The success of Facebook is rooted in the conversational flow between friends and family. This network has become a mimic of many of our traditional human interactions and is now exploring ideas beyond just talk.
There is a movement afoot to move some commercialization onto this conversational superhighway, and the jury is still out whether it will add to the experience or create a road littered with potholes.
In a recent discussion on the merits of e-commerce stores on the Facebook highway, Shiv Singh, vice president and global social media lead at Razorfish. suggested that, “e-commerce activities should be presented in ways that don’t intrude on the conversational flow of Facebook.”
We agree with Mr. Singh that a social superhighway cluttered with billboards and shopping malls will disrupt the flow. But we believe there is value in providing e-commerce real estate when it enhances the personal interaction and makes the conversation grow.
The discussion focused on a coffee merchandiser who is moving an e-commerce operation onto a Facebook page. Michael Straus, spokesman for the coffee company suggested that they were “looking to integrate its social media strategy with e-commerce”.
It could be augured that coffee shops are a regular landmark along any highway and are also recognized conversational hubs. So coffee shops might be a good idea for Facebook users.
But what other retail shops would make the social road more enjoyable?
Another thought leader was concerned with the idea of selling stuff on Facebook. Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media said, “People aren’t using Facebook right now to buy stuff”. “They use it to talk to friends, see pictures, play games, learn about new products, connect with companies and products that they love.” He suggested that this mindset might eventually change as shopping opportunities become part of the typical Facebook experience.
Direct selling on Facebook is very new, but so far, most agree that the key is to make the activity a part of the conversational format that attracts users to the experience.
We support Mr. Lazerow’s contention that friends, pictures and games are the conversational resources that currently fuel the Facebook engine. We understand that any e-commerce application should be a good fit for the road, or should stay off the highway.
We suggest that gift shops are a good fit and will be common on the social networks in the near future. These e-commerce stores will be stocked games and group activities that will allow real gifts to become a part of the conversation and the support among family and friends.
In that day, the Facebook experience will include established online gift merchants who support the birthdays, weddings, baby births and holidays that are shared by every conversationalist on the road.
The social highways will be full of large motor homes filled with groups enjoying a fun game and some real gifts that they picked up at the roadside gift store.
How do you see e-commerce merging onto Facebook?
Thanks to enchantedhighway.net for the image. (you should visit this place and see the huge metal sculptures)