This Is Why Facebook Should Never Release A ‘Dislike’ Button

I told people the ‘dislike button’ would never exist… fb-facebook-dislike
And with that, now Facebook releases this… (see video below).

The psychological influence Facebook has on us is tremendous. Allowing a ‘dislike’ button would create unintended + associated animosity towards their platform.

Subconsciously, people return to Facebook so frequently for hope, entertainment, and encouragement. A dislike button would unleash a new conscious dynamic, not good for FB. I believe users would be ‘shy’ to post content (out of fear of rejection) and ultimately, return visits/active users would decrease …and worst of all, FB would have a deep and dark new cultural norm …a negative dynamic that doesn’t exist in mass today, only in pockets.

Sure, you can be negative on Facebook today …but the platform doesn’t enable it, or encourage it through its UX. The words ‘DISLIKE’ aren’t staring anyone in the face to easily click. Imagine seeing, ‘You have 5 dislikes’ on your photo you posted’ (from your vacation to the beach. Today, these subtle emoticons they are asking users to use are spot on. Given FB’s colossal influence, I think this is the right thing for them to do.

How To… Think About The ROI Of Social Media.

Ingram’s Magazine reached out to me to write a column for their latest issue. Specifically they asked me to tackle the infamous question, “What’s the ROI of Social Media.” Here is what was published in the May 2015 Issue.

I often have conversations with marketing pros and members of the C-suite who say the world of technology is moving so fast, that they are struggling to keep up. Many are attracted by the newest shiny object (e.g. Apps like Snapchat, Periscope). They are constantly reading headlines and stories of businesses seeing great success with social media. But when it comes to running their own business, these same people struggle in answering the question, “How should we measure success with our social media efforts? What is the ROI?” And they hesitate in enabling their teams with the things they need to be successful. It’s one of the most frequent questions I hear.

Marketers often look in the wrong places for the right answers to give back to the C-Suite. They obsess over with the tools and the technology. Getting Likes, Followers, Views—the ROI in social media is not about the tools. It’s about how you’re using the tools to achieve real business objectives. Business outcomes that matter to the organization. Your goal isn’t to be good at Facebook; it’s to be better at business because of social media.

Here are some things to consider in order to ensure social media is aligned and successful for your business:

1) Educate the business. Do this frequently, not just once. I advise clients to conduct quarterly meetings (at minimum) that are cross-functional “Social Media Education Sessions.” This establishes a baseline of knowledge about the tools. The key is to make it a safe place for all to ask questions about how the tools work. Furthermore, these sessions should highlight specific social media efforts that have helped other businesses augment their sales, products, service, marketing and communications. Do not focus on your own business in these meetings. It’s easy to get derailed and focus on yourself, so set aside different meetings/sessions to discuss these topics.

2) Commit for the long-term. Far too often do I see episodic or sporadic approaches with social media. Businesses try and shortcut their efforts, making them seasonal, and expect immediate results. This couldn’t be more wrong. Social media is not a fad. And it’s more than just running a campaign. It’s an everyday expectation in the world we live in now. Much like you have processes that you’re constantly refining around customers who walk through the doors of your business, or workflows for customer-service calls received—the same is true for social media. It should be a part of how the business flows.

3) Define your persona(s) and their customer journey(s). The golden rule applies here; know the audience(s) you are trying to affect. Don’t stop short by only defining demographic information. Bucket groups based on their shared psychographics, emotional and practical needs. With each audience, map out all the steps in their customer journey from awareness to conversion. Take it a step further and define the loyalty stages post-purchase. Knowing this information will help you understand the strategies and tactics that are more effective for making them a customer and retaining them.

4) Set social media goals that ladder up through marketing objectives and business outcomes. To be successful, your social team needs to have a clear understanding of how the business operates. If they have a clear understanding of these objectives and outcomes desired, it sets the stage for them to put social strategies and tactics in place that support these efforts and achieve these goals (and more importantly, you can set measurements if this was achieved). When your social team presents results, they should take time to correlate how specific tactics are aligned to business outcomes or objectives that have been set and how to refine them.

5) Create quarterly and yearly budgets for your paid, earned and owned efforts on social. It’s a common misconception that because social media is free to use, large budgets are not needed. This couldn’t be more wrong. As with other traditional channels, when well-integrated in to your overall marketing efforts online and offline, supplementing your social tactics with paid spends can make a big impact.

This Is How I Met Mark Zuckerberg.

This whole experience was very surreal.

I still remember the very moment when I was sitting at my desk- roommates huddled over me, watching me sign-up for a Facebook account in college. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated with its impact and the power of connecting people. For over 10 years, I’ve been in the digital marketing space. Naturally, following the story of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg has been something I’ve observed very closely. It’s part of my job. Facebook is in part, how I have a job.

Fast-forward to last Friday.

If you follow Mark Zuckerberg online, you may notice he has recently started a series called Q&A With Mark. It’s a way for the public to ask Mark any question about Facebook. The way it works is anyone can submit a question on his Timeline or Q&A Facebook page. Questions come in from all around the world. His team picks the most popular questions and most interesting questions that are asked.

I posted this question…

It wasn’t an overly complex question. But it was something I genuinely wanted to know the answer to. Messenger as a platform could have incredibly impacts on how we communicate. If adoption is strong, our email inbox may never look the same. I posted the question with no expectations. In fact, I’ve posted a few questions before- and never received a response.

The next day I received this message…

WHAAAATTTTT!? I was so excited. Now, I know the message carefully said “could potentially.” Either way I thought this was awesome. Even the chance of my question being asked to Mark was something I thought was cool. I recorded a video and sent it to Facebook.

And then I got this message…


Holy moly. Is this really happening? I was beyond excited. This was a geeky dream come true.

But after about 5-minutes I did have a moment of realization that this could be fake. What if someone was making this up? I told myself that until I spoke with Facebook on the phone and had the confirmation emails, there is a likelihood this could be something Dateline NBC would chronicle.

But it was real.

And the trip was booked! My wife and I agreed- with her busy work schedule, it would be hard for her to come with me as my guest. Instead I took one of my business partners at Edgehill Capital, Eric Hazen. Facebook had everything planned out and coordinated. Car service transportation, travel, food. Even after checking-in they had a swag bag full of goodies in my hotel room.

When I arrived at Facebook, they gave me a name badge.

We got there a few hours before the event so we could eat lunch and get a tour of the offices. Turns out, Facebook flew in 3 other people as well just for the event (from New York and Texas). We had lunch with the PR/Communication teams and shared our stories and get to know each other.

This is one of the cafeterias at Facebook. Pretty normal to have the Nyan Cat scrolling back and forth in LED right?! Annnnd all the food and drink at Facebook for employees is free.

What is dangerous is they have a bakery that’s also unlimited + free that serves fresh cookies, ice cream, cakes, etc. If this was at my office it would not work. This would just be trouble for me! They say that when people start working at Facebook, you have to be careful not to get the “Facebook 15.”

We then went on a tour of the complex. It’s huge. So big many employees use bikes to get from building to building.

The Facebook main campus has almost everything you need. They intentionally put many things on campus because their offices are located in a very remote area. It takes 10-20 minutes to get to any food options or restaurants. Their offices have multiple food options (all of which are unlimited and free), dentist, doctors, bike shop, wood shop, bakery/ice cream and more.

Their offices are so big- you can take a shuttle from building to building…

This is the very first Instagram ever taken:

It was Mark’s birthday, so they had cupcakes out for everyone:

After the tour was over they took us to the room where the Q&A session was being held. This was fun- they reserved a seat for me!

This is what the room looked like:

And this is what it looked like from my seat:

And then the time came for the event. Was I nervous? Hell yes! It was a very weird set of emotions watching him walk into the room and being literally feet away from me. I thought to myself about what this meant. Facebook is a platform that has literally changed my life. I wouldn’t have my career without it. And so many amazing opportunities, connections, people I’ve met, incredible stories I’ve shared …all have been possible because of Facebook. And it’s been incredible to watch closely and follow Mark Zuckerberg in his maturation. I’ve always admired his dedication and ability to stay on-vision with the platform.

