Facebook’s “Look Back” goes viral

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For its tenth birthday, Facebook gave everyone using it a gift. Customized look back videos that were created in a jiffy, and shared exhaustively across the social media platform’s feeds. Social media is, at its core, all about sharing stuff. But nothing has come close to the unilateral impact of Facebook’s “inside wink” known as “Look Back.” The video concept quickly employed user-uploaded content to create similar, evocative one-minute videos.

And even I, Ronn Torossian did my Facebook movie – and offered insight into the priceless PR benefits of Facebook’s free gift. More than anything else, the significance of this public relations win is in the simple fact that, for the most part, Facebook invited everyone to participate in a daylong “moment” of content sharing, created, and captivated by their programmers in their forum.

People not only willingly responded to the campaign, they never believed it wasn’t about them, and their memories. The idea that this was smart marketing campaign never entered into most people’s minds. They just basked in the emotions, and passed them along. Meanwhile, Facebook was experiencing a mass moment of response to its content. Massive time on site, massive numbers of click-thrus, and massive content marketing opportunities across the board.

And then the other shoe dropped. Days later, Facebook announced that people can now “edit” their videos. This option is all but irresistible for people who loved their videos, but had favorite photos excluded. Now, the tens of millions of users who uploaded videos will spend time on Facebook tinkering, and playing with their videos. That means yet more time on site, and platform interactivity. Click thrus, and time on site are the gold standard of measuring web impact.

With this one simple “gift”, Facebook has already taken its ‘net dominance, and raised the bar even further.

However, Facebook, did hit a slight PR snafu with their latest site-wide feature. With their latest Year In Review feature, Facebook allowed users to take a trip back and view images uploaded to the site during the past year. In premise it seemed like a great idea; however – not everyone had the best year. Allowing this feature to be curated through an algorith, some users were forced to view painful memories of lost friends, loved ones and more. Perhaps Facebook should have allowed users to hand pick which images they wanted to display and showcase to their friends on the network.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of New York based PR Firm 5WPR.

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