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Posted by randfish

 If you use Google Analytics, you’ve undoubtedly seen a report like this:

Google Analytics Pie Chart

The problem is, there’s no breakdown of "social media" in this view of traffic sources, and with the dramatic rise of social media marketing, marketers need an easy way to segment and "see" this traffic separately from the rest of their referrers. We know it’s mixed in with "referring sites" and "direct traffic" but luckily, there’s a way to extract that data in just a few simple steps.

Step 1: Create a Custom Segment

Custom segments are the way to go for separating traffic into filter-able buckets for deeper analysis. GA makes this fairly painless:

Step 1

From any of the "Traffic Sources" sections, just click the "Advanced Segments" in the upper-right hand corner and then the link to "Create a new advanced segment."

Step 2: Add Social Sources

This is the most crucial part, and requires that you have a full list of the sites/words to include. I don’t recommend using just the domain names or URLs of the most popular social sites, but instead, some clever "catch-all" words using the "source" condition, as shown below:

Step 2

Make sure to continue adding "OR" statements, not "and" statements – the latter will require that both conditions are met vs. any one of the "ORs". Here’s the list of words I used, though you can certainly feel free to add to it:

  • twitter
  • tweet
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • youtube
  • reddit
  • digg
  • delicious
  • stumbleupon
  • ycombinator
  • flickr
  • myspace
  • hootsuite
  • popurls
  • wikipedia

Depending on your niche, it might be valuable to run through your top 2-500 referring domains looking for any obvious matches. You could also refer to Wikipedia’s list of popular social sites.

Step 3: Test & Name Your Segment

In order to create a fully functional segment, you’ll want to test the logic you’ve created to be sure results are returning. Before you do that, though, GA requires naming your segment (I used "social media"):

Step 3

Once it’s complete and working properly, click "save segment." You’ll be returned to the prior screen with the segment ready to rumble.

Step 4: Filter Traffic by "Social Media"

Your new segment is ready to be applied. You can now filter social media exclusively or see it in comparison to other traffic sources on any report in GA. Just use the advanced segments drop-down and choose "social media" under the custom segments list like so:

Of course, just having data is useless unless there’s some action you can take from it. Segmenting social traffic is useful for reporting, particularly to gauge value (if you have action tracking on commercial activities set up in GA, for example) and see growth/impact over time. But, there’s more you can learn than just raw traffic and conversions numbers.

Here’s some examples of reports I ran, along with the value/intelligence extracted from the data:

It can be tough to "see" the social sites between other referring domains, but once they’re broken out, combing through and finding the sites where your efforts are working is vastly more simple. If you then compare this against traffic "opportunity" from these sites (using a combination of traffic data and gut check), you’ll be able to find which sites have the greatest chance to improve. For SEOmoz, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit and Wikipedia stand out to me as places where we likely have more opportunity than we’re currently capturing.

This next chart compares search vs. social traffic over time:

If I’m looking to evaluate progress and make comparisons, this view is fairly useful. I can tell if my share of social media is growing or shrinking and how it compares to overall traffic and search individually. I’m only looking at a short timeframe here, but over the course of weeks or months, I can quickly gauge whether my efforts in social are paying off with traffic and whether they’re improving my performance in search engines (through new links, citations, etc). When someone asks if social helps search, showing these two segments over time can be persuasive.

Next, I’m reviewing the level of engagement of social media visitors:

At first, I can compare this against other segments (like "search" or "direct") as a measure of comparative value. But, I also want to compare this over time, particularly if I’m making tweaks to my site to encourage greater engagement and click-through to see if those efforts are successful.

Just because I’m curious, I’ll check out some browser stats:

 

Admittedly, this isn’t especially actionable, but it is fascinating to see the browser "savvy" of social users. Dominated by Firefox and Chrome with very little Internet Explorer use. If I’m trying to see what the cutting edge users are shifting towards, this is where to look. I suspect Rockmelt will soon be joining the list. (BTW – I love that 5 people came with the user-agent "Googlebot" – awesome).

Last, let’s peek at the pages social visitors see:

These are all potential opportunities to create more customized landing experiences based on the referrer path, and the report can also give me insight about what content I need to continue producing if I want to draw in more social traffic. 


