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Is Facebook really to blame for your privacy issue?

May 9, 2010 36 Comments

Photo:Glass Home by Carlo Santambrogio and Ennio Arosio.

Jeff Jarvis wrote a great post yesterday about Facebook, privacy and the theme of his upcoming book – publicness. I can’t wait to read it – seriously, Jeff, write fast – as it provides much-needed clarity around the web’s hottest issue: privacy.

Critical to his post was the distinction between the ‘private’ public (that’s the one we create ourselves, for example, on Facebook or twitter) and the ‘public’ public (the one that extends beyond the limits we set to the broader public sphere). In practical terms he explained it this way:

In Facebook, we get to create our publics. In Twitter, we decide which publics to join. But neither is the public sphere; neither entails publishing to everyone. Yet Facebook is pushing us more and more to publish to everyone and when it does, we lose control of our publics. That, I think, is the line it crossed.

I think Jeff is spot on here and this raises an even broader issue: who is responsible for creating a ‘public’ at all, whether it be the ‘private’ public or the broader ‘public’ public by Jeff’s definitions?

At the heart of this question are the often unforeseen, little considered and perhaps unfortunate consequences of an open, real-time web. For as time, distance and access to information dissolved in the face of tools like the internet, Facebook and twitter, so did the role they played as the tent poles of our privacy. These were the tools we used to define where we began and where we ended for public consumption, but as transparency rose so control of our privacy declined. In short, what we gained in the form of access to information and connectivity on one hand, we lost in control on the other.

As such, I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame for this at the feet of Mark Zuckerberg as the Mail & Guardian assert. As the founder of Facebook and pioneer of so much evolution in the social networking space, he is duty bound to cross these rope bridges to the future first – stumbling, falling and recovering all the way – as we all reach towards an ideal balance between the greatest benefits of an open web and the fullest protection of personal privacy.

In fact, the incremental concessions each of us made by joining social networks, sharing more and more of our lives within them and finally cross-pollinating that content has enabled this expansion of ambition to occur. As such we are all complicit and should not be surprised by what is happening, nor forget the benefits we have enjoyed so far.

In truth, I suspect there is no ideal balance to be had between the two. Rather, I believe we are witnessing the latest shouting match in the tireless cultural dialogue between the offline and online worlds that serves to re-negotiate a deal between the appetite of technology and the privacy tolerance of its users.

So, like Jarvis and Paul Carr at TechCrunch, I don’t think Facebook had gone rogue as WIRED asserts. It is simply doing exactly what it must do when you consider that Facebook is focused on realizing the fullest potential of an open web for its users. I suspect that Mark Zuckerberg, from his unique and high vantage point, has accepted that long-standing notions of privacy are now irretrievable. And further, that as the weight of the open web presses ever outwards, the responsibility for an individual’s privacy must rest with the individual in how her or she participates, what he or she shares and what personal communities he or she builds. Capacity does not mandate participation – that is a choice each of us, and not Mark Zuckerberg, makes. Yet we can’t have it both ways. If we enjoy the best benefits of an open web, we must re-frame our understanding of individual privacy and the deal we have consciously or unconsciously struck for ourselves.

So the rising tide of push back against Zuckerberg and Facebook – including Matt Cutts, Peter Rojas and Peter Kedrosky – is completely appropriate. This is the necessary exchange that occurs as the past and future move in lock step towards whatever is next. Facebook’s attempt to make the entire web social is not the first or last privacy battle to be fought, but without doubt it is a major and potentially bloody one.

For my part, I choose to focus on the positive potential of an open web and the benefits it may have in store for us all. My privacy concerns, while critical, take a close second place. This is a choice for each of us to make. Jarvis explains his position well:

I will argue that the more we live in public, the more we share, the more we create collective wisdom and value. I will defend publicness. But I will also defend privacy—that is, control over this decision.

Managing privacy and publicness is a delicate balancing act. But so is protecting who we think we are today and enabling who we can become. Armed with my participation or its withdrawal as protection, I am excited, hopeful and optimistic that an increasingly open social web holds in store unimaginable possibilities as to how we can improve our world together. How about you?

  • http://eitherthisornap.com Kevin Fenton

    Simon– My problem with facebook (and to a lesser extent, twitter) is not that they sell user information for money. My problem is their sneakiness about such things, their constant resetting of defaults, and their ongoing coyness about their business models. What I want is a simple, honest, human exchange: we are providing you a free service. In exchange, you are granting us the right to share information you reveal here with advertisers so they can better speak to you and with potential employers so they can better judge your suitability” or whatever. Once I know that, I make decisions about what I share. Once we all shake hands, we can get on with using these great new tools to make our lives richer and our work better–or, on bad days, wasting time on dumb stuff.

  • http://businessmindhacks.com AlexSchleber

    Simon, I really have to disagree on a number of points here. To keep it short:

    1) Zuckerberg if anything should be “duty-bound” to the privacy promise he made to users from ca. 2005 to 2008.

    2) It is simply ludicrous to claim that all privacy expectations should go out the window. And by privacy I don't mean “perfection” either. The entire argument that all things can to some extent be discovered once on the internet is a straw man.

    Sure, stuff becomes public by way of user errors, design glitches, hacking, gov't/court requests, etc. but that does not mean that you want e.g. all of your email/IM/cell conversations to be public right now. Not least of all those that pertain to your business IP, “trade secrets”, and other advantages.

