Being a busy entrepreneur doesn’t leave much time to assess everything all the time, right? When you think you’ve finally got Facebook all figured out, Zuckerberg throws a wrench straight into your page and your self-esteem.
I know, it’s the bane of my existence, too. As soon as I think I have things figured out and I implement the new strategy into my plan, another monkey wrench gets thrown at me.
Ever watch the movie Dodgeball with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn? For introverts, Facebook has many similarities like Dodgeball as described by Patches O’Houlihan. Patches claims that Dodgeball is a sport about violence, exclusion, & degradation. Sound like middle school?
Additionally, the five rules of dodgeball are: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge. Those balls are the proverbial wrenches FB throws at us each time they adjust their algorithms. Watch:
Dark humor aside, we have to remember that Facebook is merely a tool and we’re invited to play: for free. You know the adage, “You get what you pay for.” If we’re not paying, we don’t have much room to complain.
The question remains: Will Zuckerberg finally leave everything alone so that we can finally do what we do best?
Again, this is where you should have the 5 rules for dodgeball firmly ingrained in your psyche. 😉 First I dive, then dip, then dodge into FB only to find that FB has messed with the controls yet again. Arrrgh!! Duck!
Drawing a Line in the Sandbox
As I see it, FB is Zuckerberg’s private sandbox. “It’s my sandbox and if you don’t like it, leave.” That’s pretty poor branding. It’s imperative to remember that we’re only guests for only a short time until he changes the rules yet again. When we think as soon as the sandbox is fun to play in, he comes in and dumps the entire box over –with us in it.
I’ve read that analysts say that Facebook will disappear by 2020. Like all good things, everything must come to an end. It could remain barren like the old abandoned amusement parks in the midwest -you know, like MySpace. There are many who have contrary opinions to Facebook’s demise because of the ever growing tools and partnerships FB is developing in the background.
I ask: Isn’t everybody?
No company really wants to become irrelevant and fade away, even yours.
Along for the Ride
It’s my opinion that it’s really up to the customers who use FB who are willing to go along on the bumpy ride after all of the damage has been done by the brand. Are you willing to follow the brand that has given you grief for the past 3 years? Or given the choice, would you make the escape to another platform if your friends were there?
Will FB continue to be the brat down the block that we’re obligated to play with and how do we maintain a sense of humor through Zuckerberg’s impulsiveness?
Let me split the possibilities for both personal and business.
Let’s face it, the real reason we got on FB is because we wanted to keep in touch with our friends who moved away and the grandparents who wanted to stay in touch long distance with their orbital grandkids. While we spend our time on FB, we’re beguiled by the bells and whistles, finding that we’ve just wasted 2 perfectly good hours checking news feeds and lurking like naughty voyeurs into our friends’ activities. It’s a casino that lures us in with flashing lights, jingling chimes and clappers reinforcing our reason for existence.
“I’d rather be looked over than overlooked” Mae West
We’re told that FB is great for introverts, too, because it gives us an opportunity to express ourselves when we feel like it. The unfortunate reply to that is: nothing. Facebook and Twitter both provide newsfeeds and they’re deceptive because introverts use them as built in automatic listeners. When an introvert injects a gust of anecdotes, the entry is overlooked because either FB has hiccuped or other friends are looking for ‘something else’ in the newsfeed. The extroverts have moved on to another party and no one is responding. It’s like playing hopscotch one step behind when the circles are moving erratically away from you.
You’re Here for a Good Time, Not a Long Time
While FB is the new watercooler, it’s important to remember how the watercooler began: in offices. One might stand at the watercolor for 5 minutes chatting it up with someone from a different department, but we all return to our stations located in our hubs. We bring back information to the hub that might enrich our lives and environment. If we were to live at the watercolor, we would lose our way back to the hub. If that happens, we’re filled with shallow soundbytes and living out of context. We would no longer provide a wealth of assets that includes conversation, bonding, and connectedness.
It’s time to return to the hub.
Bridging the Bond
Many times we’ve lost our way quicker than we realize. No clues are given as to why people aren’t responding to our funny comics our how we can get on the high again. We’ve lost perspective because we’ve replaced our conversations with emoticons. Our social capital begins to erode when our friends are making new friends or feelings of inadequacy begin to creep in when we’re personally with someone who has a device in hand texting while talking to us.
“For all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.” Stephen Marche explains in his article, Is Facebook Making Us Lonely. “We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier.”
Tacking Our Social Life
Maintaining perspective is uber important to our well-being. It’s essential to remember that friends on FB almost never post anything negative. People rarely share the bad stuff -we’re told not to because it’s not acceptable. FB is a public relations platform for both personal and business. Suddenly, half-billion members are experiencing FB envy triggered by the sunny social platform of sharing and connecting.
