Facebook is Changing the Rules ... Live With It or Leave

Two dramas are unfolding with Facebook that I think are fascinating to watch (both from a consumer and business point-of-view).

1st Drama: Facebook changed their privacy policy, again

Users, mostly professional social media types, are analyzing Facebook’s privacy-compromising moves, as well as Facebook exec Zuckerberg’s responses to a huge flurry of criticism. Online, bloggers are ranting over the lack of consideration and concern for the Facebook community.

As I follow the conversation, and listen to the Facebook privacy foibles on NPR, I am torn.

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I think they know that when it comes right down to it, the social media professionals may be watching, but the masses are not. I think about the people I “know” on Facebook.

For example, the middle-aged woman who posted her own glamour shots of herself half naked to her profile. Or the business exec who added links to his personal account at Flickr and showed the world his own kids’ birthday party photos. Theses two examples clearly demonstrate that these individuals really are not concerned with their own privacy.

Privacy is not an issue for most Facebook users. Most of them don’t even know what they agreed to when they signed up. How many people really READ all that stuff before they click “agree”?


2nd Drama: It’s Free … you are not entitled to any say

As a business person, I know that customer service is the cornerstone of any company. Questions and concerns should be addressed. Clients should be made happy.

But here’s the thing: Facebook is free. Remember, all of social media is free.

By creating a social media account, I am tempted to feel that there is an agreement that I will be respected and provided the agreed upon service. This is because I expect the same from a fee-for-product relationship. Wrong. Social media is a different animal. It often defies measurement, operates with a fluid game plan, and makes up the rules as it goes. Users have to remember that what they are getting, they are getting for free. The execs at Facebook must keep an eye on profitability. It would be nice if they remembered their users, but do they have to?

Yesterday, Facebook canceled the landing page functionality for business and brand fan pages with less than 10,000 fans. The work-around is purchasing Facebook advertising that clicks through to a “welcome” tab on a fan page. No advertising & no huge fan base = no landing tab privilege.

How ridiculous is this? A grassroots movement (on Facebook) for a mass exodus of Facebook users, “Quit Facebook Day” has 4600 Facebook fans.

Facebook has 400 million – MILLION – users.

So go ahead and leave. Or stay.

Just remember it’s free. Use it to your advantage. Promote your business however you can. Protect your own privacy.

Take social media for what it is, that’s my advice. What’s yours?

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