    So why is it so hard to understand that everyday users also still would like the maximum amount of control over such issues? Publishing any information should (ideally) still be a conscious act, not a default that people somehow find themselves mixed up in.

    3) Zuckerberg hasn't really invented much of anything when it comes to Facebook, but he's copied a lot, from Twitter, Friendfeed, etc. Stop trying to make him out like a a 21st century Icarus (though he may yet get burned – wait till e.g. the EU gets a hold of all the privacy issues, they still take that sort of thing a bit more seriously over there).

    4) Really this entire “new openness” exercise has in large part been set up to preempt Twitter, but then Twitter hasn't really figured out an obvious/proven monetization strategy yet either…

    So far, the Like buttons will simply add more keyword tags to your profile, that can then be targeted by Facebook Ads. But the question is: Will this just lead to greatly watered-down profiles compared to the self-description that people had in place of this new uniform deluge of “Likes”?

    If Facebook can get their users to Like things at anywhere near the rate at which we currently tweet links & thoughts on Twitter, then it will soon be a rather undistinguishable soup of tags. FB Ads were getting very low click-through rates vs. Adwords ads as it was, I don't see how this will help very much. Sure, some users who were previously too lazy to fill out their profile may now add some more information, but it may turn out much less targeted than before.

    Speaking of the “Formerly-known-as-Interests”, now Community Pages, besides being a privacy breach, they will soon be overrun with spam and SEO anyway, see my example here:

    http://alexschleber.posterous.com/test-shows-ho

  • http://twitter.com/rmoreno Ricardo Moreno C.

    For me it is just a matter of education. Nobody teach us how to use the tool (Facebook), but it is hard to learn if the tool is changing all the time. People don’t like that. This great graph show us a big change through time http://mattmckeon.com/facebook-privacy/

    I’m with you when you said “(Zuckerberg) has accepted that long-standing notions of privacy are now irretrievable”. But don’t forget that we (users) are free to accept this or not. For now, just a elite understand it. We’ll see.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Alex, thanks so much for the detailed feedback. We are all thinking and feeling our way through this issue so its much appreciated. I'll approach your concerns one by one.

    1) This is a double edged sword. I agree that the clear understanding of Facebook when we all joined was a closed, private system. It's on that basis that we felt safe. As the web has evolved and got increasingly social, we have all come to feel more comfortable with the sharing of personal lives. So yes, the goal posts have moved and that forces a simple choice on us. Close our account or move with them. It's not pleasant but there's little any of us or Zuckerberg could do to stop the march of the web.

    2) No one is suggesting all privacy expectations disappear. It's simply that as we each reach a point of intolerance, we have to decide what to do. As I understand it, there are ways to protect your privacy which I have done myself on Facebook. But this too is evolving so its a job we have to monitor if we want to be protected and participate. In short, the burden of privacy has shifted more to us as the goal posts have moved.

    I also don't expect any of us to accept all our information including trade secrets to be public fodder. That's not my understanding of what FB is doing now. The truth of what's currently happening lies somewhere in between the all or nothing and we need to be the differentiator in that space.

    In short it's as annoying as the shift from opt in to opt out. The presumption has changed and shifted in the interests of Facebook vs. its users. I see that as an inevitable business rollout rather than an affront or breach of trust. It's up to us to decide what to do about it.

    3) I think everyone is learning or copying from each other though I do believe there is much FB has done first (some of its annoying, no doubt!) I don't think of him as saintly or Icarus-like. In fact quite the opposite. I think of him – and I've never met or spoken to him – as a shrew businessman reaching out into the potential of a social web (that I, and I alone, happen to believe holds a lot of potential for social renewal). So I see him as enabling something i would like to see happen even though it raises serious and difficult privacy issues. And yes, the EU and China could be his undoing for sure. Google is currently in the throes of that challenge.

    4) Agree totally. Much of the changes underway are a result of the major playing duking it out and that has an impact on highly important our individual privacy is considered. It's those dynamics that drive any marketplace forward and I don't think they can ever be stopped.

    The Like buttons may hurt Facebook, I agree. It may erode profiles internally. Like you I'm watching with interest. This truly is a grand experiment with enormous implications that I find fascinating (whether they're driven by FB or anyone else). There is a risk Likes will become noise or spam and then FB will have to adjust or be superseded by a new player. So yes, all of this could backfire and there are arguments against the Like and Community pages. For me, those details are this dialogue i'm talking about that will determine where the balance between openness and privacy nets out – for now. But I see this process as much bigger than FB or Zuckerberg. Thanks so much for your great feedback and let's stay in touch about how it pans out. Thanks., Alex.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Ricardo and I agree. FB does have a responsibility to educate us how to opt out if we are personally unhappy with their changes. We must be the keepers of our own privacy and as such, we have to determine our own limits of tolerance. Thanks again for the feedback. simon

  • http://businessmindhacks.com AlexSchleber

    Simon, thanks for clarifying a lot of your thoughts on this, and I agree that it is fascinating to watch. I am just against the inevitability talk, because frankly I think Facebook is doing a lot of these changes needlessly:

    They could still monetize their massive user growth success AND make people happy on the privacy side. It's never an either/or, some of the things they are forcing right now are simply inelegant or not too well thought out.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Alex. And I totally understand your concerns. I think the shift to the social web will ultimately be positive but with a lot of bumps in the road. I also think its inevitable only in a business sense as the rivalry between FB, Twitter, Google and Apple is so hot. There could be a better balance between growth and privacy, I agree, we just have to get through these bumps first. Thanks for the great feedback, simon

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Kevin. Yes, a lot of people feel like there's been a sleight of hand or sneakiness. Personally, think it's almost impossible for it not to come off that way. FB is trying to compete with its rivals, move the marketplace forward and serve its users best. Within those three there are difficult compromises and bumps in the road. What's more, to use an old expression, change is the new constant in web-based businesses. So the goal posts will always be moving whether the issue is privacy or something else. So it looks like we'll always be having to renegotiate and shake hands over and over again. Difficult for everyone involved. Thanks, Kevin. Simon

  • http://twitter.com/amsterdamant Mad Man’s Treat

    The new business model could simply be: pay and I will give you control over your own data. I Would.

