After all the time I’ve spent on Facebook and getting very little value from it, I decided it was time to pull the plug. Like many Facebook users, I’ve been whining and moaning about it for a considerable while but stuck with it because I had to have it.
Facebook is the heroin of social media. They start you with a small but effective dose, you get hooked on the rush from messages and “likes”, and you have to keep coming back for more. The next dose and every one after that aren’t as good – you have to work harder to get that rush and keep it going – but it doesn’t matter. You need it because you remember the way it made you feel at first. (Aah, those endorphins!) But, the hits become even more fleeting, so you spend even more of your precious time on it. Soon, you’re constantly feeding that craving.
So, what made me decide to quit Facebook? A lot of little things added up, until I reached my breaking point over the past weekend.
- I was actually losing interest in Facebook. The rush was hardly there at all. Meaningful, quality conversations were dropping off to almost nothing and commercial intrusions became ubiquitous. Sure, Facebook was co-opted by consumer companies almost from the start (I understand – the dealer’s got bills to pay, too) but you just couldn’t avoid or ignore them. The signal-to-noise ratio was down to virtually zero. Facebook isn’t so much social media as it is the world’s largest bazaar. True social interaction is drowned out by the noise of people and companies hawking their wares. I needed a break from 24-hour marketing ploys, and it became apparent that Facebook wasn’t about to give me a break.
- It takes any entity – individual, for-profit, not-for-profit, small business or large – a lot of time to maintain a presence on any social medium. Like anyone trying to get a business off the ground, I want to make the best use of my time and I don’t have the time (or funds) to spread myself across ALL social media like a large, public company does. If I can’t possibly be everywhere – and let’s face it, no one can – I want to spend time where I have the greatest likelihood of building an audience. Again, I don’t think Facebook’s that place.
- Facebook is a waste of time for B2Bs. Oh, someone in B2B will doubtlessly raise their voice, claiming that they’re getting positive results from their Facebook page and I suppose it’s possible (in their minds) that they are. I’d like to see what they’re measuring, though, and know if they’re the right measures of success in their case. Facebook is still predominantly a people-to-people forum and for individuals who want to work on their business, LinkedIn is a more appropriate forum, in my estimation.
- I haven’t gotten any return on investment from Facebook, either in the short term or the long term. Larger, more well-established companies than mine will demand to see a positive ROI for their money and efforts. Why should I be any different?
- So many warnings have come to the fore – mainly from outside – about Facebook privacy and security issues. When it comes to security and privacy, I tend to err on the side of paranoia. I can’t be as open as they demand I be. I won’t trust completely because there are way too many bad guys out there. What bothers me more than the presence of predatory creatures on the Internet, though, is the enormous population of “it can’t/won’t happen to me” types. I know firsthand that “it can, and it does”.
- It’s been apparent for some time that the Facebook kingdom isn’t paying attention to the voice of the customer. They’ve grown so large in such a brief time that they couldn’t possibly have been keeping track of everyone’s requirements and preferences if they wanted to. They could easily gauge the typical customer’s feelings with the appropriate statistical techniques (like the ones I’m learning in the Six Sigma Black Belt course I’m now taking. They aren’t, because they don’t have to. They’ve already got us hooked, remember? We often say we don’t like the changes Facebook is making, usually without our input, but what do our actions say?
- The last straw: the Facebook Timeline. I read Facebook’s description of this new “service” and all kinds of alarms went off in my head. Not only does Facebook have a habit of unloosing untested, flawed code (look how long it took for users to find flaws in Timeline). Because of the sheer size of their user base, millions of users’ private data are unknowingly, irretrievably exposed in an instant. Facebook is not even taking the most basic precautions to safeguard our information. Why not? The answer may be in the way they make your information their information.
So, to the few followers I had on Facebook – sorry, but you’re going to have to find another way to communicate with me. And to Facebook – you won’t miss me for the 800 million other junkies you still have. If I feel I’m jonesing for more Facebook, I’ll see a therapist (or score the social media equivalent of methadone).
What about you? Do you want to quit Facebook but can’t? Do you think it’s the best thing to happen to social media? Or, are you somewhere in the middle?
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- Short, Adrian, “Why Facebook’s New Open Graph Makes Us All Part of the Web Underclass”, The Guardian, 27 Sept 2011 – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/sep/27/facebook-open-graph-web-underclass.
- Fox, Zoe, “Facebook Forms a Social Network PAC”, Mashable, 26 Sept 2011 – http://mashable.com/2011/09/26/facebook-forms-a-social-network-pac.
- Warren, Christina, “No, You Aren’t Going to Quit Facebook”, 27 Sept 2011 – http://mashable.com/2011/09/27/you-wont-quit-facebook/.
- Cashmore, Pete, “Facebook Users, Beware: Facebook’s New Feature Could Embarrass You”, 28 Sept 2011 – http://mashable.com/2011/09/28/new-facebook-feature/.