I’m committing a marketing faux pas. I have this website to promote my oceanside apartment here in the Acadia region of Maine, but I can’t bring myself to set up an active facebook page. Why am I such a fuddy-duddy? In a minute I’ll list the reasons. First, some history. When I first heard about facebook I set up a personal account. I had it up and running for a while, but people I knew started sending me requests for, I don’t know, virtual pets or some such nonsense. I ignored them and then felt bad, like I was letting them down. So I chose the easiest path and deleted the account, explaining to my friends via email that I didn’t have time for it. At that time, deleting was easy.
Later, my friend Captain Mike, who helped me set up this site 4 years ago, told me I had to have a facebook page for affordableacadia, so I could saturate cyberspace with links to this site. The goal was to get google to rank me higher on their search results, and that, apparently was the whole goal. He patiently explained that the content of this site was of secondary importance, and the more of certain keywords I used and links which led here were what I really needed. The goal of the higher search engine ranking was to attract guests to SeaCat’s Rest, not to mention increasing the value of this site, making people want to advertise on it. (I’m afraid I did not follow this advice very well!). I reluctantly set up the facebook site and had to use my name too, so I was sort of back where I started. I completely ignored the page, but people I don’t know started trying to “friend” me. Also, facebook kept sending emails saying I had to do something to satisfy my social network obligations. I blocked them. I can’t remember what pushed me to delete my account the second time, perhaps a news story about privacy or how they own your content, but this accounts for gripe number one:
- It’s very hard to delete your facebook account. Go ahead, try. If you can, please tell me how. The only thing I was able to do was to change my name. Yup, now yours truly has a completely bogus, made up facebook identity. The name I chose was goofy, but believable. I hope this isn’t illegal.
- facebook owns your content. All those pictures you post on your wall. Think they’re yours? Think again. Did you hear about the Canadian teen who committed suicide last April? Her facebook photo ended up in an ad on a dating site after she died.
- facebook makes people act weird. You already heard how I ignored people, but the fact is, people develop a sort of virtual chatterbox syndrome on facebook, inviting the ignoring.
- facebook uses your “likes” as advertising. Simple really, they keep track of which restaurants (or whatever) you like and sell that to advertisers who use it to tell your facebook friends. You become a spokesperson for your “likes”, like it or not. You can opt out if you don’t mind fine print.
- Your page is plastered with ads. Your face to the world is being used to advertise stuff you may not want associated with you. You’ll notice this site is no monument to corporate greed. If I ever accept advertising, it will be something I endorse.
- You are being watched. Your habits, words, topics, buying habits are being sold to advertisers. We all know this is the model into which the internet has evolved. It keeps the internet (and your facebook page) “free” so you don’t have to fork over $5.99/month for a webpage with your grandkids’ pictures. Even your free email account does this. So why expose more of your private life than you have to?
- Facial recognition is coming. At least wear sunglasses! Before long facebook plans to incorporate member photos into a database so that it can find you in other users’ photos. No doubt there is a way to make money with this. Creepy.
A relative of mine told me how he hires people. He looks them up on facebook. If he can’t find them he assumes either 1) they’re too old or 2) they’re running from the law or have something to hide. Maybe if enough of us say no to facebook (or convert our identities into bogus ones) we can give Marc a third conclusion, that some of us are too smart.
Besides the highlighted links to other articles, material for this post comes from here.