I have several friends who don’t call each other anymore. They haven’t lost touch; they just never speak to each other on the phone. If a few of them want to go out, they put a note on their facebook walls that they are hitting the town, and the others catch wind via the social networking site and meet up or don’t. It’s as simple and lethargic as that.

Facebook hit wide when I was in college, and it was as fantastic as everyone would later remember it to be – especially if you needed contact information for a ton of freshman co-eds so you could toss them in the back of a U-haul truck to take them to a party.

But now I find myself sounding more and more like my grandfather, because while facebook was great at augmenting social events, it’s grown to become the sole engine that powers them. I’m not sure yet that that’s a good thing.

Disney does.

I caught wind of a new ticket strategy that Disney is using through facebook over at Cinematical (the article is in the New York Times). Essentially, you can buy tickets for Toy Story 3 on facebook, and a convenient box pops up to allow you to invite friends of yours that you want along for the ride. Or people you want to tell that you’re going.

That’s right. Disney is using the Dating Website Strategy for their ticket sales.

What’s the dating website strategy? As some of you may know, dating websites all work on one principle – that you, the customer, drive their traffic. For free, you can do very little, so when you pay, you can send messages to everyone. But not everyone has a paid account, so when they get your message, it prods them to buy an account so they can read it.

Essentially, Disney is using a similar method to sell more tickets. Will it work? Probably. Will it be difficult to quantify since everyone on the planet is probably already planning on seeing Toy Story 3? Most definitely.

The question today is – if you got a facebook alert saying that one of your friends was planning on hitting up the midnight showing, would you:

  • Be happy facebook let you know so you can go too?
  • Feel strange that facebook invited you tacitly instead of your friend?
  • Do you think that after facebook invites you and you have a good time, that he’ll call back to ask you out again?
  • I mean, he seemed like a great guy, and you were flirting a lot.
  • He’s gotta call back, right?
  • I bet he has mother issues.
  • Or would you feel like yet another useless thing is cluttering up your facebook experience?

Disney is most likely banking on this being a success so they can use it in the future. Fortunately, whenever anything even remotely works in Hollywood, everyone follows suit, so be on the look out for all major releases using the website to get your friends to poke you into buying more movies.

When do you, don’t forget to poke us. We promise to invite you to all the movies we get tickets to. Even the ones your grandmother won’t approve of.

We know. She hates Katherine Heigl romantic comedies.


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