I took many deep breaths in those first few minutes. I rarely get nervous. And I’ve given presentations in front of thousands of people before on stages/conferences. But my heart was beating out of my chest. This was a totally different experience.

It was his birthday- and this was special to see. Mainly because I was able to see in person a more personal side to him as he described what it meant to him. He is 31 now. And Facebook after their IPO has evolved to a very sophisticated company. Here is a short clip of what I recorded him saying after we sang him Happy Birthday:

The event started and I was one of the last people to ask a question. Everything went well- I didn’t trip over my words that much (i was really worried!). In fact, when I got up to ask my question- I was more excited than nervous to have this opportunity. Here is a recording of the entire Q&A Session. If you jump to the 0:48 min mark, you can see me asking my question :) (P.S. that’s me in the blue shirt, far right corner)

After the Q&A session, Mark hurried out of the room (even though a ton of people tried to corner him and take a picture with him). Facebook had not mentioned that we would get to meet Mark. So it was at this point I thought if that is the end of this experience, that’s ok- this was incredible! However that wasn’t the case. Facebook PR took us over to the new offices they just built and gave us a tour of the space. They surprised us at the end telling us that we were going to have the opportunity to meet Mark and take a photo with him. He came by and we briefly chatted about where we were from and what we thought of the new office. And that was that. Such an incredible experience. I can’t say enough for how well thought out the entire trip front-to-back was.

Thank you Facebook for a day I’ll never forget! I came home impressed + inspired + motivated.

The Dark, Dirty Secret No One Tells You About #AgencyLife

There is a dark, dirty secret no one tells you when you start down the path of trying to scale the career of “agency life.” As being someone who recently left the agency world last year, it’s been refreshing looking from the outside in on the 10 years I spent in the space. It’s not to say the experiences you get working at an agency aren’t great- they are. I wouldn’t change the path I took. For me, it was a powerful moment looking at these words on a PPT slide. And I’m happier than ever leaving when I did, it’s been the best decision. But man- this hit me like a punch to the face. These words mean so much more than I thought they ever would.

PPT slide‬ credit: Carson Catlin, InTouch Solutions


I had extra time on my hands after my client meetings in the Boston/New Hampshire area …so I dropped by to visit the bar from the movie The Social Network (Thirsty Scholar Pub). I do also realize this is rated an 11 out of 10 on the scale of geekyiness, but I was SO EXCITED!!!! To walk the ground Mark did… 🙂 I shot this video blog and took this picture with my iPhone.

Lately, I’ve been a fan with taking just short-n-simple video blogs using the front-cam on my iPhone 4. They’re not edited pretty, or HD, but I really like how light and easy it is to quickly capture and share something. Plus the vertical ratio of the videos is fun, just cause it’s different than widescreen.

Interview with Chris Ronan, “identity of self on social websites.”

This is a guest blog post from Chris Ronan. He is pursing his Masters of Science degree in Journalism at The University of Kansas. This is his submission for a project regarding “the identity of self on social websites.” Chris Ronan is the communications manager for Crown Center Redevelopment Corp., a mixed-used development on the southern edge of downtown Kansas City, MO.

Picture what a completely web-connected person would look like. What do you see? More than 1,000 Facebook friends. Daily tweets? Regular Foursquare check-ins?

That person exists and his name is Ramsey Mohsen. A consultant for Overland Park-based Digital Evolution Group, Mohsen is a self-described “internet addict.”  His Facebook profile lists more than 1,300 friends and a link to his personal website. On that site, one will see links to his pages on Flickr (4,600 photos), YouTube (167 videos), and friendfeed.