What happened? It’s human nature to compare ourselves with others -much of that can be healthy for us- however, we forget that our friend is miserable in her dead-end career when she posts a glorious photo of herself rocking her hard abs. Or that a company just dropped your friend’s entire line of products because of the economic collapse but she’s just posted photos of her updated kitchen.
But you don’t know that.
“Lack of boundaries and too much information are making people feel especially bad.” as quoted by Dr. Ludwig in the article Facebook Envy: How Cruising Can Kill Self Esteem. When cruising through FB becomes an unhealthy obsession, it can unleash our inner stalker.
If you’re confronted with an unexpected update that strikes a nerve and feelings of anxiety and envy begin to boil over, remember that FB is an alternative universe –not reality. It highlights inequities and lack of fairness and can lead to over-estimating the happiness of others. FB is not a true measure of your success: you are right where you’re supposed to be.
Tacking Our Social Life
In this brave new world, we must convert our expectations with these social tools and make them our bitch: We work them, they don’t work us.
Deborah Serani writes in her article Facebook and Depression outlines how to have a fulfilling and meaningful social media experience. In her six (6) tips for using FB, she asks you to
- Assess Why You’re on FB
- Explore Your User Pattern
- What does each activity do for you
- Redefine Your Facebook Experience
- Give Yourself Persmission to be an Extrovert or Introvert
- Remember to Interface with the Real World
I guess what I might take from this is to remember that FB is a tool. Use apps like MeetUp to actually meet people in public, share your interests, and make those connections. Connecting teaches us patience and resilience, increases our happiness and grants us better health. Who wouldn’t want that? In some cases, the connections are made online and then strengthened offline at an art show or other events. Group dinners, drinks, even stopping a local farmer’s market to pick up fresh fruit for the art show is a great, yet small way of connecting.
For Your Business –
So, how does the World Wide Web matter to you or your business? Depending on when you started your business (service or product), the Web has evolved, taking you with it. You may not realize it, but there are currently three generations of Internet companies:
- Google and Yahoo – They were the first generations that served as portals that organized and aggregated the web’s wealth of information.
- Facebook – Currently resides as the second generation of Internet Companies: capitalizing on an emerging social web, and
- TBD – The third generation will be comprised of companies who leverage mobile users and monetize their behavior.
Many feel that due to the seismic shift of our global economies and our social capacity as a society, that each generation is incapable of moving into the next realm. The paradigm shift is when FB is unable to keep up with mobile dexterity that is demanded by a new generation.
This is why being a small business is advantageous: It allows us to remain nimble and bend like bamboo when we’re facing vocational disruption.
What I Know
The number one priority in your business is your Web site.
Regardless of what’s going on around you, keep your Web site & your blog up-to-date as humanely as possible.
Use any tools that are out of your direct control (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter) with a grain of salt. Sure, consider them carefully as part of your marketing strategy but they should all point back to your Web site. Never solely rely on any one.
If any of your tools should hiccup, you’ll have another one to fall back on. Say, if your ISP chokes on all the visits you’re getting one day, then your customers will most likely Google your name and find other areas of your Internet presence. Same with Facebook. We know “how reliable FB is” so just be sure to have all of the other balls that you’re juggling relatively up-to-date.
Should Your Business Be on Facebook?
Here are some questions I frequently ask myself about Facebook -you might consider them, too.
- Are my customers really on Facebook? I have to say that surprisingly, the core of my customers are not. Girl Scouts honor. I’ve asked them!
They don’t have time for it -rather, they don’t make time for it. I don’t know if it’s peer pressure at the club, but they ‘just don’t do Facebook.’ I may make new fans on my page and they may ‘Like’ one of my new items, but they simply move on to the next best thing.
- How Often Should I Post? I’ve seen the big guys post once or twice a week. Other artists say they post photos of new work daily.
Realistically, I post on average twice a week and strive to post daily. That’s the best I can do.
- What Should I Post? Your own stuff and only your stuff.
Forget the non-sense about bring in outside material to pad your entries. I have turned off more fans than I can count when using the advice from coaches to ‘bring in related material.’
- Should I have more than one Fan Page? I would gently say no.
I have 3 and that’s because I’m experimenting with the same strategy as the big guys. Okay, I’m nuts, but you knew that, right? I’m not seeing it work that well, so I may condense it back down to one.
So, now are you feeling better about your time on Facebook? Tell us your experience -I won’t judge, I promise!
Here’s to Cultivating Your Creative Independence