An Example of Why You Can’t Yield to Facebook

July 12, 2011By

HandcuffsThis morning I had another Facebook experience that left me feeling noncommittal about the social media platform.

It’s hard to ignore the power of the numbers when it comes to Facebook. Reports peg the behemoth at over 750 million registered worldwide users. And for those touting Tech Bubble 2.0 there are also reports Facebook earns well over $1 billion per year with a good profit margin to boot. Now, profit means different things to different companies so take those reports for what they’re for: speculation.

With all the impressive statistics around Facebook there are still some aspects of the platform keeping businesses leery about committing massive amounts of capital to the social utility.

Yielding to Facebook

Since its introduction less than ten years ago Facebook has been the master at getting people to yield to their quiet requests. In the early days and even today the site had the uncanny ability to get people to share their most personal bits of information with the site.

Personal Profiles

Even looking at your own Facebook profile it’s hard to imagine why you share so much about yourself with the company. The reason I come to is we yield information from Facebook as a way to feel good about ourselves or to inflate our own egos. Don’t worry – inflating your ego is not necessarily a bad thing. We put information in front of our group of friends and it makes us feel important when they respond with a Like or a comment. It’s how we interact and we get some short-term pleasure knowing we’ve impressed our friends.

Business Pages

With business pages the same thing happens. Business leaders hear about the number of people using Facebook and know they need to at least experiment with the platform. A good business person would not simply ignore the market of people on Facebook.

This is where things get tricky, though.

Some businesses seem to be diving right into the Facebook experience. They create awesome pages, invest a good amount of cash in growing their fanbase, and publish content to the stream.

There are dangers to yielding so much effort and money to Facebook, though. I tend to agree with Adam Singer of The Future Buzz regarding this topic of yielding to the stream. He covers the topic extensively with these articles and many more if you just follow his updates.

Dangers of Yielding – An Example

Back to what happened to me this morning.

My morning started out like any other. My alarm went off at 4:30am. I stumbled out of bed and fired up the coffee maker. As I waited for the pot to brew I opened my laptop to check emails from the previous night (some people are night owls and send emails after 10pm when I’m usually fast asleep).

In my inbox this morning were a couple emails from Facebook. The emails were notifications that a couple new folks liked my blog, Country Music Life, on Facebook.

On a side note – I’m really not sure why I’m receiving these notifications. They’re a bit annoying and I can’t figure out how to turn them off. Sure it’s nice knowing when a person likes the page, but I still want to turn it off.

Anyway, the last notification was from around 1am. I opened a new tab and went to visit the page to check on things. To my surprise I saw this:

Facebook Page Not Found

This message was surprising. I had just received notification from Facebook and now the page was gone? I tried a few different things, but could not get the URL to load the page. It was strange and I figured maybe it was just a temporary fluke. The feed of users was still loading on the CML sidebar.

Now, having the CML Facebook page removed is not a huge deal for CML. Sure, it’s an inconvenience. The page has a growing number of followers. I only use the page to feed the latest posts from the blog. The page works simply as a way for people to subscribe to the updates happening on the platform I control – countrymusiclife.com. For some, Facebook is their preferred method of subscription to content so I’m happy to make it available for them to use.

So while it wasn’t the end of the world (like when CML crashes from time to time) it was still bothersome. And actually, the whole thing reminded me of all the things Adam discusses in the links above.

What about the companies and individuals that rely on Facebook more than CML? What if their Facebook page were to disappear mysteriously one morning? All the time and effort. All the money invested in growing the audience and creating content. It’s all gone.

That’s not a good way to start the day.

And it turns out that while losing a Facebook page isn’t common it does happen and can happen to even the biggest of brands.

Roger Ebert Loses Facebook Page

While wondering what happened to the CML Facebook page I came across the recent story of how film critic Roger Ebert lost his Facebook page. He made a comment that was considered cruel in some eyes and he was apparently removed as this was in violation of Facebook’s terms. (His page appears to be back up now).

It’s certainly within Facebook’s rights to take down pages especially if a page is in violation of published terms. Heck, it’s within Facebook’s right to remove a page for any reason.

Here again lies the danger in yielding your presence to the stream. When you commit your effort to someone else’s platform you are at their mercy. They can choose to do what they want with you.

It’s the reason smart companies have their own platforms like websites and blogs.

Roger probably wasn’t hurt too bad with his situation. It looks like he has at least a couple blogs and sites as his main platform.

Smart man.

Handcuffs image courtesy of The.Comedian