Martin Ott: disruptive messages and lightweight relationships

Facebook is turning your friends into content matchmakers, but brands who see Facebook Pages as destinations are rather missing the point, says Martin Ott

Liveblogged notes from Martin Ott’s talk at NEXT Berlin 2013

Technology changes fast, behaviour more slowly, and motivation not at all. We’ve gone from schedule, event-centric TV, to information on demand. People use their mobile in bed – and the bathroom. Smartphones are little supercomputers. They have 680 million active mobile users at Facebook.

The London Olympics saw content from real people as compelling as that from the BBC. It was often the athletes spreading images widely in real time. More importantly, our friends can share relevant content with us as well. People want to be connected, to be part of a group, to belong. But they want to feel unique, as well. And we want to communicate. These motivations have not changed for millions of years.

The web is being rebuilt around people. We tend to use new technology with the behaviours we used before. The first TV broadcasts were much like radio broadcasts. The web is only 20 years old – we’re using it like print, and just uploading articles. The next version of the web will see us bring our friends along with us, as a sort of content match-maker. Facebook’s answer to this is the newsfeed.

With Facebook Home they’re trying to take the most personal device – the phone – and rebuild it around your friends. Chat heads tried to make messaging less disruptive.

We’re producing so much data that search is less useful. We need discovery instead. Destinations are no longer relevant. Corporates do this on Facebook Pages – but it’s not a destination. It’s a source of content which is consumed in the newsfeed. We’re moving from disruptive messages to connected ones. It’s like a dinner party – you sit down, listen and only share when you have something relevant to say. You need to become part of the daily conversation.

We’re moving from heavyweight to lightweight – building relationships gradually. You don’t meet someone, become friends and go on holiday together straight away. You build the relationship in small stages over time. Lightweight interactions are the future. And always ask why what you’re about to share is relevant.