If social media marketing is a focus of your organization, segmenting that traffic in reporting is critical to determining the value of your efforts and improving. So get into GA, segment, and start seeing your traffic for what it really is. 

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Is it a fad? Is it a scam? Is it here today, gone tomorrow?

Social media and marketing experts have had a wide range of opinions on the future of social media for a long time. Many said it would be gone by the end of 2010 (I even recall an article in 2007 that predicted the demise of social media as a marketing tool by 2008). Just about everyone who predicted that social media would die are either silent or admitting the error of their ways.

Our friends at Flowtown put together this excellent infographic that puts it all into perspective for us. Still have doubts? Don’t.

Everybody’s Doing It: How Marketers Are Utilizing Social Media In 2010
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

Soshable | Social Media Blog

Posted by randfish

You may have seen the recent string of posts about SEO vs. Social Media, starting with this effective, but poorly argued controversy-bait, which was excoriated by Elysia Brooker and Hugo Guzman, then followed up with a more nuanced view by Darren Rowse. While I’m not particularly interested (nor do I think there’s much value) in re-hashing or arguing these points, I did think the topic warranted attention, as it brings up some excellent points marketers should carefully consider as they invest in their craft.

We Search for What We Want + Need

The search for information and answers has been essential to humans since time immemorial. And there’s no sign that our latest iteration, web search, is losing any steam:

Growth in Search Query Volume 2006-2010

Even as we’ve reached a maturity point with broadband adoption and online population, searches are rising. We’re not searching less every month; we’re searching more.

Search is an intent driven activity. We don’t search casually (much), we search to find answers, information, goods and services to consume. The power of search marketing – whether paid or organic – is simple: Be in front of the consumer at the time of consumption. There’s no more effective time to be present and no more effective way of knowing what is desired. All the social graph analysis in the world won’t tell you that Sunday evening, I got fed up with my current selection of footwear and, after some searching, spent a few hundred dollars on Zappos. But being front and center when I queried mens puma shoes brought them some nice business.

We’re Social to Discover and Share

Social media – whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Reddit, StumbleUpon or something else – is about connections, interaction, discovery and distraction. We hardly ever use these portals as a way to find answers, though they certainly may provide plenty to unasked questions.

Social media marketing advocates often make the case that social is how we find out about new products on the web, but, at least so far, the data doesn’t back up this assertion:

ATG Study on Where Users Discover Products
-
ATG Study on How Users Discover Products via SearchEngineLand

However, I am strongly inclined to believe the claim that social media is how we find out about new content on the web, particularly when we’re not seeking something in particular (as with a search). Blogs, pictures, video, research and the like are surely seeing an increased share of their visits from social, and that branding exposure is definitely valuable.

Some recent GroupM Research helped to shed the light of data on this supposition, noting that:

  • The click-through rate in organic search results for users who have been exposed to a brand’s social marketing campaign are 2.4X higher than those that haven’t; for paid search, it showed a jump from 4.5% to 11.8% (in both cases, this is for branded queries)
  • Consumers using social media are 1.7x more likely to search with the intention of making a list of brands or products to consider purchasing compared to those who do not use social media

Ben Yoskovitz talked about this value in his recent analysis:

Based on the information in this report, it’s reasonable to argue that social media marketing can increase the quality of leads (and not just the volume). It’s possible to hone in on, and understand intent through search and how social media exposure affects that intent. And as people are exposed (and I would say involved with – since exposure sounds like you’re just broadcasting stuff at people, which isn’t what social media is about) to social media their intent is more focused and driven towards lead conversion

That’s the kind of social media marketing value I can get behind. Get exposed to potential customers through social so that when they build their consideration set, search and purchase, you’ll have a leg up on the competition.

What Drives Traffic (and Converts) for Whom

It pays to understand the bias of this flare-up’s instigator, and I’ve got plenty of compelling data myself to see his perspective. Last weekend, I started publishing content on a personal blog – no domain authority, no links and little chance of performing well in search. But the results from social media – Twitter, Facebook and Hacker News in particular – are fairly remarkable:

Traffic Data

The search traffic demand, all 78 visits, was generated from the articles that went popular on Twitter & HN. The site itself still doesn’t rank for its own name. Yet, social media sent 22,000 visits over 9 days. No wonder bloggers, in particular those that monetize through advertising, sponsorships and other traffic-driven systems, have a proclivity for investing in social traffic. Perhaps it’s not so crazy to suggest on Problogger.net, a site about growing blog traffic and improving monetization, that social can be "better" than SEO.