  • Anonymous

    I think a lot of the murkiness around the whole facebook v. privacy discourse comes from the fact that we’re talking about a number of different facets of sharing. Jeff’s discussion of “public” versus “publics” and our ability to choose which publics we participate in is really useful because it gets to a more deep-seated issue that often gets masked by the term “privacy”: ownership. The main problem is not just that people get to see what you’re doing — it’s that facebook has wrested your ability to consider and decide how information is shared from you, effectively making your information no longer yours.

    If we think about this in terms of producing content for publics, rather than making information public, it becomes apparent that facebook’s rhetoric about openness is, well, just rhetoric. Because it’s recent moves against privacy are, ironically, also moves to *privatize* — to transform our shared, open information into commercial profit owned by a handful of commercial entities. The power of the web’s “publicness,” is openness — the ability to create an endless accretion of niche publics that have their own values and structures. That’s what sets it apart from broadcast media — the primacy of choice, specificity, and fluidity.Facebook’s privacy approach returns us to the all-or-nothing model (don’t like what’s on TV, then don’t watch. Don’t like your information going to facebook’s commercial partners, don’t share it at all), in a way that makes the structures of web interaction more uniform and less dynamic. In this light, facebook’s actions, at their core, are in fact deeply conservative.

  • jonloomer

    Awesome. Beyond the many benefits of an open web, many fail to realize that we're not forced to eliminate our privacy. You have a choice to restrict your privacy settings. You have a choice to share what you share and associate yourself with groups and pages. You have many choices to determine what is shared with different groups of friends, what is shared with the public, and what is shared with third party developers. You have a choice to participate with Facebook at all.

    Being that we have a choice, we are ultimately responsible for determining what should and shouldn't be private, what we are and are not comfortable sharing. It's become too easy to pin that blame on Facebook. In reality, all of this is within our control.

    Can Facebook be better at communicating how you can control your privacy? Probably. But it's time we stop playing ignorant and take control ourselves. And instead of believing everything you hear about the fall of privacy, research and find out for yourselves.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Jon. I agree. Facebook does have an onus to communicate how we can protect our privacy clearly, but that said, it is ultimately our responsibility. Thanks for sharing, simon.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Xiaoching. Great feedback and I'll totally see the parallel to traditional media to which you are referring. On one hand I do agree that their reach across the entire web can homogenize the entire ecosystem, but I believe this is unique to this moment in time. what interests me most is the social dynamics being played out across the entire web rather than just within social networks. I think the web and the communities within it will continue to evolve and more players of sufficient size will enter the larger space to dilute Facebook's current monopoly. But that won't change the effects of the socialization of the web itself. To me, its the organizing capacity of users that has so much potential to create a positive force for change. So I rely on the fickleness and creativity of people to keep the diversity of the web intact, but look to how we organize ourselves to make the world a better place. I think this month is a moment in time, and Facebook will not be the last to reach out into the entire web and so diversity will emerge again. Thanks so much for the great feedback. simon

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    In truth I don't think any of us own the data we generate. Hopefully we won't have to pay for it as well!

  • http://www.m80im.com John J Antognoli

    So we are going to 'hem and haw' at Zuckerberg and Facebook, but this is obviously not as big of a deal as we might imagine, right? I mean, not many people outside of the Interactive Industry really get what is going on right now with the privacy changes or Open Graph Protocol. And even the people that i talk to and know this in detail are not pulling out and boycotting Facebook; which is what it takes to really affect change.

    Until users and brands fight back in the only way it hurts, Facebook will just keep on showing us the Dog and Pony Show in the front yard while they lift the TV and other valuables out the back. Don't worry, look at the fine print on your admission, it says “by accepting a free ticket to the Dog and Pony Show you give the producers of the show the right to go through your house and take whatever they want”. Interesting concept….

    People and brands see too much value in FB to really do anything right now…

    Google and others still can't find enough opportunity in this to get people to consider a product that capitalizes on what FB does right, and avoids things like this that people take exception to….

