Facebook Hires Chris Turitzin From Momentus Media, Marketing Magicians & Makers Of 8-Bit Avatars

Correction: The original headline read, “Facebook Annexes Momentus Media, Marketing Magicians & Makers Of 8-Bit Avatars.” Upon publishing the article, a Facebook PR rep, Alex Kirschner, wrote to clarify that Facebook is not in fact acquiring Momentus Media but only hiring Chris Turitzin. In an email, Kirschner explained, “Momentus Media will continue as its own operation. Chris will join the growth and engagement team at Facebook.” So now you can look forward to catch viral ads from both Facebook and Momentus Media – a twofer! Accordingly, corrections were made to article where needed.

Now that Facebook is the current leader in online ad revenue, the company is likely to not relinquish that honor so easily. Perhaps to curtail any future slow-down of revenue growth, the social networking company has acquired social marketing shaman Chris Turitzin of Momentus Media. Really, this is one of those circle-of-life moments that happens every now and then since Momentus Media was born from the Facebook fund in 2009.

Momentus explained the deliberation and Turitzin’s eventual decision to jump aboard the USS Facebook today in a blog post:

Facebook approached Momentus a couple of months back because members of the growth and engagement team were impressed by the way we designed and built social applications. Our apps have been installed by more than 100 million people and we’ve had the opportunity of working with some great brands.

After months of discussion with Facebook and internally, we decided we wanted to join Facebook in some way. The opportunity of applying all of our learnings to a product of such scale was hard to pass up. Also important to us was being able to continue growing Momentus. The set-up we came to was that Carina, my co-founder, would lead the Momentus team in building awesome social apps, and I (Chris) would move to Facebook to help lead growth projects.

This means Momentus clients will still be able to release chart-topping social apps, and I will be able to apply everything I have learned at Momentus working at Facebook.

The science behind sharing is in its infancy. With this new opportunity, we push forward in our mission to help define how it all works.

One of Momentus Media’s more recent conjurings of success that used a mix of viral marketing and Facebook apps was their highly successful collaboration with Black Eyed Peas last year. The app, which generated heaps of traffic to Black Eyed Peas’ fan page, allowed Facebookers to generate an 8-bit avatar that they could share with friends on Facebook. And visit the Facebook page for Black Eyed Peas (which was the point).

Whatever the result of this business decision may be, at least Facebook’s hiring of Turitzin should fulfill the Net Cool Quotient for the fiscal quarter.


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Facebook Timeline For Brands: Marketing Game Changer Or Potential Spam Machine?

It wasn’t that long ago that Facebook users were informed by Facebook that they would be getting the Timeline whether they like it or not. Indeed, some do not like it, particularly the way it highlights things from the past. Some love it and find it to be a vast improvement of the Facebook profile. Either way, it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. Businesses are about to get them too.

Do you want a timeline experience for your brand? Is it a great way to showcase your business or an extra hassle? Tell us what you think.

This past week, reports emerged that Facebook would be rolling out the timeline for brands at the end of the month. We’re already pretty far into the month, so that means soon. In fact, Facebook is expected to make the announcement at its first fMC event for marketers on February 29.

The brand versions are expected to be very similar to user timelines, with some differences. From the sound of it, Facebook itself is still deciding how to do certain things, such as what happens with tabs and app pages associated with brand pages.

As Josh Wolford noted in a previous article, brands use these side buttons to house promotional games, contests, and other information. One thought, he noted, is that they will turn into boxes on the Brand’s Timelines, not unlike how Spotify is situated on user timelines.

As I noted myself in another article, brands have ups and downs throughout their lives just like people. Brands will want to review what is actually on these timelines very carefully. Some social media managers may have their work cut out for them.

Think about a company like Google and all the good and bad PR that it experiences. Think about a brand like the New York Times, which has been around since the mid 1800’s.

