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InTwaceBook- The Dangers of Being Your Competition, Un-experience

Those status updates make your ass look great


As days roll by, the Holy Trinity of social media continue to try on each others’ underwear, and honestly, from an experience perspective, this is a huge mistake.

I know that the brands I shop and utilize are often based on the uniqueness of my experience in each venue.  For example, I am a huge fan of cheeseburgers- all kinds of cheeseburgers.  McDonalds is simply different than BurgerKing, who is different from Hut’s versus Mighty Fine here in Austin. If we decide to eat cheeseburgers, we often pick which type of burger we’ll eat based on the experience we’re looking for- fast versus sit down, versus sitting down out doors, versus casual beer drinking and a burger.

What that has to do with the holy trinity is that we’re watching a metamorphosis of FaceBook and even LinkedIn to move more towards a Twitter-like experience  and I’m really not sure why.  To me, it signals many things, one of which resembles that of an identity crisis.

I utilize FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for very unique reasons, and I wonder if the young giants in social media get that?  Do they understand that moving against the way their users experience them is harmful to their long term success? In fact, I’ve virtually stopped using two of the three for exactly these reasons.

Let’s be twinkies

Are the new media giants out of their own ideas? Have we reached the plateau in social innovation? That’s what the trinity wearing each others’ underwear signals to me. When you’re changing so much (privacy) to look like someone else even against the better wisdom of your patrons, I suspect the idea of dumping one audience for someone else’s is a bad idea.

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McStarbucks, where your name doesn’t matter

A prime offline example of this is Starbucks versus McDonalds. If that one doesn’t confuse you, then please, enjoy that BigMac, I’ll just sit here and sip my latte and read, because the cause is as lost on you as it is on Starbucks who has completely eroded everything that made it wonderful in an effort to resist McDonalds.

Who am I, Why am I here?

Over funded, over hyped, and inexperienced, I sense trouble on the horizon for one or all of the big three, and my question is, which one most resembles GM?

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Heather Rankin

    December 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Benn –

    Could not agree more. The changes in the last year to become “tweet-er-like” are discouraging – and not just the latest privacy issue. FB is moving backwards from what made it unique and at the same time eroding the value I receive from it as it takes more of my time to sift through everyone’s every move. Someone buy them a Starbucks and a Big Mac – please 🙂

  2. Ken Montville

    December 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. It all started with services like that allow status updates to virtually every social network on earth simultaneously. Seeing an opportunity, Tweetdeck started allowing posts cross platform to Facebook. It’s crazy.

    I, too, look to the different platforms for different things. I like Facebook for the purely soical aspect of it (I haven’t quite learned the nuances of the Fan Page). I like Twitter because it’s quick and dynamic and there are sometimes interesting links to interesting URLs. LinkedIn, Plaxo, Tumblr, Flickr, and so one all have a little bit of a different twist. I don’t spend a lot of time on them, though.

    Diluting the brand is one of the most common errors the big boys always make. Starbucks diluted their brand with sandwiches and other non-pastry food and the music. So now McDonald’s feels like they can make a run at them.

    Since you ask, here’s my prediction for the GM of social media – LinkedIn. I’m on it but it’s clunky and I’m not looking for a job in Colorado or New Mexico with an IT dept. The Group updates are obnoxious.

    Do I get a prize if I’m right?

    • Benn Rosales

      December 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm

      Your prize is bragging rights! 🙂 Damn liberals and your handouts! haha kidding

  3. Troy Roark (ILRealEstate on Twitter)

    December 16, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    If any of us have been the the RE biz for any length of time, we know that you niche is what makes you successful. Twitter is quick info. Facebook is you and your friends (and Farmtown>>FAIL!), and LinkedIn is you and your associates. If those lines begin to blur, heads start to roll.

    GM = LinkedIn. Fan Pages will leave LinkedIn in the dust.