    I guess where i am lost is that people talk about FB like it's a God given right, or a necessity that should be governed by some fair set of laws that applies to humanity. I try to remind myself that it's total voluntary and the moment i don't like it, i can walk away and connect with family, friends and brands like i did for the 35+ years before i ever got on Facebook.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, John and I agree. FB is a choice and what we share is a choice. We should walk away if we're not happy. As brutal as it sounds, FB doesn't owe us anything in that sense and like any business it will evolve. That said, if it goes too far it too will suffer and too many people will leave. This is a dance that we all joined and we have to reconsider that decision every day. Thanks for the insight, Simon

  • xiaochang

    Simon, I absolutely agree. I think we're in a very interesting moment where the tensions between traditional industry structures and the potential afforded by networked technologies are coming to a head in a lot of ways. And the facebook controversies over privacy is really forcing us to confront and articulate the different kinds of relationships and value that are being formed in this ambiguous space between social and commercial exchanges. Moving forward, I think there will be more and more need to pin down and re-evaluate what constitutes a fair exchange between personal data and “free” services. And I agree, I think people will keep diversity intact — if the demands facebook makes on its users in its own interest become too much, people will leave, and take the value of their network with them.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Totally agree. I think there is a constant negotiation being stuck and if one party overplays their hand it will be seriously costly. It's is a dialogue and hopefully doesn't have to be a shouting match. Like you, watching with interest. Thanks again, Simon

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  • Alicia

    Simon, this post addresses one of the largest issues on my campus right now. Recently, some individuals and organizations on campus have gotten in trouble with the school or other outside entities because of information provided on Facebook. Comments, pictures and messages have all been called into question regarding individual and organizational values and integrity. There is an on-going debate over the right of the school, or others, to access Facebook profiles and use information found for disciplinary actions.

    While I understand and sympathize with the frustration of the students and organizations that are being penalized for information obtained through Facebook, I cannot help but think “you let this happen.” In my first journalism class in college my professor warned us about the repercussions of growing social networking sites and their effects on our privacy. She stressed the importance of choice and how we each knowingly choose what we publish about ourselves for the world to see. That statement is still very relevant today. We each choose the representation of ourselves on sites like Facebook, knowing that someone might not agree with that representation. Facebook does have some obligation to protect its users’ privacy, but if individuals blatantly disregard the choice for privacy, then any repercussions are their responsibilities.

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Alicia. I have to agree. Control always ultimately resides with the individual and the choices they make. I don't believe Facebook ever promised to leave their user interface or privacy settings unchanged. It's just business and each day we have the right to choose to participate or not. Thanks for the great feedback, Simon

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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, Alicia. I have to agree. Control always ultimately resides with the individual and the choices they make. I don't believe Facebook ever promised to leave their user interface or privacy settings unchanged. It's just business and each day we have the right to choose to participate or not. Thanks for the great feedback, Simon

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  • Sandrasix

    Pondering over your article I just read (and Jeff Jarvis’ and his link to the wikipedia explanation of public sphere) I have a question: If Zuckerberg intends to make the web social – does this mean that FB has the potential (if so wanted by its creator) to turn into some great tool for participatory democracy?

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Thanks, and optimistically I say yes. In the same way we’ve seen twitter
    participate in the electoral process in various countries (usually in
    defense of it). But a monopoly of any type is dangerous so I’m sure there
    will be those within the online world that warn against it and those outside
    that will try and corrupt it. It’s very early days but social media has
    democratized information and marketing so who knows what is next. Thanks for
    the insight. Simon

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    We First book launch

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    efforts, and every regular person that is consciously thinking about the
    social impact of what they buy or sell every day.

    My hope with the book is that we can all work together to shift the
    conversation in the private sector about the responsibility that we all have
    to contribute to building a better world. Obviously, launching a book is a
    community effort and I’ll be looking for your help in the next month to
    amplify the We First message so we can convert this conversation into
    substantive change.

    It’s my firm belief that if we make enough noise we’ll look back in five
    years time and see a dramatic change in the way companies and customers work
    together to scale positive social change.

    I invite you to preorder your copy of [2]We First now at wefirstbook.com.
    Here are a few things that you will get out of it.
    Links:
    2. http://www.wefirstbook.com?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=76f4f7ad1e-We_First_Newsletter_May_06_2011&utm_medium=email

    • How to shift our thinking and behavior to better serve the interests of
    others and ourselves.
    • How brands and customers work together to have a positive impact through
    the things we buy every day.
    • How companies can make money from social media by building communities
    that drive profits.
    • How customers can think and act in ways that is both good for them and the
    planet.
    • How companies and customers integrate purpose into profit to create change
    that is sustainable.
    • How we reengineer the way we do business to leave a better world for our
    kids.

    As you can see, We First is perfect for you, your boss or colleague,
    marketing specialists, a graduating student, a mom and anyone who
    contributes or works with causes and non-profits. I so appreciate your help
    in sharing the message. Together we can improve the lives of millions of
    others and our own.

    We First book tour and Broadcastr

    Over the next few weeks I’ll be traveling a lot talking about the We First
    message. One of the ways I’ll stay in touch is by using Broadcastr, a great
    new app that lets you geo-tag audio about what you’re up to and then share
    it across social networks. The app also lets you take a walk around while
    stories about your surroundings stream into your headphones automatically
    based on your GPS location. So it makes social media hyper local. Look out
    for these tweets and check out Broadcastr for yourself as it’s a great tool
    for brands and regular people to enjoy. Here’s where you can download the
    app for free and a link to listen to my book tour updates:

    Download the free app for iPhone here:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/broadcastr/id423169367?mt=8&ls=1&utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=76f4f7ad1e-We_First_Newsletter_May_06_2011&utm_medium=email
    And for Android here:
    [4]https://market.android.com/details?id=com.electricliterature.broadcastr&f&utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=76f4f7ad1e-We_First_Newsletter_May_06_2011&utm_medium=email
    eature=search_result
    Or visit this link to hear Simon’s updates on the Web:
    http://beta.broadcastr.com/Echo.html?author=SimonMainwaring&utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=76f4f7ad1e-We_First_Newsletter_May_06_2011&utm_medium=email
    Links:
    4. https://market.android.com/details?id=com.electricliterature.broadcastr&feature=search_result&utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=76f4f7ad1e-We_First_Newsletter_May_06_2011&utm_medium=email

    Using social media to build your brand

    Social media allows you and your community to work together to help build
    your brand, increase your profits, and have a positive impact in the world.
    But this can only be done if you build a genuine relationship with your
    community through authentic and consistent engagement. With that in mind,
    let’s look at a few insider tips specific to two popular platforms, Facebook
    and Twitter.

