If you have been living under a rock, you may have missed the memo that Facebook is rolling out new and improved Facebook Insight/analytics. They’re doing away with some of the old metrics, and adding some new (presumably helpful) ones. The official transition goes into effect on December 15. As I re-worked a metrics spreadsheet for a client yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of something we often talk about at Brains on Fire. Today seems like the perfect opportunity to pass it on.

The Embassy: Your Home Away from Home

Let’s take a mental vacation for a second. You’re finally taking the trip to Paris you always dreamed of. After a delicious French meal, you return to the hotel room to find your bags have been stolen. No more Euros. No more credit cards. No more passport. After battling the language barrier with a French police officer, you head to the American Embassy for help. Although you’re on foreign soil, as soon as you walk through the door, you’ve found your home away from home.

Embassies are an established presence where interactions, conversations and participation are facilitated by one or more ambassadors.

For this next part, let’s pretend you own a pixie dust store (aptly named The Pixie Dust Store), and your brand site lives at pixiedust.com.


Let’s talk home turf. Think of pixiedust.com as owned real estate. It belongs to you. You have control of the conversation. You decide when to blog or post a photo. You decide how posting a blog of photo will be done. You can change the site design. You make the rules. It’s a space The Pixie Dust Store controls.

Why are owned properties important?

  • Control: Owned properties provide a space for you can lead, prompt and create conversation


Now let’s talk about rented properties. You may not realize it, but if you’re social media savvy, you’re already renting all over the place. Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress and YouTube are all examples of rented properties. You can create “camps” (create accounts/profiles) in these rented properties, but you’re not in control of how they operate. Just like renting a house, if the landlord says you can’t paint the walls or have a dog – that’s how the cookie crumbles. The same thing goes for rented properties online. If Twitter says you have to convey your message in 140 characters, so be it. If Facebook changes their metrics, you don’t have a say in the matter. (You just accept it, rework your metrics spreadsheet and move on...)

Why are rented properties important?

  • Don’t get us wrong. Rented properties are great way to connect. Though you may not have all the control, they provide an opening in the conversation to reach out to people beyond your owned “home turf” and become a part of their existing conversations.

Back to the embassy metaphor!

Both owned and rented properties are valuable. Each one packs a unique set of benefits and challenges.

Your owned property (pixiedust.com) is America. It’s your home base. Your motherland.

Think of the footprints you create in rented spaces (like Facebook, Twitter) as your little embassies. Just like the American embassy in France, you may not make the law of the land, but in that little space, you can represent what you stand for. And you can become a welcoming space for others in that rented space to join you.