What I’ve Learned About Facebook

facebooked_momI resisted. I was one of those who just “didn’t get it” for the longest time. I signed up for Facebook a few years ago, made a few friends and nothing magical happened. So I temporarily deactivated my account, which just hides it, and forgot about it.

Then, about a year ago, in light of all the hype and the fact that I had clients I was helping build pages for, I decided I needed to reactivate my Facebook and jump in head first — be a Facebook junkie and learn all I could. This post is about some of the lessons I’ve learned.

  • Number One: Facebook really doesn’t care one bit about your privacy. As a Twitter post that I recently read by greenbes says:

    “You are not Facebook’s customer. You are the product that they sell to their real customers – advertisers. Forget this at your peril.”

    Facebook’s (lack of) privacy practices have been getting worse over the last several months too. Here are a few detailed posts about Facebook’s privacy practices that are worth reading:
    Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook
    Facebook’s Anti-Privacy Monopoly

  • Some people really are interesting. I did reconnect with a few old friends and acquaintances that I really do enjoy following and keeping up with. They are pretty candid and tend to be positive people. They are also genuinely interested in others and comment frequently.
  • Most people aren’t that active outside of farm games and mafia wars. A random sample of my “friends” shows an average last post of just under 30 days ago. So, the average user posts about once a month in my circle.
  • Toxic people are toxic in the virtual world just as they are in the real world.
  • You CAN be hacked. My wife’s Facebook was recently hacked and messages were sent to her friends asking for money because we were “robbed at gun point, in London, and needed to get back to the states.” It’s important to note that my wife is pretty sharp and I highly doubt she fell for any phishing attempts. Her account was broken into some other way and the person used personal names and data to make the request sound authentic. FB quickly suspended her account and she hasn’t really made an effort to get it back (I don’t blame her).
  • Your photos aren’t private by default. Hopefully you’ve figured this out by now, and not the hard way.
  • Some people (and companies) still don’t get it. One high school acquaintance of mine posts nothing but cheesy motivational quotes and messages on his profile. ugh. When you look at his profile info he is trying to promote some MLM thing he’s in to…
  • There is no such thing as customer service at Facebook. If you ever have a question or problem, whether as an individual or as a company, don’t count on getting any real help. The best I’ve ever gotten was a email directing me to an FAQ that was irrelevant to the question I was asking.
  • Facebook games are lame and annoy your friends.
  • The quality of advertising is slowly getting better. But click through rates for advertisers are pretty dismal. From an advertiser’s perspective the jury is still out, I believe, on using Facebook to generate meaningful sales/revenue. Read the Purpose Inc. blog for some great information on using Facebook for advertising – if anyone can make it work it’s DK.
  • There is a reason why you lost touch with some people. Reconnecting isn’t always a good thing.
  • Some people take it WAY too seriously. More on that in a minute.

So, where am I at today? Well, in light of Facebook’s privacy FAIL, I’ve decided to delete almost all of my personal data (although my understanding is that it’s never really deleted!) and scale way back on my FB consumption. I don’t post anything that I wouldn’t post on a public blog and I basically ignore any new friend requests. I do use my login to mange some company pages, so I’ll leave my account active for the time being I suppose.

I’ve also deleted about half of my friends. I’ve kept mostly close friends, some business associates and people that use Facebook as a primary means of (real)communication with me.

However, this did not sit well with one of my “friends” who is also be a relative of mine. After realizing that I had de-freinded her, she sent me the most hateful message I have ever received, from anyone, about anything. Without posting the message here, I’ll tell you that, among other things, she said that she feels bad for my 5-month old son and “hopes he doesn’t grow up to be like me.” That’s right. This person, who I’ve talked to maybe twice in five years, hopes that my son doesn’t grow up to be like me for no other reason than the fact that I de-friended her on Facebook. Talk about taking Facebook too seriously!

What else have you learned about Facebook? Positive or negative…

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Comments

  1. Wow.. just wow. Someone needs to seek a little bit of counseling if losing a friend on Facebook means that much to them.

    Personally – I also use Facebook very limited now. It was the “hot ticket” for me about 6 years ago. Now I think all I care about are the annual messages from the commish of the fantasy baseball league rallying the guys and sending out registration info.

    Professionally – I think Facebook has it’s advantages for businesses, some businesses but not all businesses.

  2. You are right on. i mean, I can’t believe that facebook doesn’t care about our privacy. I mean I can’t believe that we trusted this huge multi-billion dollar corporation that we never knew before and is providing us with a hugely powerful networking site (all for free by the way). I mean, they should be much more sensitive in the case that I want to post something on the internet and have no one find it. I mean come on

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