Thursday, October 10, 2013

Set Your Sights - A Novartis Facebook Connect App. Is It the First of Its Kind?

When Stacey Bernstein (@StaceyBernstein), Senior Vice President, Director of US Digital Health at Weber Shandwick, asked me for my thoughts on "Set Your Sights" -- the 1st FB connect app for Novartis -- I was a bit wary. First, I didn't quite understand what a "FB connect app" was. Did I have to download it to my iPhone or iPad? I've got enough apps on those devices that I've used only once and nevermore!

No, it's not a mobile app. According to Facebook (here) "Facebook Connect is the next iteration of Facebook Platform that allows users to "connect" their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site. This will now enable third party websites to implement and offer even more features of Facebook Platform off of Facebook – similar to features available to third party applications today on Facebook."

OK, something else I need to learn more about. Related to that was this message on the "Set Your Sights" page: "In order to participate, you must grant this page access to some of your personal Facebook information (including information about your friends or family which is accessible from your personal Facebook information). At no point in time will any of your data be shared or stored and it will be deleted immediately after shown."

Oh, Oh! Granting access to my personal FB data to Novartis or any other drug company gives me pause, which I explained to Stacey: "Giving permission to access my friends & family on FB stops me from exploring this. Why is this necessary?"

Stacey explained that "Set Your Sights" is "an interactive video that pulls in your photos to show what your life would be like with eye disease. No info stored, deleted after video ends. Agree it's a barrier, but needed to personalize for each user..." [See UPDATE at end of this post.]

Now I understood what Novartis meant when it said: "The Sight Experience is a personalized video experience, meant to help you see inside the impact of vision loss and related eye disease or conditions through the lens of your own photos and memories."

So, I decided to take one for the team and pressed the permission button for access to my FB account.

The resulting video included what I assumed were randomly-selected photos from my Facebook photo albums. These were incorporated into framed photos on wall, mantle pieces, etc. One segment showed my photos on a refrigerator door:

Each one of those photos had something to do with food! Does this app have some kind of image analysis software to enable it to select the appropriate photos to insert? Wow, "pretty cool" was what I said to Stacey, who burst my balloon by revealing that it was just a lucky coincidence: "haha wish i could say that's planned, but go with luck on that one :)"

The point of the app, however, is to show how some of your photos might look to someone with vision problems and to inform you that 80% of blindness is avoidable. Of course, the objective is also to get people to "like" the app and share it with Facebook friends. OK, I'll do that. Why not?

UPDATE: It seems that Stacey took my privacy concerns seriously and made some changes. The site (here) is now updated to specifically ease such concerns with this statement: "Don’t worry! At no point in time will Novartis have access to any of your Facebook data. Your data is only displayed in your browser when you are watching the video, never stored."

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