others you have to buy a block of credits. This makes sense for somebody who buys a lot of photos but it is a ripoff for us because we buy credits we don’t use. If you want, you can still buy credits.However, there is one big negative to stock photography: anybody else can use it. Getting your own art is always better.
There can be typography on your cover page, but it can’t include any mention of Facebook terms such as “Like” or “Share.” There can’t be a Call to Action like “Get it Now” and it can’t have your website address. Read more details on the Facebook Page Terms page. It might suit you to change your cover from time to time. If so, you are in luck because there is a brand new app called pagecovery that lets you schedule cover changes at different intervals of the day, week or month. It’s free now but I’m sure it won’t always be.
There is an application for creating cover photos, but I tried it and found it very hard to use, so I decided to create a template for you myself. If you right click and download the picture below, you’ll have an 815 x 315 image with a cutaway where the profile picture will be. Rename it “Facebook Cover Template.”
I’m not going to assume that you are all Photoshop users, so on this video I’m using a free online video editor called pixlr editor. There are a lot of programs that copy Photoshop and what they all have in common is that they aren’t as good and are much more difficult to use. A few are online like pixlr and there is a well-known open source download called Gimp. In this demo I will be doing things that take four steps in pixlr and would only have taken one in the consumer version of Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, which is what I use. Version 11 is coming out very soon so now is a bad time to buy. I’ll let you know when it becomes available and at that point you should do yourself a favor and spend the $60 and buy it and make life easier for yourself. Once Elements 11 comes out I will do my demos in Photoshop Elements and if you want to do the same tasks in pixlr, Gimp, or another program, use the help files, although I can’t say for sure if you will be able to do it all.
The images I use in the demo video below come from creaTTor.com, which is an incredibly useful asset for free stock photos, textures and patterns (I used one of their free textures in my cover), illustrations, menus and buttons, Flash animations, and all kinds of stuff. You should explore it as they are great material for Shareable Squares and you won’t have to worry about copyright. The creaTTor.com stock photos come in sets that must be downloaded in their entirety. The images I’m using come from their Cosplay set from Pixster.
You’re going to want to run this video on YouTube so you can see it full screen.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Before you create your fan page, the first thing you need to think about is whether you even want one. You could continue to work off of your personal page and allow people to subscribe to it. You can do that in you “Account Setting” under “Subscribers.” If you’re well known, people can find you there and subscribe to your posts without you having to accept them as a friend and get their posts. Each time you post you decide whether they are public or just for your friends. Using this method means that you can’t advertise or get all the analytics and other benefits of a fan page, but perhaps it is the best thing for you.
If you do want a Facebook fan page, make sure that an authorized person creates it. This is not something to pass on to an intern or an outside expert. It must be done from the personal account of somebody who will always be around as the page will forever be linked to that person which can cause big problems once they are no longer involved.
Next do a search and see if there are any other titles in Facebook that are the same as yours. You might want to consider adding “The Movie” or “Official Page” after your title to make it easier to find. Be aware that there is something really weird that Facebook does where it makes a page for practically anything out of a Wikipedia entry. It doesn’t matter if there already is an official page. If you’re in Wikipedia, Facebook will probably do that and somebody could go to that other page and like that. There’s not much you can do about it but an “Official Page” listing would definitely help. Check out this “Moonrise Kingdom” page and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
You also should think ahead about the 25 character limit for Facebook ads, which is all of your title that will be displayed there. It will be 25 characters and then “…” Look at what happened with the ad for my page “Save the Supreme Court - Re-Elect Obama” The title got cut off right at the dash after “Court” which isn’t very elegant and was unnecessary. I could have called the page “Save the Supreme Court” or “Save the Supreme Court - Re-Elect Obama” (i.e. add an extra space). So learn from my mistake and give this some advance thought.
Also be aware that Facebook has a lot of rules about what a title can be. One rule--which caused me problems on my page--is that you can’t use the word “Facebook.” There are also some punctuation marks they won’t take. Question marks are okay, but not exclamation marks, which was a drag for a movie I consulted on called “Turn Me On, Dammit!” Definitely read the Facebook Pages Terms before you decide on your title. If you are like me, you probably never read things like this, and just click “agree” when asked but I strongly recommend that you read all Facebook rules, because if you break one they can take your page down with all your fans in a second. It’s unlikely they will do this but ignorance doesn’t cut it with them so make sure you learn all their rules. There is essential info in here about the rules for titles and about what is allowed in your cover picture, and rules for contests and promotions
Facebook has some useful information on Fan Pages here, which includes some helpful links to sample pages.There’s a green button in the center, “Create a Page,” which will take you here, where you’ll see these six squares. (Facebook changes things all the time, so if this doesn’t work just look up “how to make a facebook fan page” in Google.
The three on top are professional boxes and the three on the bottom are the unofficial boxes. For example, you can create an official fan page for your movie, but as many people that want to can create unofficial pages. They just can’t claim to be the official page and are supposed to put a link to your official page on their page.
Click any one of the six boxes and start exploring the dropdown menus. I think you should set your page up in one of the top three boxes, but if you’ve already done it in one of the bottom three, it’s no big deal. I don’t think you’ll have any problems, it’s just that if you are an official page you are supposed to be on top. No matter where you are you can go to Facebook and challenge anybody who is claiming to be you.
As soon as you type your title, check the box that says you’ve read the Facebook Pages Terms and hit return, you’ll have a fan page! It’s a bit shocking how fast it is. Immediately click “Edit Page” and then click “Manage Permissions” from the dropdown menu. Under “Page Visibility” click “Unpublish Page.” Now you can work on your page at your leisure and nobody will see it until you are ready to show it. If you change your mind about the title, you have the option to delete the page. At this point check your email as Facebook will have sent you a note with a lot of useful links. Check you junk mail if you don’t see it.
In my next post, we’ll create a cover photo.