So Just What *Is* It about Facebook?

Another day, another Social Media Surgery.

Leeds Social Media Surgery - January 2011

And, once again, that sinking feeling when someone asks about help with Facebook. Now, I know, Facebook is by far the most popular social networking platform out there, and I’d be very surprised if there was ever a Social Media Surgery where at least one question about it wasn’t asked. So, why is that I don’t like it, and why do my views seem to be shared by nearly everyone I know who is serious about social media? And, when I say “serious” I mean who wants to use social media for socially progressive purposes.

I often tell people I don’t like Facebook, but I often find it hard to pinpoint just why. So, here are some reasons why I think Facebook makes me feel uneasy:

  • Privacy issues: Although it appears that Facebook is moving towards addressing some of the privacy concerns that people have about it, particularly in relation to young people, it is not there yet, and its historical reluctance on this front leaves a bad taste;
  • Stupid games: To be honest I haven’t seen any of the stupid Facebook games for ages, I seem to have been successful in blocking them from my stream. HOORAY!
  • Poking and throwing sheep; I just don’t get it.

Actually, those are the only tangible reasons I can think of at the moment. Are they enough? I suppose underlying all this is that I, and other social media surgeons, know that Facebook is, for the foreseeable future, going to be the social media channel with the greatest potential for reaching a wide audience, but, that reaching that audience involves side-stepping lots of trivial rubbish which clouds serious intent.

What are your reasons for hating Facebook, or should I just get over it?

Leeds Social Media Surgery - January 2011 #2

4 thoughts on “So Just What *Is* It about Facebook?

  1. I kind of agree with you John in that I don’t care about who’s playing Farmville or which nonsense groups my 15 year old cousin is joining but the reality is that there are over 350million people actively using it on a regular basis so if our aim is to reach people e.g. for a campaign then it’s one of the best places to do that. Orgs do need to think about how exactly they use FB to make themselves heard amongst the noise but that’s not to say they shouldn’t try.

  2. I don’t like it at all, but I see the need to be able to use it. I shove the odd photo on via instagram and that’s about it.
    If people want to know how to use it then I show them, and they get a lot of fun finding all their old friends and relatives. Can’t knock it if they enjoy it and it gets them engaged can we? I only use it through a made up name, only close friends know its me. I don’t trust it with my real name.
    I can feel your pain.

  3. I don’t get Facebook either. To be fair I probably haven’t given it enough of a chance, and this time last year I put Facebook and Twitter in the same pigeonhole of ‘why do people bother? I’m happy with emails thanks’. However I now think Twitter is one of the best things in the world, along with Community Development! I think for me Facebook feels like a big party where people are having conversations that aren’t particularly interesting to me, but you go along with it all to be polite, and more people keep arriving at the party and you feel obliged to talk to them too. Twitter feels like smaller groups of interesting and knowledgeable people having really interesting conversations that I have the privilege of joining. And yes, there’s still fluff, but usually it’s something that makes me laugh – an exclamation of a small triumph over adversity, or an expression of frustration about things which happen daily – which keeps my Twitter feed full of human emotion and real people who I feel I’m growing to know, rather than it being solely a stream of useful links. But if the useful links stopped arriving I think I’d retire from Twitter. I suppose for me Twitter is about learning and sharing on topics I’m interested in, I can’t figure out how Facebook facilitates that (but I’d listen if someone said it does).

  4. Hi John

    I think I understand where you are coming from and like you, I have managed to block the games on Facebook (well at least for now until Facebook change their settings AGAIN!).

    For me, Facebook is more about sharing info with family and close friends, although I have my learners as Facebook friends too. ‘Ouch’, I here you cry! But it’s OK, because I was given a small dose of inspiration, after carrying out the Facebook master class at Facebook’s UK offices in London. I decided to join my 2 Facebook accounts together into 1 and set the privacy settings “up to the hills”. So, I’ve grouped my Facebook friends into various categories – family, close friends, general friends, business associates, learners, work colleagues. The settings for each category are set accordingly. Anything work related is seen by ‘learners’ or ‘work colleagues’ and family photos seen only by ‘family’ and possibly ‘close friends’. Other than that, others just get to see a daily horoscope post. Boring really!

    I much prefer Twitter – It’s more intelligent. Facebook is getting dull, full of people moaning and groaning, playing stupid games (as they have nothing better to do with their time). What’s the twitter saying from some of our mutual followers “Facebook is for those you know but would rather not, whereas Twitter is for those you don’t know but would like to”

    OK, my grumble is over re: Facebook for personal use, however, Facebook pages for business are a good way of reaching audience, but then again so is twitter, except audience are more likely to be on Facebook……..FOR NOW!

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