Obviously, the older brand, the more rich and extensive their timeline could be. These could turn into some really cool, visual pages for brands on the web, nice counterparts to brands’ Wikipedia pages for web users to learn about a brand’s history. For brands who choose to utilize them to their full potential, timelines could provide limitless information and knowledge about brands in a way that we just haven’t really seen in the past.

The timelines should be PR-friendly, for the most part. Brands will be in control. Users will not necessarily see all the really juicy stuff, though ballsy brands could choose to embrace the bad with the good and show some authenticity. Sometimes it pays to own your mistakes and failures.

We don’t yet know what all brand timelines will consist of, though we should soon. But think about user timelines for a moment and how their functionality could apply to brands. Actually, the Facebook Timeline movie maker illustrates to some extent how they can be used visually.

Timeline (or Open Graph) apps are huge for spreading what Facebook users are doing on Facebook. We may see a similar trend from brands. If a user likes a brand on Facebook, perhaps the brand can use Spotify or Pinterest and spread their listening/pinning habits. I can see these types fo things being used both for promotional purposes, and for brand humanization. People like brands they can identify with on a human level. This could lead to some interesting cross-brand promotions and partnerships.

We know timeline apps have already shown early success. Since the launch of the Pinterest app, for example, Facebook users visiting Pinterest every day has increased by over 60%, according to Facebook. Pose has seen a 5X increase in daily web sign-ups for their site and mobile app. Fab.com has seen a 50% increase in Facebook traffic. Foodily has quadrupled its user base.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Brand timelines could really change the landscape of what social media marketing looks like, simply because it comes from Facebook. If this were some standalone product out there from some unknown startup, I probably wouldn’t be so quick to make such a proclamation, but this is Facebook we’re talking about. In December, Facebook logged 845 million monthly active users. Users generated an average of 2.7 billion “likes” and comments per day during the three months ending December 31, according to Facebook.

Most brands already have Pages. Timelines are simply more interesting, and could lead to further engagement. They could change the game for brands.

Facebook may have to be careful, however, about how they allow these things to operate. There have already been plenty of complaints about the new Open Graph and timeline experience. Some feel like they are being spammed by apps like Pinterest and Spotify. Users share all of the stuff they’re listening to, or pinning, or reading from a new app. It’s not too hard to imagine brands sharing excessively, though all a user has to do is unlike them.

In fact, it will be interesting to see how this Open Graph affects Facebook use in the long run, brands aside.If user app use gets to annoying to their friends, they just might find the Facebook experience itself more annoying and spend a little more time elsewhere. That’s a risk factor.

Of course, at this point, we can only speculate about how brands will be allowed to use timelines. That is until they’re officially revealed by Facebook.

Do you think brand timelines are a good idea? Let us know in the comments.


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Facebook App Erases Your Friends And Photos For Alzheimer’s Awareness

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. Anyone who has had a family member afflicted with the disease never looks at it in the same way again. But not everyone has had to experience the anxiety, pain, and frustration that comes with Alzheimer’s, and one advocacy group has developed a Facebook app to raise awareness.

It’s called Sort Me Out, and is a product of the Alzheimer’s Disease Association Singapore. Once you’ve allowed the app access to your Facebook data, it uses it to create a fake profile page that closely resembles your real page. Slowly, the app begins to remove all of your Facebook data – your friends, posts, activities, and likes.

The app feigns notifications that your photos and friends are all being deleted. Obviously, the goal of the app is to mimic the helpless feeling that an Alzheimer’s patient has – powerless to stop their memories being erased. Of course, no Facebook app is going to be able to truly recreate that feeling, but the app does a pretty good job.

And the whole point is to raise awareness and spread it via social media. At the end of the experience, users are given the message “losing your precious memories and identity is painful; and that’s what people with dementia experience.” There, you can share the app with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Interactive Facebook apps like this can serve a variety of purposes – to scare, to make you laugh, to inform. This one uses the concept of Facebook data to engender a feeling of loss. Have you tried it? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

[Hat Tip CNET Asia]


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