You have every right to be suspicious of this blog post.
After all, I’m an internet marketer. For an internet marketer to come to the defense of Facebook would be similar to Snooki coming to the defense of tanning beds.
At the same time, Snooki isn’t impervious to skin cancer, and I’m not impervious to hackers and other folks that would love to get their hands on all my private data.
Through OpenGraph and other technologies, Facebook is poised to create a veritable orgy of data for marketers willing to invest in it. We have one heck of a giant fishbowl here, with millions and millions of goldfish that fit into just about any demographic we want to advertise to. And know. And understand.
It’s a Facebook world, and we’re all just living in it. To that end, I think a few points need to be raised.
You Don’t Have to Have a Facebook Account
Unless you’re the social media manager at work, nothing says you have to have a Facebook account. It’s not your right to have a free open social platform to share what you want, only with whom you want, whenever you want. Generally speaking, that’s called your “living room”, which you actually have paid for.
You Don’t Have to Post Everything on Facebook
You were there the night you had two extra shots of tequila. We don’t need to be. In fact, it’s likely we don’t want to be. So post things that are of genuine interest to us. You still have email. If you want a friend of yours to see you squinty eyed, passed out, and half naked, send it via email. Better yet? Delete it. Seriously. Just delete it.
You Aren’t as Interesting as You Think You Are
With all the concerns about privacy being raised by pundits, tech bloggers, soccer moms, and everyone else, you’d think there had been a massive breach of trust on the part of Facebook.
When’s the last time you had a serious look at your own Wall? Or one of your friends Walls? What exactly are you concerned about marketers knowing about you? (Again.. I’ll remind you.. you thought it was a good idea to put it there.)
That you like LOLCats? That you like Obama? That you like Donald Trump? If you don’t want us to know, why are you linking to that content everyday?
Do you think your friends don’t talk about you off line? I know a lot of people. And they talk about a lot of other people. Facebook didn’t invent this problem. They did however make it FAR easier to provide your gossipy friends with ammunition.
The Counter Point
In the end, Facebook needs you. They need you to enjoy your experience on their website so they can sell advertising. And collect data. They have a vested interest in creating a genuinely worthwhile user experience, and not drive resignations from their service.
They WILL listen to you. And they WILL do it without you reposting falsities and funny little pictures about them. