Facebook Applications

KLM Airline’s “Tile Your Self” Facebook Campaign.

As Facebook becomes more and more of giant advertising engine, companies are scrambling to produce advertising that fits within the social media platform, and is actually engaging for the user. This is a tricky balancing act between creating something that seems real, and less like an ad, or creating something that feels like an ad, and gets very little traction and social engagement from your user base.

KLM Airlines have tapped into something that represents Holland, and elevates Dutch national pride. Building off of Delft tiles, something that Holland is known for, KLM has created a Facebook application that allows fans of KLM to Delft themselves and create a Delftware tile of their Facebook profile picture. Facebook users can decorate their profile picture, add an inspirational saying and share with friends by using the KLM ‘Tile Yourself’ Facebook App.When you create and share your tile, you are automatically entered into a contest where the winners get to have their tile placed on a KLM jet, which will make numerous international flights promoting KLM and Facebook.

All of this is well and good, but the payoff for participation seems pretty weak. Yes you get to make a cool looking Facebook profile pic and share it with your friends, but in the end what are your chances of actually seeing your image on the plane? I saw this and couldn’t help but think, why didn’t KLM offer the winners a custom one off Delftware tile with their image on it? Or the winners get a free trip on the plane that carries the tile images? There are so many more possibilities for this campaign that seem to have been missed.

Will Facebook Applications Bring Down Facebook?

As many of you know, I’m not a huge fan of Twitter, or a Twitter power user. I find the 140 character limit to be, well limiting. And the 140 character limit unfortunately causes most people tweeting to be more cryptic than informative, but in recent weeks I have begun to use it more and Facebook less. There are a number of reasons for this, but really there are two huge reasons I am kind of down on the Facebook experience these days.

First they keep jacking with the UI, and changing the end-user experience. I am of the belief, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And since they keep trying to make it more like a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, with little regard for end-user control, I’m kind of done with every 3 months having to get used to a new UI layout, changing settings, a new user experience. For all the trying to simplify, they seem to make things harder.

The other thing, and this is what is eventually going to kill Facebook as far as I am concerned, are the stupid, stupid time-wasting applications. The fact that every action someone takes in a game like Mafia Wars or Farmville gets broadcast to the entire Facebook universe, and most of us don’t care that you found a lost cow down by the barn.

When Facebook introduced applications, it was one of the defining moments that helped to separate it from other social networking sites like Myspace. Applications were one of the technologies that helped push Facebook to the top of the social networking ladder in the last couple of years, and it is part of the reason sites like Myspace have lost so much traffic and are now rethinking what it is they want to be.

At the same time, all of these data scraping applications that now  proliferate Facebook, might be the thing that kills it. At a certain point, no one wants to be forced to spend their time “Hiding” feeds from all of these applications. And when you are forced to sort through hundreds of feeds from them just to see relevant information on Facebook, then the overall experience is diminished.

The other thing that I think is going to be the big Facebook application backlash for 2010 is the fact that more users are getting smart about what these apps actually do. They data mine your information, and the information of all your friends that accept your invite to install the application as well.  When you add an application, unless you say otherwise, it is given access to most of the information in your profile. That includes information you have on your friends even if they think they have tight security settings. And that is the kind of thing that could have huge repercussions for Facebook, and it’s user base.

Now I know that allot of you are going to disagree with me on this, and that’s fine. I fully expect all of the people that take polls, and quizzes, and play Mafia Wars, to say, “Your Missing the point Wade, these things are fun.” I’m just looking at this and saying isn’t that what everyone said about all those ugly Myspace themes 3 years ago.