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🍨 The Half-Pint No. 3
Welcome back to The Half-Pint! The Half-Pint is a quick scoop of marketing news with a dash of Stanley’s patented sassy stardust sprinkles on top, served Thursdays.
Let’s get on the same page:
In February, Facebook took an unprecedented step for companies of its size. By strategically convincing a lot of users to leave Facebook, Zucktown is now able to focus its product development efforts and marketing dollars on a narrower cross-section of humanity. It’s not downsizing, it’s rightsizing.
Too long was Meta, formerly Facebook, a stock just out of reach for the common man. Meta’s exec team took one look at their share price and realized that if they could drop that number by 30% overnight, they would capture the hearts (and spare cash) of a much broader community of investors who downloaded Robin Hood the other day.
As we all know, innovation and originality are the hallmarks of every Facebook feature, and Reels is no exception. These short video clips give the recently-rightsized Facebook audience a new way to engage with creators on TikTok.
In Reels, Facebook users can get a taste of the great content that awaits them on TikTok, which in turn makes Facebook the go-to for people too stubborn to download yet-another-application but who also long for the fun, entertaining, and whimsical content not found on Facebook. Two audiences, one platform. That’s a knock-out punch.
In another unprecedented move, Meta did nothing to stop Apple from introducing an advertising opt-out for iPhone users. When enabled, this feature prevents applications from reading and sharing their device’s unique identifier. Facebook relies on this identifier to serve users targeted advertisements wherever they go. But profits be damned; privacy was baked into Facebook from day one.
As of now, this boost in consumer privacy has set Facebook back a modest $10Bn, but that’s no skin off the back of Meta, a devout privacy advocate.
Kidding aside, here’s the rub. I don’t hate Facebook or Meta, but I think, as many do that they’ve seriously veered off-course. This move toward a life lived on the Internet actually makes a lot of sense if you believe my story about Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook succeeded, in my opinion, because Mark’s own social anxieties manifested a piece of Internet software that resonated with people for reasons he could not anticipate. What Mark sees as ‘connecting’ is what most people see as being on the Internet, it’s not a facsimile for actual socializing, but to Mark, it is.
And VR promises to extend his vision further. With Facebook, we no longer had to be present to exchange information. With the Metaverse, we no longer have to be present to be present. That trajectory makes sense to Zuckerberg, it does not make sense to billions of people, but who knows, some day it might.
My prediction is the Metaverse will go the way of the Kindle. We thought eBooks would replace their physical counterparts, what actually happened was a shift of 13% of book sales to digital. Not quite the revolution Amazon predicted.
There will definitely be some population that wants to live and experience things online vicariously through avatars, but it will remain a fringe attraction, like going to Disney World—it’s a fun escape, not your new life.