What People Reveal

What people reveal…depends on the venue. When you attend a family gathering, your discussion is surely different than among business colleagues. The updates you share at college reunions would be different than your chats with daily running buddies. Likewise, your communications on social sites seem to vary too.

Recently, Facebook announced their new ads based on your social connections. They plan to target text ads based on your expressed interests as well as what your friends find interesting.

Let’s assume that other social sites adopted this approach. The targeted ads would differ by site and your unique, changing connections there. That’s probably a good thing. Why?

— Different network, different act. Let’s say that my Facebook friends are within the Bay Area group, and we share local haunts. Over at MySpace, I’m parading around as a world-class alpinist and that’s my declared persona.

— Different network, specific connections. In this case, I’m sharing my Flickr photos with family. Even if my family members have interesting careers, I’m more interested in checking out their vacation and kids. I might get a kick out of looking at their bungie-jumping experience too.

— Different network, specialized purpose. Over on LinkedIn, I’m pretty sure my first degrees are work colleagues, suppliers or customers. I don’t have a really tight handle on my second degree connections, though I have managed to re-connect with old colleagues there.

If I’m expecting to see different ads because of my own interests, then that makes sense. It’s almost business as usual. However if I see ads that would interest others in my different networks, would they resonate with me? Well, the jury’s still out, but at least we’ll be able to find out as participants — and future advertisers — on Facebook and other networks to follow.

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