Facebook’s Future

One thing about the news media is for sure – they can jump on a topic du jour faster than a speeding bullet train!  Most of the time this is stuff that’s rather foolish like fads that are specific to certain colors that you must have or else you’re terminally out of style.  And that’s obviously not true nor will it ever be.  But there are some things to watch, and one of them is Facebook.

I don’t think any of us would imagine that Facebook would become so integrated into our lives.  It’s almost as if Zuckerberg was programming us with a subliminal message!

Irritating isn’t it?!

 

So here we are in the middle of this terrible dilemma with Facebook.  There are companies and whole sub-markets that have evolved around this social medium and they are at a real loss right now.  How do they extricate themselves from what could possibly be not only a PR nightmare but the tanking of this social media giant?  Of course, there are other places like Twitter, Tumbler, Periscope, YouTube and personal blogs.  And as much as we users complain about the collection of individual information, it is actually that individual information that makes Facebook so much more appealing addictive than other social media sites.  It also makes Facebook more appealing to spammers who are out there mining for information to sell to whomever.  And if these giants in industry are having a tough time, what about the wee little bloggers out there simply wanting to appeal to a specific market?  What about the little start-ups who are looking to provide an actual service or product and want to get the word out?

 

Then, does this beg the question that Facebook or some alternative to it has to become a public utility?  Wow, that really gets scary, doesn’t it!  Does the clammer become so deafening that politicians must react by regulating Facebook?  Zuckerberg has more or less acquiesced to this and at some level might even welcome it.    But once regulation like this starts, it’s really hard to back away from it or even stop the encroaching nature of government regulation.

That leaves the small businessman or businesswoman really out in left field.  While the large giants in business can afford to lobby and get what they want, it’s almost a guarantee that small businesses won’t get what they want, or even need to have a useful entity by which to evolve their businesses or even thrive.  This leaves a huge vacuum that will need to be filled and it’s sure that someone or something will fill it.

For me, I’m going through a lot lately with Facebook that has questioned whether it’s really that useful for me:

  1.  I had a simple post complimenting a public figure however the link that appeared on my Facebook page flamed up in a matter of hours.  Unfortunately, there was little way of controlling this other than deleting the post entirely.  Facebook doesn’t seem to handle conflict nor controversy very well (i. e. look at the dilemma Facebook is in today.)
  2. Even though my personal account is personal, it is the one I use most for business.  I put my name on it, because I stand behind what I teach, and inspire.  But that does leave me somewhat exposed to an element that I really don’t want to be exposed to.  Example:  usually 3 or 4 times a week I get friend requests that are not even close to anyone wanting to learn to sew or be my name.  They are most often in the military or military contractors, usually with a kid in the profile picture (or flowers) and really want to get connected with me — they are obvious scams, but there is no way to prevent them from the intrusiveness of these constant scams – even when I used to report them constantly, they are like the Eveready bunny and keep going and going….it’s like my name has been sold on some nefarious list that I’m looking for someone to connect with – I mean “in a relationship” isn’t a hint?!
  3. The idea that there are some advertisers on Facebook who are there only to mine information – not to provide a service or even bring a little puzzle or break to your day – they are subversively trying to find out more info about you so they can sell it to others.  This is most disturbing for me, cause you almost have to be an expert to spot the ads that are the culprits.  Most often it’s those ads that “Answer 5 questions and we’ll tell you what state you’re from, and share it on Facebook and tell all your friends!”  Whew!  There’s so much wrong with this I can’t count the ways unless you’re an unscrupulous miner, and there’s a wealth of information and money to be swindled!  Facebook does little or nothing to discourage these types of advertisers, and in some cases promotes their service to them.  I mean, we have to be inundated with scammers on our timeline, because why?!

So here I am.  I love that Facebook connects with a lot of my friends and love that my followers can get snippets and sometimes more from me about sewing and my love of sewing.  I love that I can hear back from my connections on FB and have connected with old pals from school that I will treasure forever.  Not only that but family members and other friends have remarked the same thing benefits.  As well, I have gotten to know people I would have never had the chance of knowing, either for geographical or other separations, that I treasure equally.

So I have to ask myself, is the intrusion into my personal information (and here, I must confess that I’m very interesting – that is if you want to know about sewing, but alas if you are looking for double agents, secret liaisons or subversive and subliminal behavior, I’m afraid I’m not your gal), worth the friends I have reacquainted myself with or the others that I have met, practically cold?  And will the future Facebook be something I want to be a part of – government controlled or otherwise controlled and monitored all the while collecting all sorts of private information?  I don’t really have anything to hide (OK, I did take a package of Red Hots from the 15th Street Candy store when I was about 7) but I would like to have the choice whether I click on this or that link rather than having that link paraded before me like some street-walkin’ tart on a Saturday night.   I would like to think of myself as more than a robot!

If I do leave Facebook, then this blog becomes my biggest bully pulpit and I know I will lose a tremendous amount of visibility – not only with the followers I have now but future followers.  Frankly, it is quite easy to find me on Facebook, whereas other social media is at best clumsy but mostly simply inefficient.  Facebook has honed and fine-tuned the art of targeting my posts and me to the exact audience that wants to see and read information from me, which is its greatest asset and its greatest liability.

There has to be a happy medium here, and believe I’m sure Zuckerberg is looking for it, between weeding out what we don’t want to see and being available for what we do want to see and using this information that acts as a sieve to be used against me for the purpose of the almighty buck!

My cousin and I taught a class called Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend almost 10 years ago, and recently there has been a revised version released and Henry Cloud released courses in boundaries every so often.  It’s really been interesting for us because more than anything else we realize that we’ve got much better at our own boundaries (about letting good people in and keeping bad people out of our lives).  Taking that initial course did pretty well for us.  But there are nuances to this.  After you hone this down to the big things, then you start working on the less big things and then the less big, big things to the point where when you are in your later decades of life that you can have a pretty good idea of what nonsense you will put up with and what nonsense you won’t!  I have to wonder if Zuckerberg and Facebook more specifically could use a great course in boundaries from Henry Cloud cause that’s what this is all about.

I’m all for Zuckerberg making money out of Facebook, but at the same time, it gets a little boring (and frankly irritating) to watch Zuckerberg milk his customers to the degree that he is getting the last dime out of this thing he invented.  Advertising is OK, but selling advertising to scammers without any sort of guidelines – and worse promoting it to scammers?  What sort of business is he running?  Simply one to make a lot of money and that’s it?  Unfortunately, this is the same path that many of the early industrialists took when they made their big money until anti-trust laws and unions were formed to help these industrialists figure out how to not only treat the workers well but to allow for the competition which helps keep a business healthy and working functionally.

I’m still mulling over what to do about Facebook.  Most likely what will happen is that I will not post original content anymore on Facebook, and only links to other sources of content.  In the meantime I will be watching what Facebook proports to do with all their information and how they will secure or not secure it.

  1. I share many of your thoughts. Blogging seemed to be getting less popular, but I think it should be revived. I am trying to switch my Facebook feeds to either blogs read on The Old Reader (RSS), or newsletters that come through email. I no longer do anything personal on Facebook. I think your plan to use Facebook to link to other info is good, too. Best of luck to you.

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