    • Benn Rosales

      December 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      kudos for picking up the underlying relationship to real estate, I left it open on purpose.

  4. Duke Long

    December 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Check my Posterous stream. It posts to all of the above. My idea is that none of them are any different.

  5. Ken Brand

    December 16, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I’m with Duke, for me the only real/important difference is the people.

    Each has it’s own tribe (some friends have dual citizenship’s), I want to talk to all of them, the beauty is not in the features, it’s the people.

    Eventually, when friends and foe meander-migrate, I’ll run like hell to the front of the line and pretend I’m leading (leadership 101).


  6. Benn Rosales

    December 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I was thinking that I actually like InTweetBook or InFaceTweet… hrm… FaceInTweet sounds good too. I could have gotten Google in on it too GoInFaceTweet.

  7. Duke Long

    December 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I was never the best quarterback…we just kept winning. <<<my quote

  8. MIssy Caulk

    December 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    …and did you know today that McDonalds announced they were going wireless FREE like Starbucks?

    Guess it happens in real life too.

    I use all of trinity differently.

  9. Greg

    December 19, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Amen… I liked the days when my Facebook remained a place for friends only (yes all 278 of my closest – right) LinkedIn was my “Professional” network (the place where I actually do work with/network or didn’t know well enough to check out photo’s of my kids and wife at the beach!?…) – Twitter for my Jitter and Blogger for my slop… To Troy’s point earlier, it helps to stay focused in any biz – Real Estate is no different,.. although I personally function a bit like a 7/11 – and yes open all hours and convenient (just not as bright). Ken is probably right about LinkedIn over the haul, but all could easily be absorbed by if Google decided to make it so.

    Anyway, back to brew – I was under the impression that McD’s has been serving Seattle’s Best,.. which I thought was already owned by Starbucks?!.. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we hopefully facing the day when McD’s will actually serve Starbucks and Crispy Crème – and have free computers to use with 4 chalupa’s late night? – on a patio with beer perhaps.
    I think we are moving there in all facets. And it would be best served…once we get there. (as opposed to the Mc Won ton or random FB blast to friends everywhere about a newly listed 2br fixer condo) – it will merge out of necessity eventually,.. then again there is Myspace.

    On a similar burner the past years market shifts’ have left us with basically 5 Big Banks buying +70% of all Residential loans (and consumers bleating to their uniform demands – Venti Carmel Macciato’s only) – Most small Real Estate companies got absorbed by larger ones – taking out some variety on the street signs if noting else… so much for Dunkin Donuts. We have lots of technology, innovation and creativity to improve – not only through, but in the instance of this link: (starts off really slowly but is well worth it)

    In sum, we create the validity of our own brand within the online orgy for the time being – even if “they” miss the point or rather struggle for its dominance… It’s just like getting stuck at McD’s with screaming kids and no time to head over to Senor Bucks – Mc’shit happens to billions daily so why not? Get it where you can I guess… and who cares if it sucks, or if it’s needed?!. The key is keeping all the eggs in all the baskets as we have reached the point of online confusion to the general populous. (the people we care about and would like to stay in touch with) Moving everyone to a new deal would be like switching people out from AOL or off land lines for that matter.

    The underlying aroma is this lack of identity and nab grab culture that end’s up making life more complicated… Working at McD’s just got “whipped” – so to speak, and so has Real Estate. The average agent is now straddling contract law to online social media 400. The day may come where this gets too detailed all around, splitting agents into segments like being solely a “Real Estate Marketing Specialist”, or “Contract Review Specialist”, even “Negotiation Specialist” Etc… All for one deal?.. or will the consumer still accept the Swiss army knife approach in the future? Bookfacetwitlinkflickr…

    What does the consumer really want – and what will they take as they drive through the web…
    More importantly will McD’s ever get back to the basics of a clean establishment, serving fast and consistent burgers? Or will they be bogged down with Facebook / twitter updates from each location as they attempt to pass for Bucks?

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