I’d still argue that overall, referring traffic of all kinds sent from social, particularly from the largest network (Facebook), is only a fraction of the visits Google sends out each day (unless you’re in the business of appealing to the Facebook audience biases – I was a bit frustrated with how the data was clearly manipulated in the reference piece to fit the story). But, social does eliminate some of the inherent biases that search engines carry and let content that appeals to social users flourish no matter the site’s ability to grow its link profile, make content accessible to spiders or effectively target keywords.

Now let’s look at an example on the opposite end of the spectrum – conversions for a B2B product.

SEOmoz’s PRO membership may not be a good investment unless you’re a marketer actively engaged with SEO, but given that both the search and social traffic our site attracts
likely fall into this intent group (interested in SEO and likely to be in web marketing), a comparison seems fair.

First, I did some prep work in our Google Analytics account by creating an advanced segment called "social traffic" that contains any referral source with "twitter," "facebook," "stumbleupon," "linkedin," "flickr," and "ycombinator" – these represent the vast majority of our social media sources. Next, I compared this traffic quantitatively with our search referrals over the past two weeks:

  • Social Traffic – 26,599 visits from 30 sources
  • Organic Search Traffic – 102,349 from 20 sources

I then compared the percent of these reaching our landing or purchase pages for PRO membership. Here’s organic search:

Organic Search Traffic

And here’s social traffic:

Social Traffic

Here’s what I see:

  • 4.5% of organic search visitors considered a purchase
  • 1.3% of social traffic considered a purchase
  • While I can’t disclose full numbers, I can see that a fair number of search visits converted vs. zero for social.

In fact, looking at the entire year to date traffic to SEOmoz from social sources, it appears not 1 visit has ever converted for us. Social may be a great way to drive traffic, build branding and make a purchase more likely in the future, but from a direct conversion standpoint, it doesn’t hold a candle to search. To be fair, I’m not looking at full life cycle or even first-touch attribution, which makes this analysis less comprehensive, though likely still directionally informative.

Takeaways

Given the research and data here and in the posts/content referenced, I think we can say a few things about search and social as marketing channels:

  1. There shouldn’t be a VS.: This isn’t about pitting web marketers against each other (or perhaps, more accurately, themselves, since our industry survey data suggests many of us are responsible for both). There’s obvious value in both channels and to suggest otherwise is ideological nonsense and worse, self-defeating.
  2. Search Converts: Billion+ isn’t being wasted on Google’s search ads – that sucker send intent-driven, focused, conversion-ready visits like nobody else on the web.
  3. Social Has Value: Those exposed to a social campaign are better customers and prospects; making social not only a branding and traffic channel, but an opportunity for conversion rate optimization.
  4. SEO Is Hard in the Early Stages: Without a strong link profile, even great content may not perform particularly well in search results.
  5. Segmenting Search and Social is Key: Unless you separate, analyze and iterate, you’re doomed to miss opportunities and falsely attribute value. I’m particularly worried about those marketers who invest heavily in social to the detriment of SEO because the immediacy of the rewards is so much more tangible and emotionally compelling (He’s following me on Twitter! We have 200 Facebook fans!) – make sure appropriate effort goes where it can earn ROI; it’s our job.

For another interesting (and more social-media biased) perspective, check out Search vs. Social from Bradford Cross.

I’d love to hear more from you on this topic, too. 

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog

Few people understand the constant pressure that the corporate social strategist is faced with. On any given day, the pressure can include internal challenges such as culture change, demands on proving the worth of programs, program development and execution, vague understanding of the role by some colleagues, the necessity of integrating the function throughout the enterprise, as well as external demands such as interview requests and a constant barrage of questions via email, Facebook and Twitter.

The role is clearly evolving and is one that many companies, small and large, are currently filling. I was lucky enough to be selected to fill the role of global digital & multimedia communications manager (aka head of social media) for Ford Motor Company in July of 2008, and I’ve witnessed much of the above – and more – in my role. We’re definitely at a crossroads in terms of the maturity and evolution of the function, particularly in integrating this nascent field into more business processes and making it live beyond the realm of just a handful of people within the organization.

