A new link option between Amazon and Facebook reflects a newer area of social media communication with traditional roots. The article “An Amazon-Facebook Alliance to Make Shopping More Social” by Claire Cain Miller, as seen in the Bits blog of the New York Times, discusses what this new alliance has in store. When users connect their Facebook profile to Amazon they see their profile picture on Amazon’s site. Additionally, they also see which of their Facebook friends have upcoming birthdays and can receive gift suggestions based on those friends’ books, movies, tv shows, etc. they claim to like on their Facebook profiles and Amazon wish lists. Then, based on what their friends like, they can also view recommendations for things to buy themselves. Shopping activity on Amazon is not shared with Facebook.
This is a very interesting development with roots in word of mouth communication. Whether compensated or not, word of mouth has always been a powerful drive of sales. This traditional method gets a reinvention here by connecting friends who would shop together or communicate about purchases offline in an online world. Perhaps the only thing that is missing is an integrated IM chat service so they can shop online at Amazon together in real-time and trade likes and dislikes. Also, what about Twitter? Why not partner with Twitter and have real-time scrolling of their friends’ comments on product purchases at their disposal? There are definitely more possibilities with this and I am interested to see where they take it from here.