Oh to be a fly on the wall inside the minds of just a fraction of the 400mm users of Facebook as they troll profiles of friends, family members and complete strangers. Most people in my business — marketing, communications, social media and social engagement — know all about the impressive statistics and huge ‘potential’ for advertisers and marketers:

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 60 million status updates posted each day
  • More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month
  • More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans

But here’s the story no one’s talking about – The Vanilla Porn Facebook story. What is Vanilla Porn? It’s a socially acceptable form of inappropriate behavior. In other words, fantasy.

Based on myriad conversations I’ve had with friends, colleagues, associates in the social media space, etc. There’s a ton of fantasizing happening on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of it is naughty fantasy. Some of it is quite innocent. For example, looking at pics of childhood sweethearts and remembering a first kiss. Tender, sweet, memorable. This memory conjures up scents of teenage perfume from the past and lip gloss so thick you can cut it with a knife. But the deep, dark underbelly of Facebook is the extreme voyeurism that occurs on a daily basis.

With more than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month, Facebook is the dominant online photo sharing site. Note, I didn’t say video. I said photography.

The reason this is significant is because photography plays a trick on the brain. Photographs freeze people in a moment and time. You don’t hear them saying stupid things, frothing at the mouth or acting like a douche. You see subjects exactly they way they want you to see them — sexy, silly, irreverent, happy, angry, sultry, mischievous, moody, sly, sweet, kinky, kooky, funny, surprising, what have you.

As a result, people spend countless hours fantasizing about people who don’t exist. Well, the persona they’ve created in the world of social media exists but that’s not really them.

The real person is quite different — harried, annoying, fun, exciting, stressed, bewildered, sad, happy — a lot like you.

But you’ll never know that cause you’re stuck in the world of Vanilla Porn.

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