Now, Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) of Altimeter, along with Charlene Li (@charleneli), Christine Tran (@christineptran) and Andrew Jones (@andrewjns), has undertaken what I consider to be the definitive report on the challenges, opportunities and future of the corporate social media strategist. After surveying some 140 social strategists, interviewing 50 corporate practitioners of social media and looking through some online resources, they outlined some major findings, including:

  • Corporations have anointed an Open Leader, the Social Strategist.
  • They are overwhelmed with six major challenges – with little relief in sight.
  • Be proactive – or be relegated to being a Social Media Help Desk.
  • Senior management must be selective in hiring this role – then give full support as they evolved the corporation.

Take a look at the report to see what the six challenges of the corporate social strategist are. In addition, Altimeter has 10 executive recommendations for hiring and managing a corporate social strategist that make up a solid checklist for both those new to or seasoned in social media.

Are there other challenges that you’ve seen that should also be noted? What’s your view on the future of this role and the industry?

Also, if you’re interested, I regularly bookmark some of Jeremiah’s writings. You can find those at http://delicious.com/scottmonty/jeremiahowyang.

Disclosure: I was among those interviewed for this report
,

The Social Media Marketing Blog

Many cruise along the paved roads of Social Networks without giving much thought to their development or enhancement within our social ecosystem. They are fun, entertaining, and for the most part – very easy to figure out.

What if we analyze our historical growth in communication or the evolution of us as human beings and uncover the path from our first existence till today? Would we find out the explosion of Social Media was not in fact a genius creation put forth into motion and we as human beings just happened to find pleasure in it? Or would the remnants of our history unearth a deeper more scientific process that exposes social media as a natural procedure that was destined within the make up of the human evolution?

As this video suggests, and explains our homo-empathicus nature – It can’t help BUT leave you wondering….

***


Soshable | Social Media Blog

Our friends at GetSatisfaction put together this excellent graphic telling six tales of social media turning sour on major companies. There are lessons to be learned from each as businesses turn increasingly to social media to improve their customer relations.

The universal lesson: if you’re going to do it, think it through and consider the consequences before ending up on the wrong side of headlines and infographics.

Click to Enlarge


Soshable | Social Media Blog

As we flip yet another page in the lifespan of Facebook, we have been delighted with the only movie about a social network to embrace our sights. It was not an entire surprise that “The Social Network” Movie, which is based on the #1 of Social Network’s Facebook, made it as #1 in the box office on its opening weekend.

The surprise unfolded within the movie itself. The plot positioned during the times Zuckerberg was being sued from three different people, one being that of his only friend, and building the story of Zuckerbergs creation of Facebook and it’s not so subtle beginnings. One would think that after all the negative lashings about Zuckerberg, that this film would only solidify those perceptions.

Instead, this captivating movie humanized Mark. It showed the betrayals, the desire, and hard work that it took to embark on the brilliance that is Facebook. It did not glorify him or paint him as an evil doer, just a human that is looking to connect.

Zuckerberg’s honesty and awkwardness has unveiled him in a not so positive light, yet this movie almost explains how those traits are what gave us Facebook. Without Zuckerberg having almost no social skills, we perhaps would be lacking in our greatest, history-making reach of communication.

After viewing this film, you can almost feel as though one could relate to Zuckerberg. Using his weakness in a lack of social stability and his yearn for wanting to be a part of some sort of social stature, he used his strength of computer skills and intelligence to create a platform for all of us who in one way or another, feel the same.

Even through the moral questioning of his actions, one can’t help but think that he created a love affair with this network, in replacement of all he was lacking and it seems as though, Facebook was his answer to claiming his presence, not only in amongst his peers but to the world.

If we stop and look past his debatable wrongful doings, his awkwardness and ego – we can almost see that he is in sought for what we all look to do and that is to feel like we belong. In this instance not only did Zuckerberg create a place of no rejection for himself, he ensured that we could all share within this space and perhaps that is why it has become a primal instinct for us to login to Facebook.

