Social Networking Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again

I have Facebook. You have Facebook. We all have Facebook.

Three years ago, if you would have asked me if I thought it would be this big, I would have said no. My firm belief was that people would get bored with it. I thought people who graduated from college would delete their accounts after the constant teachings that potential employers did in fact check them. Unfortunately, I knew as soon as my mother asked me, “Do you have one of those MyFace accounts?” it would be a bigger deal than I could ever imagine. That’s precisely what happened. I began getting “friend requests” from old high school teachers and even stumbled onto my 80-something-year-old grandmother’s account. That was it. I knew the pristine nature of this online feature would be forever tainted. I knew it would be a way for people to meddle in each other’s lives, and I knew that people would put up information that they wanted to be discovered. Now the online network has started to affect the business world as well.

According to a recent blog entry on the PR firm Bite Communication’s website, the concept of peer-to-peer review of products is being utilized on networks like Facebook and Twitter. Basically people are buying specific brands or products based on the “hype” of

"Did you hear about the 'Perfect Brownie Pan'?!"

them being the “fastest growing” or “best in review”. This isn’t a new concept for advertisers and PR firms. In fact the concept has been utilized for years now with the increase in the demand for celebrity news. Agencies and companies alike have been placing celebrities, such as Jessica Alba, in their commercials and essentially selling their product like hotcakes. I mean who wouldn’t buy a mascara that Jessica Alba promotes?

Although this is still a useful tactic, buyers have taken it upon themselves to promote specific products for absolutely no gain. You see it all the time too. For instance, I noticed once that a few girls had posted information about the “Perfect Brownie Pan” product. As soon as I saw more than three comments about it, I knew I had to “Google” it. This was peer-to-peer marketing in action. I didn’t have a great desire to purchase the product, but it did get me hunting.

So could this Facebook and Twitter revolution be more useful to businesses? We already know they use a great deal of space for online ads, but could this be a big break for them? Unfortunately, this could potentially be bad. If peer-to-peer marketing gets too popular, it could mean the elimination of certain promotional jobs in the business world. It could also take a great deal of business away from the underdogs, simply because Lindsay Lohan doesn’t use their particular products. Although I don’t particularly think this will cause massive amounts of unemployment among PR people and advertisers, but I do think that companies are going to have to start acknowledging the shift to a more consumer driven demographic.

Let me know what you think about the issue and please check out the BiteMarks for more information.

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