In your face(book)

Score one for social media as a campaign organized by Facebook user Jon Morter caused Rage Against The Machine‘s “Killing In The Name” to become the number one single in Britain for 2009.

Grassroots campaigns run over the internet are nothing new. Howard Dean had great success prior to the 2004 election raising money and in 2008 Barack Obama took it a step further not only raising record funds but also mobilizing voters using platforms like Facebook. What really makes this story interesting though is the fact that an average person can start a campaign and compete against the marketing machine built by Simon Cowell of American Idol fame. The X Factor, billed as “the UK’s largest talent search” on its website has produced the top single for the past four years and with the most recent winner covering a song by Miley Cyrus, it appeared that it would top the chart again.

“”Killing In The Name” has topped the U.K. singles chart with 500,000 copies sold, compared to number two entry Joe McElderry’s sales of 450,000. For the first time in five years, an X Factor champion has not snagged Britain’s coveted Christmas number one spot, thanks to Morter’s Facebook campaign,” reported Lyndsey Parker in her Yahoo Music blog “Reality Rocks”.

In other Facebook news, The Associated Press talked about how social networking is changing the way people travel, allowing them to get instant recommendations while they are in a particular location via Twitter and using their network on Facebook to meet people from specific areas before they even arrive.

“Travelers have used the Internet for years to find hotels, restaurants and other attractions. Some Web sites offer recommendations from guidebook writers, critics and other experts, while others — like TripAdvisor.com, Yelp and Chowhound — offer feedback from individuals about their personal experiences. But credibility can be an issue. A good review could be written by the business owners themselves or their friends, while bad reviews could come from their competitors. A destination Web site might only list businesses that pay to be featured.”

The point made above is an excellent example of the way person to person contact is becoming more valuable than simply believing what a company is telling you. Personal recommendations, opinions and reviews allow a 360 degree view of an experience. I know for me, whether I’m looking for hotels or shopping for any of a number of items, I always read the worst ratings first then read some of the best ratings. Overly glowing reviews are discarded, especially if they don’t really offer any insight as to why something is so great. Sites or products that only have positive reviews should be viewed with a critical eye as well.

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