Tag Archives: technology

Facebook. It’s over.

23 Nov

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In terms of current world events this certainly can be filed under #firstworldproblems, but for my world of marketing and more broadly connecting with people it’s kind of important.

As the title suggests, I’ve officially broken up with Facebook. Yep that’s right, cold turkey. Totally switched off. App deleted, annoying emails ignored. Gone°.

Yeah it’s not a huge thing when you think about it, but as a fairly tech connected dude in my 30s who likes to feel like they’ve got their finger on the pulse, you start to realise that the old FB can play a fairly central role for your daily dose of downtime or ‘connecting’ with your so called friends.

So What led to the decision? In a word SPAM. That’s right post IPO I’m sure you may have noticed that the FB user experience has drastically changed, based on the added pressure of now driving shareholder value – so how do they do this? Advertising.

It might sound incongruous coming from me as an advertiser, criticising the role of ads, however for me this is about how they are doing the advertising.

Just as for any form of traditional or new advertising, there is a right way to do it, and the wrong way to do it. Simply screaming your message at people, or hitting people with a message when they don’t want to hear it, or in this case screaming a random, irrelevant message in a personal, social environment is just wrong. If you know when people are open to a message, and more so when your message adds some form of value for them, vs just screaming our message, there is going to be far more chance that folks will be open to the message. Get that message across in an engaging, enjoyable way and now you’re in the zone. So for instance, if as I’m standing in the communal shower at the local pool, worried about getting tinea, I see an ad for Dactarin above the sink, naturally I’m open to the message, and more so that brand is then locked in my mind as the top of mind choice should I find myself in the unfortunate position of having athletes foot.

Contrast that to the way Facebook are advertising. Lets look at the day that pushed me over the edge. As I logged in to my iPhone the first story in my news feed was one of my posts from months ago (more on Edgerank in a minute), then there was an (unauthorised) post from Taubmans paint, something along the lines of “Hey it’s spring. What’s your favourite sort of flower….” Ok. Where to start? Trying to connect the dots here I think the link had something to do with paint colours that match flowers, anyway apart from the craziness of the post, what really annoyed me was the fact that there, amongst my personal connections of friends and colleagues is a brand yelling an unwanted and irrelevant message.

Scrolling down further I then got to the section of “sponsored pages” and there, as has been the case for the last 3 months, are the Sportsbet, Tom Waterhouse and some other forgettable brand insisting that given a FB friend likes this page, then I should blindly click like also. And whilst I have never shown any interest in one of this posts or pages over the past months, there they stay. Like the desperate street walker shaking her booty in the hope that some deviant stops to check out what is on offer. Simply an annoying eyesore.

Finally there are the brand pages, obviously being managed by a brand manager or agency who are obsessed with generating ‘likes’, and no doubt is reporting back to their bosses how amazing it is that they’ve generated so many likes. To continue the sex worker analogy here, this to me feels like bragging about a prostitute who you’ve paid for services showing interest in you. Specifically, paying for impressions to generate likes, or posting inane posts such as “hey it’s sunny outside today. Click like if you like being alive”, to worse still giving away prizes for people to click like is such a waste of effort. Sure there is a time and need to build a community, but my view is you deliver a far better result by actually engaging with fans. That’s right, find out what your fans like and then develop content that is relevant, engaging and ultimately adds value for them versus just shouting a message.

What is the biggest travesty here is that with Facebook, every bit of consumer data is available, therefore this should be the best in class example of perfectly target communications. Back to my case, given I’ve never visited a gambling page, and even after a quick scan of my basic profile you can learn what I’m in to, personalised messages or at least brands and categories that are relevant to my interest would be the most powerful form of marketing. Instead brand are wasting money hitting me with a message that not only doesn’t have relevance to me, but more so really starts to piss me off given the persistent hanging around like a bad smell.

Add to the the crazy, erratic nature of their proprietary Edgerank algorithm that establishes what they want me to see, causes posts to disappear and prioritise these annoying ‘promoted posts’ and what you get is a really annoying product. And for me, you actually get me switching off. Good night.

So you may ask “what has replaced it for you” or where and how do we feed our fix now? Well this all depends on what we are looking for. Sure there are other applications that play a similar role – twitter, Instagram and blogs, but more so no doubt in some kids mind, or a uni share house somewhere, the next big thing is just around the corner. But perhaps the bigger opportunity here is to say stuff it all and actually focus on true engagement and connection.

Now I don’t want to sound all superior or like someone who has just learnt about the benefits of Enjo cleaning cloths, but I’m feeling really good about my decision. And it appears it’s not just me; when I’m telling others about this, I seem to be getting a lot of similar feedback. Perhaps other enlightened folks seem to be coming around to this way of thinking. In the same way that FB stormed to life, that same groundswell can turn just as quickly. So if you’re looking for me, the one place you won’t find me is on Facebook.

°disclaimer I haven’t deleted the profile, purely to allow me to use the login details for websites vs signing up fresh. In my view this is about the value and only use for Facebook.

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