Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Message For Facebook

Dear Facebook, 

We've been friends for awhile. According to your records, since May 8, 2008. For a long time you were a lot of fun and I genuinely believed that you really were interested in working to improve my experience on your network.

But then you went public and as things work in our world, needed to get to the business of making serious money. I can't blame you. Money pays the bills.

Unfortunately the valuation of your business far exceeded the reality. That's a lot of internal pressure. A lot of creative thinking on new revenue models. Particularly challenging in a world that no longer wants to feel "sold to" or "marketed to" or "pushed."

Again - as a businesswoman I get it. As a digital strategist and former advertising salesperson I get it. And as an adjunct professor in digital marketing I get it.

But it's starting to get out of hand. You are starting to not  listen to me, your customer.

For weeks you have been annoying me - trying to get me to download your Messenger App. I assumed you understood my closing the pop-up meant I was not interested. But apparently you didn't get it. It continued to appear - which annoyed me even more.

Now I get an email from you telling me if I want to continue messaging from my iPhone, I have to download your App. Since you have not been listening to date -  I will repeat - I am annoyed. In fact, now I am REALLY annoyed.

I don't like anyone telling me what I "have to do" much less a social network that - to put it bluntly - is just not as much fun as it used to be.

My newsfeed is cluttered with stuff I didn't ask for.
Sponsored posts outweigh those from my "friends."
Every time you change an algorithm I have to go into my privacy settings to make sure you have not defaulted them back to what you want them to be. 
And, I'm tired that every time I take a peek at a new pair of shoes they follow me around like a lost puppy. 

I don't want your new Messenger App. And I won't be downloading it. Today or anytime soon. Truth be told, I don't even like to use it on my desktop. You already have more information about what I am doing and who I am connecting with than I would like. You can call it "private" messaging but I know the truth - someone over at FB headquarters is mining that text for data that you can use to make more money. I am not interested in adding to that stockpile. 

So if one of my Facebook "friends" happens to private message me - they'll have to wait until I am in front of my computer to hear back. I am okay with that. Because really - if it's so important to reach me - they have other choices.

Email. Text message. Other social networks we are connected on - the ones that are still fun and/or useful - like Twitter and LinkedIn. Besides, if it's really critical - they can do something decidedly retro - pick up the phone and call me.

My guess is the reason you are forcing this issue now is because there are a lot more people like me who have been refusing to download the Messenger App and you have sold this through already to clients and need to deliver.

I get that. 

But I don't care.

However, you should. 

The way I see it - new social networks will continue to proliferate in much the same way that cable networks did, going after niche markets or in this case - like-minded people. Some will be more successful and others not so. But in every case they will mirror what cable did - continue to pull share away from the broadcast networks - all because they did a better job of listening to what people really want. 

So Facebook, we are not through.  At least not yet. As I said earlier, I teach this stuff - so I like to keep my hands in it. But if you thought trying to force an unwanted App at me was going to increase my engagement - it is doing just the opposite.  You see - I still watch broadcast television - just less of it. 

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