Close-Up: Adland's Facebook junkies uncovered
campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 10 August 2007 12:00AM
Social networking sites such as Facebook have taken the world by storm. Campaign profiles eight of adland's biggest addicts, and gets an insight into their personalities in the process.
RORY SUTHERLAND - VICE-CHAIRMAN, OGILVY UK GROUP
- Blimey, when does Rory Sutherland get any work done? Not content with being one of adland's top bloggers, the Ogilvy UK Group vice-chairman has what must be adland's most "pimped" Facebook page.
Vital stats: 348 friends 55 groups
- A quick inventory of Sutherland's site reveals the Skype Me, Scrabble and Books applications; a selection of his favourite RSS feeds (including the fascinating-sounding This is Kent - The Sevenoaks Chronicle); a map of all the cities he has visited; and a series of polls in which the vice-chairman asks friends to comment on the important topics of the day ("Are The Beatles hideously overrated?" seems to have generated the most interest).
- The granddaddy of the social network isn't deskbound, either - his mobile uploads are legion, including a photo in which he and his daughter are commanding a mechanical digger, and a charming, pastoral shot of grazing sheep sent to the site at 5.31am from his mobile phone. Now that's dedication for you.
- Key friends
Tess Alps, Steve Stretton, Richard Huntington, Matthew D'Ancona
- Key groups
"Civic rebellion against shitty weather", "Stop calling me a consumer ... " and "The Milton Society"
MARK CRIDGE - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, GLUE
- As is perhaps befitting of a man whose head is plunged deep into the digital world, the chief executive of Glue, Mark Cridge, is a moderate-to-heavy Facebook user, although not quite so passionate about the site that he doesn't occasionally wander round the agency offices admonishing staff for their overuse.
Vital Stats: 156 friends 14 groups
- Cridge's site is light on wall posts, but heavy on music - he's added the Last.fm and iLike applications, and has posted links to the "math-rock" band du jour Battles, and the classic new wave outfit Talking Heads.
- So, is Facebook a fad or the future? "These sites are incredibly influential and the type of behaviour people demonstrate on them is going to be very widespread," Cridge says. "Whether it will be Facebook or something else this time next year is debatable, though." He does admit, however, that it's hard keeping up the level of involvement that the site has enjoyed so far.
- Key friends
Russell Davies, Rory Sutherland, Freddie Laker, David Muir
- Key groups
"The only St Mirren fan in London" and "Virgin Trains are ace, everything else is shit"
TESS ALPS - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, THINKBOX
- At the time of going to press, Tess Alps' status read "back up to speed". Presumably, a reference to her friend-gathering capability. Since she joined just over a month ago, she's nabbed 131 online mates, averaging around five a day - a rate that slipped mid-month, but is back on target now thanks to some frenzied online networking.
Vital Stats: 133 friends 13 groups
- Alps is one of Facebook's sharers - there's a wealth of personal information, from religion (ex-Catholic atheist who likes singing choral evensong), through favourite music (the classics - Beethoven, Handel, Mahler and Shostakovich, among others) to interesting snippets such as the fact she likes "trampolining as long as my feet remain in touch with the canvas" and "podding broad beans". The hours must speed by in the Alps house.
She's is also a member of a fair few groups, although why she joined the popular "People who always have to spell their names for other people" group is a bit of a mystery. Just how hard is Alps to spell?
She has both quality and quantity, and is arguably the best-connected of all the Facebookers profiled here. The Guardian Unlimited editor-in-chief, Emily Bell, with whom Alps is engaged in her first game of online Scrabble; Martha Lane Fox; and Matthew Freud, are a prominent trio.
- Key groups
"Misleading Facebook photos", "Guardian readers" and "Ad farts: Old gits in ad agencies"
RUSSELL DAVIES - OPEN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
- Considering Russell Davies is advertising's most prolific blogger, his Facebook site is light on text. Rather, he uses it to agglomerate all that is going on in the legion of other websites and blogs he maintains with an almost neurotic precision. There are links to his blogs and his photos, and a twitter status update keeps those interested in the minutiae of the Davies existence.
Vital Stats: 191 friends 3 groups
- If the lack of posts on his wall are anything to go by, Davies' listed friends, of which there are 191, lean towards acquaintances. Some are fellow members of the planner "blogosphere", as Davies and his friends have styled the online community of strategists. Others are clearly drawn to him for his free advice, such as "what books should a would-be planner read?" (Davies' answer: Eating The Big Fish by Adam Morgan, and Truth, Lies and Advertising by Jon Steel). It feels, like his legendary coffee mornings, more like a meeting place for like-minded individuals than the homepage of one particular individual.
There are personal touches, though. As visitors to Davies' many websites will know, he's a keen amateur photographer. Most of the applications he's customised his page with are image-based - a link to his bulging Flickr account, and the Radar application, which allows users to share pictures taken with mobile phone cameras.
