09 July 2009

the fan box

As you've no doubt noticed (unless you're using an RSS feed), there's a Facebook box in the right-hand column of this here blog for the express purpose of promoting my new film. Normally, I wouldn't mention such a thing, but I think it's an example of where indie film distribution is heading.

There's an article in Wired about how Facebook is trying to operate in direct competition to Google in fundamental areas such as search. Essentially, whereas Google uses really complicated formulas and whatnot to tell you where to go on the internet, Facebook relies on the recommendations of people you know (or sort of know or think you maybe went to school with). The theory being that people trust people they know. It's all very interesting stuff, but what does it mean for us?

In the article, Facebook claims to be "an advanced communications network enabling myriad communication forms", so let's assume for a minute that it is. Let's assume that all that random information about your friends and co-workers actually means something, let's assume that when my status update reads (as it does now) "Lucas McNelly is supposed to be getting things done, but is instead spacing out and listening to the new Bill Callahan album" that Facebook can take that start to build an idea of who I am. What does that mean? Well, for one, when my friends start searching for something new to listen to, Facebook can tell them that I listen to Bill Callahan, which if used correctly could prove more valuable than a search for new albums on Google. A friend of mind can add that to what they already know about my musical tastes and purchase their music accordingly.

If you're thinking this sounds kind of creepy and Big Brother-ish, stop. This sort of thing could save our asses.

Lately, Facebook seems pretty committed to utilizing this sort of thing as they strive to find a way to actually make money on their social network (much like Twitter will be in a little bit), and so they've rolled out the fan box you see on the right to try and spread their reach a little bit further into your web experience.

I'll repeat: this is a good thing.

So now, not only can you get people to be fans of your film (which, let's face it, almost no one is utilizing effectively) who are already your friends, but people who are friends of friends, or stumble across your blog. And then, you have access to information about them--demographics, tastes, etc.--information you can use to promote your film.

There's so many ways to make this work. Your Facebook fan box should absolutely be integrated into every other web page you use, it should be your point of contact to the world. You should be giving away content to people who are fans that other people don't see. Hell, it could even be your film's Official Web Page. There's no reason not to be using it, none at all.

But you need to be doing more with it than just setting up a page and hoping people become your fans. A lot more.

You can start by being a fan of Blanc de Blanc (hint, hint).