In short, Mohsen has gone “all in” on the social website experience, both personally and professionally. His life is, by all indications, an open book. As a result, he is recognized as one of Kansas City’s most connected “influencers.” Ingram’s magazine named him to its inaugural class of “20 in their Twenties.” He is often invited to speak at conferences or be interviewed by media for his thoughts on social media.

I’ve known Mohsen since 2006, when we worked together on the redesign of Crown Center’s website. From the beginning, I was impressed with his web savvy. But he was 23 at the time and I was certain he couldn’t continue his level of connectivity without it adversely affecting his personal development.

Recently, I interviewed the 27-year-old Mohsen and learned that he has, by all appearances, proven me wrong. Not only does social media not control him, he has managed to use it for personal, professional and charitable purposes. So how has he done it and what can his experience teach others?

Many social development experts are troubled by the degree to which young people are exposed to media and technologies. In the June 2009 issue of Phi Delta Kappan (the publication of the Professional Education Association), Diana D. Coyl writes, “Text messaging and e-mails provide limited or no access to other people’s emotions, and the rich language of nonverbal communication that occurs in real-time interactions is lost. In addition, the quality of family time may be compromised if parents or children are using technology.”

In fact, parents could be the biggest factor in whether social media augments or overtakes a person’s life. That was certainly the case for Mohsen.

Of course, parental influence can only go so far. Mohsen acknowledges that he’s endured a few missteps along the way to becoming the well-adjusted social media addict that he appears to be.

Speaking of extremes, Mohsen’s social web experience took a pretty extreme turn two years ago, when he became a beta tester for He wore a camera-enabled hat that broadcasted his every move to voyeurs in more than 250 countries. And he says that experience was what really made him comfortable with social technology.

I believe many of those who are concerned about the potential negative impact of social media on self-development have lumped it and other new emerging technologies with other so-called negative technologies like television and video games. The concern, which I admit to sharing in the past, is that people will become so engrossed in what’s on the screen that they won’t truly experience what’s happening off the screen. That, in turn, could stunt a person’s development of “self.”

Ramsey Mohsen has shown that it doesn’t have to be that way. He’s learned to use social media to augment his life. Inevitably, his self-identity has been largely affected and defined by the web. But it’s been refined, too. After all, his annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, which is driven by social media, has raised more than $25,000 for Operation Breakthrough. Social websites have helped him identify and become the kind of person he wants to be.

Happy Social Media Day! Thank you, social media.

Today is officially Social Media Day! A day in which we celebrate the revolution of media becoming social. I think we all can agree, the advent of these social technologies, has changed the way we communicate. Both in our personal lives and for businesses, there’s lots to “thank” social media for.

[using my loud voice] HEY THANKS SOCIAL MEDIA!

A day like today, is a perfect time to step-back and think about why these tools are useful? Why have they changed the way we communicate?

These tools facilitate the notion of what is called, ambient intimacy. Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible. The advent of the internet, laptops and mobile phones with internet access make it even easier for us to “plug-in” to consume this information and use the social media tools. For example, on a daily basis:

  • Facebook helps me see what my friends are thinking, doing, projects they’re working on and what they did this weekend.
  • Twitter tells me what websites to check out and the opinions people have about news and current events.
  • Flickr lets me see the latest family photos or pics from a recent trip. And it also shows me their latest haircut.
  • YouTube makes me laugh, get inspired, or want to take action just by watching snippets and consuming quick- bite sized videos.
  • Friendfeed tells me their activity stream of my friends online, what they’re looking at, and what they’re reading.

What does social media help us do? @leisa summarizes it well; It helps us get to know people who would otherwise be just acquaintances. It makes us feel closer to people we care for but in whose lives we’re not able to participate as closely as we’d like. Knowing these details creates intimacy (It also saves a lot of time when you finally do get to catch-up with these people in real life!).

Personal Life
When people have asked the ways social media has helped me personally- I point out that social media has the potential to significantly augment (not destroy or lessen) existing relationships you have with friends and family. However, like anything else- moderation is key, and you must understand how to integrate it appropriately. Once you do, it’s powerful stuff.