- Key Groups
"Interesting 2007", "People using freeyourid.com" and "Plannersphere on Facebook"
NICOLA MENDELSOHN - DEPUTY CHAIRMAN, GREY LONDON
- Grey's deputy chairman Nicola Mendelsohn has become something of a manic collector of Facebook friends. So much so that her count went from 0 to 60 faster than Lewis Hamilton. After just three weeks of frantic internet social networking, she's racked up 148 and counting.
Vital Stats: 148 friends 4groups
- Mendelsohn is taking full advantage of this networking Mecca. She has added the top friends, favourite peeps and friend wheel applications. She even managed to clock up nine friends in one day, and, unless we're mistaken, her friend-adding frenzies have started as early as 5.30am.
Her "friends" list reads like a who's who in advertising and media, with Nicholas Coleridge, the managing director of Conde Nast, Joe Elvin, the editor of Glamour magazine, Richard Exon,the chief executive at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, the Thinkbox chief executive, Tess Alps, and agency founder MT Rainey all showing up.
It's not just industry-types that feature on her list. Apparently, the networking obsessive is also mates with the MP David Miliband, the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and the BBC's Andrew Neil, who also features in her top friends. In response to this, one rather sarcastic friend has posted on her wall: "Andrew Neil? Yeah, you and him go way back." Ouch.
- Key groups
"We love Lucky Voice", "Stop George Galloway's anti-Israel talk show" and "Manchester High girls are simply amazing"
TOM VICK - DIRECTOR, FREUD COMMUNICATIONS
- The Facebook-savvy Freud Communications director Tom Vick is keen to demonstrate to his 84 friends just how erudite, well-read and musically literate he is.
Vital Stats: 84 friends 2 groups
- Vick has added applications that showcase all the books he's read, as well as visual CD magazine racks. All of which makes Vick's profile pretty revealing. He's clearly a bit of a wine connoisseur. Not only does his favourite quote read: "Life's too short to drink bad wine", but also his book collection includes Biodynamic Wines. Additionally, he is a subscriber to Decanter, Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate magazines.
Vick isn't afraid to declare his eclectic taste in music either, with his visual CD rack containing anything from Dodgy to Kraftwerk to Primal Scream.
The wine obsessive, who has a penchant for Gunter Grass novels and early electronica, lists his other interests as graphic design, furniture design, vintage posters and bullfighting. He also wears his heart on his sleeve, revealing his support for Forest Green Rovers FC with the footie fans application.
His wall plays host to a friendly catch-up with Mother's creative director Damon Collins, who's clearly been trying to get a date in the diary with Vick. Collins posts: "It's been on my list of things to do for two years."
- Key Groups
"Ad Farts: Old gits in ad agencies" and "Forest Green Rovers appreciation society"
DAMON COLLINS - CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MOTHER
- Well, isn't Damon Collins well-travelled and proud of it? Using the cities I've visited application, Mother's creative director and intrepid explorer reveals he has visited no fewer than 136 cities in 28 countries, including Ecuador, Zimbabwe, the Maldives and Iceland. Let's just hope these were all business trips, otherwise Mother may need to seriously rethink its holiday allowance scheme.
Vital Stats: 156 friends 13 groups
- Collins is also keen to keep his mates regularly informed about his status, which he changes daily. Recently, he has been: "shooting 'til 6am", "in", "out" and "tired". Either this is the life of a busy creative director, or perhaps that of a sexually confused gun enthusiast.
Collins is also pretty prolific when it comes to adding friends. He's barely been on the site for a month, but he's already managed to get 156 friends under his belt.
Collins also lists a diverse range of hobbies on his page, which include scuba diving, karate and playing the drums. He also shows off his softer side, listing his three children under his interests section.
- Key groups
"John Smeaton appreciation society", "Lowe alumni" and "Gold Greenless Trott, man ... I was there"
RICHARD MORRIS - EUROPEAN REGIONAL DIRECTOR, DDB LONDON
- DDB's European regional director is Facebook-application crazy. He's been flinging food at friends with Food Fight, informing them of his jet-set lifestyle with cities I've visited and doodling with Graffiti. In a recent Graffiti scribbling, he asks: "Does learning about Facebook applications count as work?" Well, he clearly thinks it does.
Vital Stats: 56 friends 4 groups
- Morris is most definitely getting into this social networking thing. His first wall post reveals: "Blog AND social networking - two digital breakthroughs in one day Mr Morris!" And it doesn't look like his enthusiasm for this social networking hub has waned in any way.
He has also joined up to one of adland's favourite groups, Don't tell my mum I'm in advertising, she thinks I play piano in a brothel, where's he's in the company of 2,247 other advertising types.
Using Facebook to air personal vendettas also seems to be the flavour of Morris' page. He uses the Facebook application My Questions to ask his friends what he should do to his former colleague Richard Bookey, and offers the choice of the stocks or water torture.
Morris is even using the Facebook site to profess his addiction to a well-known magazine. His recent status update read: "Morris is wondering where Campaign is."
- Key groups
"Don't tell my mum I'm in advertising, she thinks I play piano in a brothel"and "No, I'm not jealous, but really what is the point in Cannes?"
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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