marakame musings.


You, and your social identity: muliple personalities and easy friendships

September 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Blog | No comment


Let’s admit it. We are different people on different social sites. Your Facebook “personality” is likely to be a bit more colorful than the one you share on LinkedIn. Your Twitter self is probably more concise and efficient than your blogging self, or than what you share on Facebook.  We are different personalities to different communities and to different subsets within those communities. Is this bad?

When it comes to social sharing, do you suffer from Mutiple Personality Dis-order?

I do, and I think this is not bad — in fact, that is life. In life, you interact differently with your boss or client than you do with your kids. Or your BFF. In life you adjust your personality to fit the situation and the other person, and that’s simply known as good manners.

Your business self can mirror your real you, but generally it does not, at least not 100% of the time. Come to think of it, except in rare occasions, it is probably a much healthier thing that they should not coexist all of the time.

And what about the number of friendships? I am often unnerved by the fact that I have over 400 “friends” on Facebook, hard as I try to keep that number down to 50. I feel too “easy” having so many social friends. Especially when I know myself to be the type of person who prefers very few, but very close real-life friendships. Again, here is a social “personality” that is not an accurate reflection of the real me. But with social media being a growing activity of marakame marketing, frankly, being social is my business.

Facebook has just made some changes to their site, which allow you to “subscribe” to be able to read a person’s posts without becoming their “friend”. I applaud this change.  Facebook is recognizing that these emerging and evolving social relationships need further refining. Although “lists” have long been possible on Facebook to make separations in your audience, I frankly found it to be too much trouble.

The postings of certain individuals are especially illuminating, interesting or entertaining, and I want to read them. Previously, the only way was to be their friend. But did they, in exchange, really want to read about me? The new subscription option helps filter the feed — if you can shift some “friends” into “subscribers” imagine how much more pertinent your own news feed could be? As well, you can select if you want to be informed of only major life events, or the day-to-day detail.

As social networks blossom and grow in their day-to-day use, expect further refinements. These will no doubt make it easier to manage your multiple personalities. And that, also, is a good thing.

Additional reading:

In support of multiple “social” personalities, from the New York Times.

Facebook blog post, explaining the new Subscribe feature.

TechCrunch explains Facebook Subscribe.

How to add the Subscribe feature to your Facebook page.






You, and your Social Identity: Selective Sharing

September 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Blog | No comment


I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about social identity this week. You know, the “you” you put out there on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and wherever else you share.

Last week, a friend developed an alternate Facebook identity because she had an issue where she felt her personal information was being shared with someone she wanted to keep her distance from. So she now has a fresh new Facebook persona. How liberating to be any name, anyone you want to be… The whole Arab Spring showed the need to be able to alter your identity when being transparent could put you at grave risk. Of course for most of us, the assumption is that we are (pretty accurately), what we post.

Social media identity was also in the news last week. During a Q & A at the Edinburgh TV festival with Andy Carvin, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt let it slip that the reason Google+ is insistent upon the use of real identities because it plans to link that collective information back to new product development, marketing and—no doubt—sales.

What he actually said was that Google + was built primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build future products to leverage that information. To my marketing mind, this is brilliant, exciting, and a bit scary.

But the thing is, we may not always be what we share. Are you 100% honest with all that you share — or should I say, 100% unbiased in sharing the good and bad? The positive and not so? Are you guilty of “selective sharing”? Company cash flow challenges vs. signing new business? The breakdown of your car that leaves you stranded vs. connecting up with an old friend? A day lying on the couch watching bad TV vs. a day of mountain biking, paddle surfing or volunteering at the animal shelter (or, all three)? I am absolutely guilty of selective sharing. (Aside: does the whole idea of social sharing ever motivate you to get off that couch?)

I found myself pondering how accurate can targeted social marketing be, if we are not as we share?

This is a concept I am fascinated with. At marakame marketing we are big believers in targeted social marketing and believe it has pretty thoroughly upended traditional marketing. It enables a business to precisely promote itself to communities of users who are generally interested in the message, as well as facilitate a back-and-forth dialog between the business and its clients. We work to build authentic relationships based on real, common interests, so it would be very helpful to know how accurate the interests tied to an identity really are. As well, we strive for quality of relationships over quantity. As in real life, we just feel that’s a much better way to grow a business for the long term.


Next up: Part 2 of You, and your Social Identity: Multiple personalities

Some additional reading on social identity:

Fred Wilson (A VC ) on Google+, Facebook and Identity

Evan Williams, Five Easy Pieces of Online Identity