A conversation starts with a point of view

Last week, one of the EACA‘s tutors left an A3 print in the lecture room which I was going to use.

I was about to help a team of nineteen French students, who happen to be a splendid advertisement for France, to write a pitch for a Disneyland Paris. We were in The London College of Communication, at the Elephant and Castle.

The A3 print said, “A conversation starts with a point of view.”

The tutor who left the print for me was Paul Arnold, lately of Saatchi and Saatchi, and he had been talking about communications strategy. I was struck by the quote.


Mark Zuckerberg

By coincidence, the French students and I had been looking at brand positionings a couple of weeks earlier. We started to discuss digital positionings, using a simple brand pyramid. All was going splendidly until we started to look at Facebook. There were quite clearly two possible pyramids. If you were a Facebook user, you’d be fairly happy with Facebook but be worried about Facebook’s future. Is it about to become another digital Engulf & Devour Corporation? What will it do with the squillions of dollars the IPO will raise?

The other view was that Mark Zuckerberg has always had his sights firmly on ruling the universe, and intends knowing everything there is to know about everyone in the world so that advertisers will pay him untold riches as he divulges our secrets. His big problem is to keep going the veneer of being the benign guardian of our secrets.

So, we wrote two potential pyramids. They were equally credible.

Brand Pyramid

Brand Pyramid

But that conversation with Guillaume, Marion, Florie, Heloise, Nicolas, Claire-Emmanuelle and the other thirteen students made me wonder.

How long has Facebook got to go before a Facebook Killer emerges?  Possibly not long.

If I was a subscriber to the IPO, I’d sell as soon as I could.

Paul Arnold was right. A conversation does start with a point of view. In the case of Facebook, my French students are now wondering if a new internet arrival will do to Facebook what Facebook and Rupert Murdoch did to MySpace. I don’t see Mark Zuckerberg as a power-crazed nutty businessman, but I do wonder about his personal aims.

This post is my one hundredth. I don’t make any money out of it, neither do I spend any money on it, but this blog is linked to Facebook, as well as to LinkedIn and The EACA website, all three of which generate substantial traffic for me, as do search engines.

I started because I thought it might be good for business, which it has been, and have kept going because of the people who read it, so thank you, Sue Buckle, for hitting the Like button on Facebook for the previous blog. Thanks, also, to the very polite lady journalist from Al Jazeera, who is in The USA, covering the current US Primaries, and to Rick Sareen for his recent thoughts about Facebook.

I have also had large numbers of hits on posts including Giffen Curves and Cider, which has been read by a lot of Scottish civil servants, and Lessons From The General Election which nearly collapsed under the weight of hits the day after David Cameron recently said no to the EU treaty.

But the blog which has had more hits that any other, by a long damp nose, is The Original Shaggy Dog Joke, which still makes me laugh. Many of the hits these blogs have received have come via Facebook, so I can’t complain.

But it doesn’t stop me wondering what point of view the company will have once the IPO is over. It really will be the time for a serious conversation, not just amongst Facebook’s owners, investors, advertisers and staff, but also for its customers – you and me.