    _Top five Don’ts for Facebook:_
    1. Don’t participate if you do not intend to invest time and energy into
    long-term relationships with your fans.
    2. Don’t participate if you are not willing or capable of moderating the
    conversations you start on a daily basis.
    3. Don’t measure success by the number of fans or followers you have, but
    rather, how deeply they are engaged.
    4. Don’t treat social media like direct mail where you simply talk about
    yourself tirelessly in shorter sound bites.
    5. When you make a mistake, don’t get defensive or self-righteous, but
    rather, accept responsibility, apologize and do what you can to make up for
    it.

    _Top 5 Dos for Facebook_
    1. Do bring consistent creativity to your Facebook ‘Like’ page to inspire
    engagement.
    2. Do respond to negative comments in order to turn a brand critic into a
    brand advocate.
    3. Do recognize your brand loyalists and reach out to them to build them
    into brand ambassadors.
    4. Do keep up to date with the latest applications and plug-ins that add new
    dimension to your ‘Like’ page.
    5. Do recognize that your are effectively bidding for people’s attention in
    an overcrowded marketplace and that their time deserves to be rewarded.

    _Top 5 Don’ts for Twitter_
    1. Don’t buy followers. It’s a waste of time and money.
    2. Don’t spam your audience with constant messages about yourself.
    3. Don’t forget to bring some humor and wit to your communications so that
    people want to read what you share.
    4. Don’t forget to retweet what your followers share.
    5. Don’t forget to be interesting. You must demonstrate your passion for
    your topic.

    _Top 5 Do’s for Twitter_
    1. Do engage with a follower when they reach out to you with a question or
    information.
    2. Do post between eight and ten times a day and spend the rest of your time
    on engagement.
    3. Do share photos, video links and text messages to inspire interest.
    4. Do stay consistently engaged to avoid community attrition.
    5. Do monitor your tone carefully, because it only takes 140 characters to
    undo all your good work.

    Overarching all these pointers is a necessity for your brand to be clearly
    defined, to know its core values, and to demonstrate those consistently.
    Social media tools are not an end in themselves, but rather another way to
    connect with people emotionally to generate word of mouth advertising. If
    your brand is clearly defined and your core values consistently on display,
    your community will reward your engagement by promoting your brand for you.

    Thanks for being a part of the We First community and I hope you enjoyed the
    newsletter. Look out for a big announcement in next month’s issue!

    A struggling economy, a world in crisis and new social technology has left
    brands scrambling for profits and consumers desperate for change. What if we
    could achieve both? What if brands and consumers could partner using social
    media to build communities, profits and a better world? That’s the promise
    of a We First world.
    Simon Mainwaring is an author, blogger, speaker and founder and CEO of We
    First, a social branding consultancy. A former Nike creative at Wieden &
    Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy,
    he is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the
    Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, AdAge’s Power150 and is
    an Expert Blogger for _Fast Company_.

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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Hi,

    We First is inviting you to join Facebook.

    Once you join, you’ll be able to connect with the We First Page, along with people you care about and other things that interest you.

    Thanks,
    We First

    To sign up for Facebook, follow the link below:
    http://www.facebook.com/p.php?i=1387617722&k=Z3M266P3W3TF6BD1SAXYVTTWTSIB34ZEWPCVK&r&oid=152799671435098

    You are receiving this email from We First. We First has sent you this message through Facebook. If you no longer want to receive messages through Facebook, click the link below.
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    Facebook, Inc. P.O. Box 10005, Palo Alto, CA 94303

  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

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    We First is here!

    Well, today is the day! After almost four years of work, my first book ‘We
    First’ is now available. I am so excited to share this with you and invite
    you to order a copy for yourself and your colleagues of friends. The book
    offers you enormous value in the following areas:

    How does a business use social media to build its profits and brand
    community.

    How do regular people use what they buy and social media to have a positive
    impact on our world.

    How does the business work with its customers to great a new pillar of
    social change that can build a better world.

    My hope is that We First will enrich your business and personal life. Our
    world desperately needs new ideas that can improve the lives of others and
    ourselves. Thank you so much for your support and for sharing the message.

    Watch the brand new We First Launch Film: ‘We-defining Me’
    http://www.vimeo.com/24580586?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email

    A ‘We First Special’ Offer

    Visit http://wefirstbook.com?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email now and order your copy! You’ll instantly
    receive:

    A free We First white paper on the ‘7 Keys to Brand Positioning in the
    Future.’

    A free podcast on ‘The Future of Ad Agencies.’

    A free podcast on ‘The 7 Stages to Becoming a Tech-savvy & Socially
    Responsible Consumer.’

    Plus 10% of the book price will be donated to ‘Girl Up, a campaign of the
    United Nations Foundation.’

    Also, when you enter your email address at http://wefirstbook.com, you’ll
    get instant access to ten free videos about how to use social media to build
    your community, profits and positive impact.

