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What does the Facebook Open Graph mean to marketers?

Recent changes to Facebook announced at the Facebook developers’ conference have been hot topics in new media marketing and pop culture. The largest issue affecting anyone with a Facebook page – that’s now more than 400 million people – is that of privacy. While this is a relevant issue, the platform’s social developments, the Open Graph, will have a more significant effect on how we all use the Internet.

 

The Open Graph connects the Internet in ways never conceived. Imagine visiting a website that can access your social profile and customize content based on your likes and interests, as well as those of your friends. These connections are powered by Facebook, and the platform will become the backbone of the social web. It’s what we like to call the Facebook-Powered Internet. Currently, the Open Graph connects Facebook to more than 30 partners, including CNN, ESPN, IMDB and Pandora; however, as the new developments gather momentum, more and more websites will connect with users and Facebook through Open Graph.
The Facebook-Powered Internet will be faster, safer, intuitive and much more social. Users will be able to “travel” with their Facebook profile information, while websites will be able to recognize information about the user to help serve up relevant content. That means no more logging in or setting up accounts for websites, both a speed and security bonus. Content will be easier to find: less searching through large sites to find the exact thing you need, fewer irrelevant news articles and fewer ads that don’t come close to targeting you.
But, not everyone is on board. Facebook is getting pushback from users who fear their privacy is at stake. Facebook bases its changes on what user activity on the Internet has already shown. People want to share their exact location on Foursquare and know what strangers are thinking on Twitter. Even the word “viral” has taken on a completely new meaning today to accommodate the mass sharing that is taking place online.

 

Marketers and communicators need to understand that the Facebook Open Graph will change how people use the Internet, very drastically and very quickly. Although it is impossible to know exactly how these changes will affect how people receive information, buy products and support causes, marketers should be fostering and growing Facebook Fan Pages to take full advantage of this development. For each “like” that your fan page receives, you make another connection in the Open Graph. These connections are the web that ties together the Facebook-Powered Internet.
As a marketer, are you in a position to take advantage of the Open Graph? What tactics are you using to grow and engage Facebook fans?

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