No longer do we have to be alone or worse off, feel alone and that is what I took away from watching this film. Zuckerberg has made his fair share of mistakes, but he took them for all of us, what did we do before Facebook? Could we do without it? If so, would we be settling for something less?

I know I missed my online friends while at the theater – in amongst the faceless crowd that we had become so accustomed to. Facebook has humanized us again, brought us down to earth and became a link in rekindling our love of human connections, especially in a generation of technology.

The movie “The Social Network” defines sacrifice, success, and the burden of being limitless. You definitely don’t make 500 Million friends without making a few enemies – As Facebook has put person back into personable, this film has put an understanding face on the creator of Facebook. You will have to see the movie to understand this last sentenced, but I am grateful that Mark didn’t settle for Trout.


Soshable | Social Media Blog

The most anticipated movie of the year has finally arrived in Theatres today and it will be no surprise if it makes millions and becomes #1 in the box office. It will only mirror its plot line real life story of the #1 of social networks, Facebook.

“The Social Network” may or may not reveal the truth about Zuckerberg and how he turned himself into a billionaire, but that will not stop us from going and seeing this movie. It supposedly will have more drama in its written word than action in this film – a bit of a change from today’s movies, we look for buildings to crumble, guns to fire and cars to explode, apparently the only explosions here will occur in its dialogue  – sounds refreshing, almost like a status update.

Prior to watching “The Social Network” movie, here are some interesting facts to get you into the social experience of Facebook:

Although Zuckerberg is a billionaire, he still rents a house with his girlfriend.

The actor, Jesse Eisenberg who played Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network” movie has a cousin who works for Facebook.

The average age of a Facebook employee is 31.

The co-founder of the music sharing site, Napster, Sean Parker, was an informal adviser to the creators of “The Facebook” in 2004. He was the one who also advised to drop “The” and just go with calling it Facebook. He was forced to leave Facebook after he was arrested for cocaine possession.

There are approximately 900 Facebook employees.

Facebook’s Engineer, Chris Putnam was hired in 2006 after he hacked into Facebook and changed all the profiles to look like MySpace. He is also an Easter egg (an unofficial piece of fun code) as an emoticon in Facebook Chat with the code being – :putnam (the colon symbol and his last name), once entered Putnam’s face will appear.

Zuckerberg is anti-social, ironic huh?

In its first hour, “The Facebook” had 22,000 hits.

Steve Chen worked at Facebook for only a few weeks in his early days prior to creating YouTube.

Zuckerberg has binders filled with ideas. He writes them all down.

Well over 100 billion images are added to Facebook in a one week period.

21% of us check Facebook in the middle of the night.

The people who sued Zuckerberg are twins.

23 hours a month are used on Facebook.

Zuckerberg had a Star Wars themed Bar Mitzvah.

The sport Zuckerberg played in highschool was – fencing.

Zuckerberg was 20 when Facebook was created.

Movie and Facebook fanatics unite and immerse yourselves in what is being called “The Movie of the Year” – Let’s wait until Monday to hear the estimated worth and worthy of this Oscar buzzed film. More importantly, let’s wait to see just how many of our friends will clutter our Facebook newsfeeds with their thoughts on this movie.

Find out more about the “The Social Network” movie

Use other Facebook emoticons

Do you think Facebook has changed the way we communicate for the better?


Soshable | Social Media Blog

The most anticipated movie of the year has finally arrived in Theatres today and it will be no surprise if it makes millions and becomes #1 in the box office. It will only mirror its plot line real life story of the #1 of social networks, Facebook.

“The Social Network” may or may not reveal the truth about Zuckerberg and how he turned himself into a billionaire, but that will not stop us from going and seeing this movie. It supposedly will have more drama in its written word than action in this film – a bit of a change from today’s movies, we look for buildings to crumble, guns to fire and cars to explode, apparently the only explosions here will occur in its dialogue  – sounds refreshing, almost like a status update.

Prior to watching “The Social Network” movie, here are some interesting facts to get you into the social experience of Facebook:

Although Zuckerberg is a billionaire, he still rents a house with his girlfriend.

The actor, Jesse Eisenberg who played Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network” movie has a cousin who works for Facebook.

The average age of a Facebook employee is 31.