    Independent Reviews of ‘We First':
    [5]http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/non-fiction/simon-mainwaring/we?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email
    -first/#review
    Links:
    5. http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/non-fiction/simon-mainwaring/we-first/?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email#review

    -Kirkus Reviews
    http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-230-11026-7?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email

    -Publisher’s Weekly
    http://www.inc.com/magazine/201106/book-review-we-first.html?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email

    -Inc Magazine

    What is We First?

    We First is a way of looking at the world. It asserts that we now live in an
    intimately connected, mutually dependent, global community. It recognizes
    that selfish Me First thinking hurts business, people we care about,
    millions of strangers and the planet. It embraces the seismic impact of
    digital and social technology that is transforming our professional and
    personal lives. It accepts the challenge of millions of consumers who want
    brands to be a force for change in return for their loyalty, goodwill and
    purchases. It believes that this unprecedented collision of global needs and
    personal wants, of human emotion and social technology, of powerful brands
    and newly empowered consumers has the potential to transform our world.

    Ten Core ‘We First’ Beliefs
    1. An inter-dependent, global community requires an expanded definition of
    self-interest.
    2. The future of profit is purpose.
    3. Technology is teaching us to be human again.
    4. Consumers want a better world, not just better widgets.
    5. Brands must become architects of community.
    6. Brands must become day traders in social emotion.
    7. The evolution of revolution is contribution.
    8. We cannot separate living and giving if we hope to build a better world.
    9. Life’s necessities must generate the necessities for life.
    10. Prosperity is not the wealth of a few but the well-being of many.

    TEDxSF: Watch Simon Mainwaring TEDx talk from this weekend

    In his talk, ‘From Me First to We First Living’, Simon explores how we
    change the way we think and behave using social media to build better
    businesses and a better world.
    http://tedxsf.org/2011/04/events-page-simon-mainwaring/?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email

    Recent Articles in Mashable and AdAge

    The 7-Stage Evolution of a Socially Responsible Consumer
    http://mashable.com/2011/04/22/csr-company-stages/?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email

    How Digital Tech Can Help You Become a More Socially Responsible Consumer
    http://mashable.com/2011/05/20/socially-responsible-consumer/?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email

    From ‘Me First’ to ‘We First': Five Tips for Social-Media Marketing
    http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/tips-social-media-marketing/227857?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=952bfa7746-We_First_Newsletter_June_08_20116_8_2011&utm_medium=email
    /

    A struggling economy, a world in crisis and new social technology has left
    brands scrambling for profits and consumers desperate for change. What if we
    could achieve both? What if brands and consumers could partner using social
    media to build communities, profits and a better world? That’s the promise
    of a We First world.
    Simon Mainwaring is an author, blogger, speaker and founder and CEO of We
    First, a social branding consultancy. A former Nike creative at Wieden &
    Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy,
    he is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the
    Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, AdAge’s Power150 and is
    an Expert Blogger for Fast Company.

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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Hi everyone!

    It’s the last day of the launch week for We First, and we really need your support today, because with a little help, we’re hoping to reach the bestseller lists next week. So, if you haven’t already, please order your copy of We First today by clicking this Amazon link: http://amzn.to/mMKMK8.

    If you have ordered a copy, THANKS! We’d love for you to please share this link with your friends and communities.

    There are many benefits to buying this book today:
    1. If you’re part of a company, you will learn how to use social technology to drive profits.
    2. If you’re a concerned consumer, you will learn how to use social media to have a positive impact.
    3. And, everyone will learn how to use social media to build a world we want to live in.

    Order today, and you will receive 3 additional FREE GIFTS on the future of branding, advertising and socially responsible shopping.

    We can’t thank you enough for your support, it means a lot.

    ==============================================
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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Hi everyone!

    It’s the last day of the launch week for We First, and we really need your support today, because with a little help, we’re hoping to reach the bestseller lists next week. So, if you haven’t already, please order your copy of We First today by clicking this Amazon link: http://amzn.to/mMKMK8.

    If you have ordered a copy, THANKS! We’d love for you to please share this link with your friends and communities.

    There are many benefits to buying this book today:
    1. If you’re part of a company, you will learn how to use social technology to drive profits.
    2. If you’re a concerned consumer, you will learn how to use social media to have a positive impact.
    3. And, everyone will learn how to use social media to build a world we want to live in.

    Order today, and you will receive 3 additional FREE GIFTS on the future of branding, advertising and socially responsible shopping.

    We can’t thank you enough for your support, it means a lot.

    ==============================================
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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Hi Everyone!

    I can’t believe this is the last day of the launch week for We First. I started working on the book 4 years ago, and I’ve been really encouraged by the response of companies about the greater role they can now play in scaling positive change. I wanted to ask your help one last time on this last day of the launch week of the book. 

    My hope is to make this conversation one of the most important issues for business today. That’s why I would so appreciate if you order a copy or even better yet copies of We First today. This way, the sales can contribute to the best seller lists that will then keep this conversation top of mind with an even broader audience. 

    So, thanks for your support this week, thanks for your patience on all of our emails and thanks for helping us over this final hurdle by ordering your copy today. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/mMKMK8.  And remember, 10% of all proceeds from the purchases of We First will be donated to ‘Girl up,’ a campaign of the United Nations Foundation.

    We so appreciate your support, it means a lot. 

