Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The X Factor: Facebook, are you listening?

Facebook is a great social networking site, but are the employees really that socially clueless in their ad targeting? Do you think you're creating a positive brand experience, Facebook?

Facebook, stop telling me about my "Friends." They're not, well, my friends.Where is your "Facebook Wall" so I can write on it? I can't find it because it's buried under the 100 apps you've installed -- apps that have taken the Facebook experience out of Facebook's hands. The customers are running the kitchen, and most of what they're serving is airline food.

Stop throwing sheep at me, and for Pete's sake stop poking me! Great, now I know what "sign" you are, and what Chinese zodiac. Wow, are we incompatible as a couple? I didn't care what your "sign" was in the real world. What makes you think I care about it on Facebook? And for those that do care, maybe you should get out of the virtual world and into the real world more often. You know, that's where sex happens.

You support "that" political party? Are you kidding! I didn't realize you were a subversively racist idiot. Do you actually practice that religion, or just dial-it-in? You know the hypocrisy of that faith? They subjugate women and believe that every other faith must die for them to ascend. You know that, right? And what's with all the Zombies? Seriously. Hey, come play Scrabulous with me. Uh, who are you again? I must have accidentally accepted your friend request. Your status update just told me you were drunk. That's just great. Did you think your boyfriend wouldn't notice the pictures your friend posted of you? Oh, and by the way, I understand that I just turned 40, but do you now have to start showing me ads for reading glasses? And another thing -- and this is priceless -- did you really think that I wanted to see ads for Tru that said "broken heart?" right after removing "engaged" from my profile? Are you effin serious?

Facebook is a great social networking site, but are the employees really that socially clueless in the real world that they don't know that maybe, just maybe, someone could have a very vitriolic reaction to that? Do you think that's a positive brand experience, Facebook?

Facebook is enabling some very profound social dynamics. That last example is just one of them. Where do we, as a society, view privacy? What are we willing to give up? There is a substantially different view between generations -- the younger generation having no illusions that they have any privacy, and the older generation deluded into thinking they do. Where are the lines between work life, personal life and what is acceptable? When your employer can find out what you believe, if you drink, see pictures of you smoking?and hey, is that a rave? What are the effects to your career? And will you ever know?

That's the danger. It's fine if they tell you that your behavior outside of the workplace reflects on the company and you have to curb your online persona, but how many companies will do that? More likely, you'll just get shuffled to the side without ever knowing why. The company doesn't want to get into a free-speech lawsuit with you. It's just much easier to deny everything. Isn't that what all these athletes have been doing for years? "I have never used performance enhancing substances." Uh, yeah, sure, it's just hard work, sweat and healthy eating. Deny, deny, deny. And that is the danger. Companies will just deny that any of it went into their decision-making process. Does knowing an employee's political views or religion affect the company's view of them? Of course it does!

Understand these are not "real" friends. You care about real friends, for who they are, not what they believe. In fact, often in spite of what they believe. But Facebook friends? Heck, you seriously can't remember how you met half of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the cyberworld my friend. Seriously believe thats how dumb people got raped, and killed 'through' the 'friends' website..