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16 Tips for an Explosive Facebook Letterbomb

We’re this close to renaming October “Letterbombtober” due to this month’s emergence of, you know, Facebook Letterbombing (FBLB). But any month is good for letterbombing, really. The Facebook vandals among you planning an FBLB strike should read this article carefully for the many tips and tricks shared by the original Facebook Letter Bomb Squad!

Creators of "Facebook Letterbombing": Jeff Greenspan, Chris Baker and Danny Adrain.

Earlier this week, we sat down in New York with Jeff Greenspan, Chris Baker and Danny Adrain, who all work at BBDO but ─for the record─ developed the letterbombing concept “outside” of the renowned advertising agency. The background story goes that Jeff Greenspan, no stranger to thought-provoking operations, wanted to use the Facebook profile picture as something people hadn’t yet used it for: a collaborative game piece. Dubbed “Spell it out”, a game concept of people spelling out a brand’s tagline in return for prizes was pitched to an interested client, but it didn’t go anywhere and stalled. Later, when Jeff was about to execute the idea on his personal profile page and invite friends to spell out stuff, colleague Chris Baker stepped up and suggested to bomb an unsuspecting person’s profile instead. Thus, “Facebook Letterbombing” as we know it was born.

Not wanting their brainchild to be associated with advertising, let alone resemble an ad, the decision was made to go after a public figure and post an amusing message on their Wall. Right wing talk-show host, Glenn Beck, was chosen as the first bombing target, and Stephen Colbert’s rallying cry “Keep fear alive” would soon become the first Facebook letterbomb note. Danny Adrain, art director at BBDO, then designed not only the set of letters ─using a font and colors that blend well with Facebook─ but he built the entire letterbombing.com website. Danny also introduced the idea of making it more like a party where a bunch of people would meet offline and drop the bomb in a synchronized manner, all while having a good time. The “making of” videos by both these guys (watch it below) and Studio Brussel show that it can be a lot of fun indeed.

Now that you’re psyched about this, we bet you want to know how to drop the perfect Facebook Letterbomb and avoid any likely fails? Here are 16 tips we compiled with the help of the inventors of this “subversive way to deliver a message anywhere on Facebook.

Assigning a Lead Bomber

  • In every FBLB mission, there will always be someone who takes the initiative and reaches out (and yes, that’ll be you). But for a high visibility target, you really need a lead bomber who gets everyone together and gets them to post their comments simultaneously, while constantly keeping an eye on the victim’s profile page.

Gathering your Bomb Squad

  • In most cases you can just send messages out to your most active and closest Facebook friends, asking them to join your wacky project.
  • If you’re targeting a slow Facebook Page with little traffic, you can just go ahead and post the first letter ─which is actually the last letter of your bomb message─ and invite subsequential commenters to build upon that. By following this technique, you could end up with quite a different message than originally intended, but that’s part of the fun!
  • As a third option, you can ask people who have already posted a comment to join the letter bomb by retroactively changing their profile pictures to a letter assigned by you. And if somebody doesn’t want to participate, kindly ask them to remove (and optionally repost) their comment. A retroactive letterbomb should be feasible in event of a friend’s birthday, because lots of birthday wishes are usually on the celebrant’s Wall already. That’s an opportunity for you to get in touch with these friends and ask them to change their profile pictures accordingly. Chances are high that they’re willing to put in the extra effort and temporarily change their profile pictures to be part of the collaborative “Happy Birthday” message.

Choosing the Content of your Comments

  • Try to keep the comments short in order to minimize the spacing between the vertically aligned profile pictures.
  • Make your comments stand out too by posting related, famous quotes or maybe a song’s lyrics, like the Studio Brussel Letterbomb. Or what about the always striking flipped text?

Timing your Bomb

  • If you’re bombing a public figure, Chris advises to attack “when they’re not on TV” for the least chance of interfence. The best time for the Sarah Palin letterbomb turned out to be 1:00 am Eastern Standard Time.
  • Chris also shared the following technique that allows you to continously refresh a Page’s Wall in order to detect interlopers. Click the “Just Others” option right above the Wall, followed by repeated clicks on the “[Page Name] + Others” option. This should display the most recent comments from the top down.
  • On extremely popular Facebook Pages where comments are posted so frequently it looks like a chat room ─yes, we’re looking at you, Justin Bieber─ you can decide to bomb an update’s comments thread instead of their bare Wall. As a bonus, this increases the odds of your letterbomb showing up in the News Feeds of those who “Like” the Page.

Changing your Profile Picture

  • According to Jeff’s experiments, a letter bomb is easier to read when the letters look consistent (you can download a basic letter set for free from their site), but you can go as crazy as you want with different typefaces and colors.
  • Don’t forget about inserting spaces!
  • Don’t change your profile picture until all comments are posted to avoid admins deleting them on the go. This also maximizes the trojan horse effect!

Avoiding Network Issues

  • If you’re using Apple’s AirPort and your letter bomb requires more than 10 computers connected to your WiFi, then the AirPort Express is not going to cut it. Instead, make sure you have an AirPort Extreme Base Station which allows up to 50 clients on your network. Or head to the nearest Starbucks.

Increasing Visibility

  • “Like” all your team’s comments and tell them to do the same for maximum impact. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm always works in favor of popular posts. This is a must-do if you hijacked a Page update’s comments thread.
  • Explain on your own profile why you are, for example, a Z today. You might as well recruit new bombers for your next mission along the way.
  • And if people criticize your bomb in follow-up comments, why not suggest that instead of complaining they can counter your attack with another letterbomb?

Please share your own letterbomb ideas and experiences in our comments. We love to hear them!

To conclude, here are some recent Facebook Letterbomb sightings:

And just to inspire you Jeff, Danny and Chris would LOVE to see the first letterbomb wedding proposal… Anyone?

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16 Tips for an Explosive Facebook Letterbomb Posted by on October 29, 2010 at 6:10 AM. Use this trackback if you're linking this story.

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