    – Simon Mainwaring

    ==============================================
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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

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    We First Hits the Bestseller Lists

    I wanted to thank everyone for their support in the launch of We First. We
    are so excited that the message is resonating and that it is contributing to
    the conversation that is changing the role of brands and the private sector.
    Here’s how We First fared on the bestseller lists:

    #4 on the New York Times Advice/How To bestseller list

    #5 on the New York Time Hardcover Business bestseller list

    #2 on the Wall Street Journal Business bestseller list

    #4 on the USA Today bestseller list
    …as well as being a #1 bestseller on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

    Finally, last week, Amazon named We First as one of the Top Ten Business
    Books of 2011 so far.

    This would not have been possible without all your support and from everyone
    here at We First, a huge thank you.

    _We First on Non-profits:_ One of the themes that We First explores is how
    non-profits can become more effective marketers to help further the
    important work they do. Here are a few thoughts on some of the challenges
    that non-profits face.

    Understandably, social media has been hailed by many non-profits as a
    critical tool to help them fund-raise and do their valuable work more
    effectively. Success stories like fund-raising for victims of the Haiti
    earthquake and Japanese tsunami victims are proof of the ease with which
    non-profits can now make people aware of a crisis and allow them to
    contribute to the urgent needs of others. But there can also be a downside,
    one that non-profits must be aware of if they hope to leverage social media
    to their advantage.

    The ability of a non-profit to use social media to build a dialogue with its
    community forces it to define itself in ways that often weren’t necessary
    before. The fact that non-profits can now market to consumers in ways
    normally reserved for for-profit brands means that they must become more
    effective marketers. These new expectations include the following:

    _1. SELF DEFINITION:_ All non-profits do incredibly meaningful work but to
    be most effective as marketers they need to define themselves within the
    cause category that they work in. There needs to be a unique point of view
    on the cause itself so that one non-profit can distinguish itself from
    others working in the same cause category.

    _2. ENGAGEMENT:_ One of the great challenges for non-profits is the constant
    need to fund-raise. Yet with staffing and resources spread often spread so
    thin, it’s difficult to have enough employees to engage with your community
    on an real-time basis as well as do the meaningful work that’s required in
    the field. Yet this is necessary if a non-profit hopes to sustain an active
    and engaged online community.

    _3. REPOSITIONING:_ Non-profits benefit greatly from partnerships with
    for-profit companies, but for that to happen non-profits must to be able to
    make their case as to the value of the partnership to the for-profit brand.
    Too often, non-profits pitch themselves on the basis of the cause that they
    are supporting alone. But as with any pitch situation, the offering must be
    framed in terms of the needs of your potential client – in this case the
    for-profit brand.

    _4. CREATIVITY:_ Donor fatigue is an enormous challenge for non-profits at
    any time, especially after a series of natural disasters as we just saw with
    Haiti, Pakistan, and Japan. While social media gives non-profits the ability
    to engage with their community more easily, they must become more creative
    in their strategies and messaging to sustain their interest and support
    through a series of natural disasters.

    _5. TECHNOLOGY:_ It’s hard enough for a for-profit company to keep pace with
    the marketplace with all the resources that it possesses. It’s even more
    difficult for a non-profit with its limited resources. Yet the non-profit
    world must become increasingly tech-savvy so that they know how their
    donor-base is relating with each other and what tools are most appropriate
    to help them reach their goals.

    The challenges that social media presents to non-profits are as daunting as
    they are for for-profit companies. The ability to connect with people so
    easily brings with it the expectation of constant engagement and sustained
    results. As such, it’s critical for non-profits to add to their skill sets
    and become effective storytellers fascinated with emerging technologies. We
    First was written to help non-profits do this by laying out a step-by-step
    action plan for how brands use social media to build their communities,
    drive their fund-raising, and help build a better world.

    _Featured reviews of We First:_
    [2]Social Media Drives Social Change and the We First Community
    Links:
    2.

    By Melissa Rowley
    [3]Book: We First: How Brands & Consumers Use Social Media To Build A Better
    World
    Links:
    3. http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-230-11026-7?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d32cacc983-We_First_Newsletter_July_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email

    By Beth Kanter

    _Featured guest posts:_
    [4]Four reasons we must re-engineer market capitalism [5]10 actions
    consumers can take to reinvent capitalism
    Links:
    4.
    5. http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-230-11026-7?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d32cacc983-We_First_Newsletter_July_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email

    A struggling economy, a world in crisis and new social technology has left
    brands scrambling for profits and consumers desperate for change. What if we
    could achieve both? What if brands and consumers could partner using social
    media to build communities, profits and a better world? That’s the promise
    of a We First world.
    [6]Twitter4 [7]facebook [8]Linked in [9]YOU TUBE
    Simon Mainwaring is an author, blogger, speaker and founder and CEO of We
    First, a social branding consultancy. A former Nike creative at Wieden &
    Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy,
    he is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the
    Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, AdAge’s Power150 and is
    an Expert Blogger for _Fast Company_.
    Links:
    6. http://twitter.com/simonmainwaring?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d32cacc983-We_First_Newsletter_July_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email
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    9. http://www.youtube.com/WeFirstTV?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d32cacc983-We_First_Newsletter_July_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email

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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

    Having trouble viewing this email? Try it [1]in your browser.
    Links:
    1. http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c2c11b3d1aa1cbebf73b8730a&id=dda31996e4&e=d00cd6d27f
    We First Hits the Bestseller Lists

    I wanted to thank everyone for their support in the launch of We First. We are so excited that the message is resonating and that it is contributing to the conversation that is changing the role of brands and the private sector. Here’s how We First fared on the bestseller lists:

    #4 on the New York Times Advice/How To bestseller list

    #5 on the New York Time Hardcover Business bestseller list

    #2 on the Wall Street Journal Business bestseller list

    #4 on the USA Today bestseller list
    …as well as being a #1 bestseller on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

    Finally, last week, Amazon named We First as one of the Top Ten Business Books of 2011 so far.