The co-founder of the music sharing site, Napster, Sean Parker, was an informal adviser to the creators of “The Facebook” in 2004. He was the one who also advised to drop “The” and just go with calling it Facebook. He was forced to leave Facebook after he was arrested for cocaine possession.

There are approximately 900 Facebook employees.

Facebook’s Engineer, Chris Putnam was hired in 2006 after he hacked into Facebook and changed all the profiles to look like MySpace. He is also an Easter egg (an unofficial piece of fun code) as an emoticon in Facebook Chat with the code being – :putnam (the colon symbol and his last name), once entered Putnam’s face will appear.

Zuckerberg is anti-social, ironic huh?

In its first hour, “The Facebook” had 22,000 hits.

Steve Chen worked at Facebook for only a few weeks in his early days prior to creating YouTube.

Zuckerberg has binders filled with ideas. He writes them all down.

Well over 100 billion images are added to Facebook in a one week period.

21% of us check Facebook in the middle of the night.

The people who sued Zuckerberg are twins.

23 hours a month are used on Facebook.

Zuckerberg had a Star Wars themed Bar Mitzvah.

The sport Zuckerberg played in highschool was – fencing.

Zuckerberg was 20 when Facebook was created.

Movie and Facebook fanatics unite and immerse yourselves in what is being called “The Movie of the Year” – Let’s wait until Monday to hear the estimated worth and worthy of this Oscar buzzed film. More importantly, let’s wait to see just how many of our friends will clutter our Facebook newsfeeds with their thoughts on this movie.

Find out more about the “The Social Network” movie

Use other Facebook emoticons

Do you think Facebook has changed the way we communicate for the better?


Soshable | Social Media Blog

The most anticipated movie of the year has finally arrived in Theatres today and it will be no surprise if it makes millions and becomes #1 in the box office. It will only mirror its plot line real life story of the #1 of social networks, Facebook.

“The Social Network” may or may not reveal the truth about Zuckerberg and how he turned himself into a billionaire, but that will not stop us from going and seeing this movie. It supposedly will have more drama in its written word than action in this film – a bit of a change from today’s movies, we look for buildings to crumble, guns to fire and cars to explode, apparently the only explosions here will occur in its dialogue  – sounds refreshing, almost like a status update.

Prior to watching “The Social Network” movie, here are some interesting facts to get you into the social experience of Facebook:

Although Zuckerberg is a billionaire, he still rents a house with his girlfriend.

 

The actor, Jesse Eisenberg who played Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network” movie has a cousin who works for Facebook.

 

The average age of a Facebook employee is 31.

The co-founder of the music sharing site, Napster, Sean Parker, was an informal adviser to the creators of “The Facebook” in 2004. He was the one who also advised to drop “The” and just go with calling it Facebook. He was forced to leave Facebook after he was arrested for cocaine possession.

There are approximately 900 Facebook employees.

Facebook’s Engineer, Chris Putnam was hired in 2006 after he hacked into Facebook and changed all the profiles to look like MySpace. He is also an Easter egg (an unofficial piece of fun code) as an emoticon in Facebook Chat with the code being – :putnam (the colon symbol and his last name), once entered Putnam’s face will appear.

Zuckerberg is anti-social, ironic huh?

In its first hour, “The Facebook” had 22,000 hits.

Steve Chen worked at Facebook for only a few weeks in his early days prior to creating YouTube.

Zuckerberg has binders filled with ideas. He writes them all down.

Well over 100 billion images are added to Facebook in a one week period.

21% of us check Facebook in the middle of the night.

The people who sued Zuckerberg are twins.

23 hours a month are used on Facebook.

Zuckerberg had a Star Wars themed Bar Mitzvah.

The sport Zuckerberg played in highschool was – fencing.

Zuckerberg was 20 when Facebook was created.

 

Movie and Facebook fanatics unite and immerse yourselves in what is being called “The Movie of the Year” – Let’s wait until Monday to hear the estimated worth and worthy of this Oscar buzzed film. More importantly, let’s wait to see just how many of our friends will clutter our Facebook newsfeeds with their thoughts on this movie.

 

Find out more about the “The Social Network” movie

Use other Facebook emoticons

 

Do you think Facebook has changed the way we communicate for the better?

 

 


Soshable | Social Media Blog