Businesses and Companies
For businesses, many are realizing there’s more than just a direct sale that can occur through the channels of social media. The path or continuum leading up to a sale, has many reassurance points along the way. Utilizing social media tools to serve as touchpoints on this path to the sale, that are non-commercial, is an effective way to accomplish things like trust, loyalty, awareness and building a relationship.

So take a moment today to say “thanks, social media”. These technologies can enhance peoples behavior for the better. How has it helped you? Share with me any success stories you have in using it. What do you like best about social media?

Project Launch: Hallmark Facebook “Share Your Moment”

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen my updates recently about launching a Facebook fan page feature for Hallmark. I’m really proud of the team that put this project together and wanted to share this with you.

At the beginning of 2010, the company I work for (Digital Evolution Group) led the design, development of the website to celebrate Hallmark’s 100 Year birthday. On the website, we created a feature called Share Your Hallmark Moment, that allows users to share with others the meaningful moments in which Hallmark helped. Fast-forward to this month, we just launched this same feature on the Hallmark Facebook page. You should check it out.

Personally, it’s been fun working with the Facebook platform in the past couple of months (the recent updates certainly keep things interesting). There is some pretty fun Facebook projects I’m working on for clients right now, that I’ll be sharing with you soon! 🙂

We should teach kids how to use social media.

Recently, I was interviewed for an article (by @LJWorld) about the Facebook privacy mess. During our discussion, I mentioned the acclimation process of using the tools (social media). On my drive home that night, I started thinking more about the education process and the learning curve into using social media. There’s something to be said about what it’s like to “jump-in” and start using the tools, learning the basics, then evolving to more advanced aspects of online communication like understanding how relationships are established online, common behaviors, how connections are made and communities are formed.

Social media is self-taught for most. Your friends do it. So you just start doing it. And the idea of being “classically” trained of understanding online communication is foreign. In an age in which Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address live on YouTube, and a Twitpic posted to Twitter about the plane crashing into the Hudson River gets 100,000+ views in minutes, there’s no denying that social media has become an intregal part of our daily lives.

I think we should teach kids about social media and online communication in school. And not just in college, I think it should be taught in grade school.

Think about it- we teach kids how to structure essay papers in school. How often do you find yourself writing essay papers? When’s the last time you cranked out a 5-page essay?

Now compare that to how many times you’ve written a status update in the past week. Or commented on a blog. Or posted a review for a product on a website. These shortened forms of communication (limited # of characters) exist everywhere; Facebook, Twitter, commenting on blogs, internal company intranets. Status updates are ubiquitous, everyone knows what they are and what to do when they see one.

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for kids to be using tools like Facebook and Twitter at a young age. Shouldn’t we be teaching them communication techniques for these “shortened” form of communications? There are effective ways to communication in limited words. We should practice this in school, we should be teaching this.

Now, I’m not saying we should teach kids how to Twitpic photos on an iPhone, or how to write happy birthday on their friend’s Facebook walls. What I am saying, is that we should teach kids about online communication.

For example, everyone should understand what “flaming” or “flamebait” is. It’s a basic online social interaction (just check most YouTube comments). Understanding how anonymity and context make all the difference in online communication. It’s fundamental. There are many other online social behaviors like trolling, sockpuppetry and leechers that people should know and understand.

  • We should be teaching kids and college students email communication techniques.
  • We should be teaching kids and college students how to blog.
  • We should be teaching everyone the basics of online privacy and intellectual property.

So what do you think? I think I’m right. Do you think I’m wrong? Should schools be teaching this? What is your take on this? Make a comment.

Article: “Your life is an open Facebook”

Last month I blogged about my feelings regarding the Facebook privacy settings updates mess. Recently, I was interviewed by Phil Cauthon, of the Lawrence Journal World (local newspaper in the area), and was asked to expand on my thoughts. The article is a good read highlighting different perspectives, in addition to my own regarding this topic. Check it out if you’re interested (photo credit: Dave Loewenstein).

>> You can read the full article here, on the LJWorld website