    This would not have been possible without all your support and from everyone
    here at We First, a huge thank you.

    _We First on Non-profits:_ One of the themes that We First explores is how
    non-profits can become more effective marketers to help further the
    important work they do. Here are a few thoughts on some of the challenges
    that non-profits face.

    Understandably, social media has been hailed by many non-profits as a
    critical tool to help them fund-raise and do their valuable work more
    effectively. Success stories like fund-raising for victims of the Haiti
    earthquake and Japanese tsunami victims are proof of the ease with which
    non-profits can now make people aware of a crisis and allow them to
    contribute to the urgent needs of others. But there can also be a downside,
    one that non-profits must be aware of if they hope to leverage social media
    to their advantage.

    The ability of a non-profit to use social media to build a dialogue with its
    community forces it to define itself in ways that often weren’t necessary
    before. The fact that non-profits can now market to consumers in ways
    normally reserved for for-profit brands means that they must become more
    effective marketers. These new expectations include the following:

    _1. SELF DEFINITION:_ All non-profits do incredibly meaningful work but to
    be most effective as marketers they need to define themselves within the
    cause category that they work in. There needs to be a unique point of view
    on the cause itself so that one non-profit can distinguish itself from
    others working in the same cause category.

    _2. ENGAGEMENT:_ One of the great challenges for non-profits is the constant
    need to fund-raise. Yet with staffing and resources spread often spread so
    thin, it’s difficult to have enough employees to engage with your community
    on an real-time basis as well as do the meaningful work that’s required in
    the field. Yet this is necessary if a non-profit hopes to sustain an active
    and engaged online community.

    _3. REPOSITIONING:_ Non-profits benefit greatly from partnerships with
    for-profit companies, but for that to happen non-profits must to be able to
    make their case as to the value of the partnership to the for-profit brand.
    Too often, non-profits pitch themselves on the basis of the cause that they
    are supporting alone. But as with any pitch situation, the offering must be
    framed in terms of the needs of your potential client – in this case the
    for-profit brand.

    _4. CREATIVITY:_ Donor fatigue is an enormous challenge for non-profits at
    any time, especially after a series of natural disasters as we just saw with
    Haiti, Pakistan, and Japan. While social media gives non-profits the ability
    to engage with their community more easily, they must become more creative
    in their strategies and messaging to sustain their interest and support
    through a series of natural disasters.

    _5. TECHNOLOGY:_ It’s hard enough for a for-profit company to keep pace with
    the marketplace with all the resources that it possesses. It’s even more
    difficult for a non-profit with its limited resources. Yet the non-profit
    world must become increasingly tech-savvy so that they know how their
    donor-base is relating with each other and what tools are most appropriate
    to help them reach their goals.

    The challenges that social media presents to non-profits are as daunting as
    they are for for-profit companies. The ability to connect with people so
    easily brings with it the expectation of constant engagement and sustained
    results. As such, it’s critical for non-profits to add to their skill sets
    and become effective storytellers fascinated with emerging technologies. We
    First was written to help non-profits do this by laying out a step-by-step
    action plan for how brands use social media to build their communities,
    drive their fund-raising, and help build a better world.

    _Featured reviews of We First:_
    [2]Social Media Drives Social Change and the We First Community
    Links:
    2.

    By Melissa Rowley
    [3]Book: We First: How Brands & Consumers Use Social Media To Build A Better
    World
    Links:
    3. http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-230-11026-7?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dda31996e4-We_First_Newsletter_August_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email

    By Beth Kanter

    _Featured guest posts:_
    [4]Four reasons we must re-engineer market capitalism [5]10 actions
    consumers can take to reinvent capitalism
    Links:
    4.
    5. http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-230-11026-7?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dda31996e4-We_First_Newsletter_August_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email

    A struggling economy, a world in crisis and new social technology has left
    brands scrambling for profits and consumers desperate for change. What if we
    could achieve both? What if brands and consumers could partner using social
    media to build communities, profits and a better world? That’s the promise
    of a We First world.
    [6]Twitter4 [7]facebook [8]Linked in [9]YOU TUBE
    Simon Mainwaring is an author, blogger, speaker and founder and CEO of We
    First, a social branding consultancy. A former Nike creative at Wieden &
    Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy,
    he is a member of the GMI Digital Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the
    Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, AdAge’s Power150 and is
    an Expert Blogger for _Fast Company_.
    Links:
    6. http://twitter.com/simonmainwaring?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dda31996e4-We_First_Newsletter_August_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email
    7. http://www.facebook.com/wefirst?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dda31996e4-We_First_Newsletter_August_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email
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    9. http://www.youtube.com/WeFirstTV?utm_source=We+First+Newsletter&utm_campaign=dda31996e4-We_First_Newsletter_August_15_20117_15_2011&utm_medium=email

    Did someone forward this to you?
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  • http://www.simonmainwaring.com/ Simon Mainwaring

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We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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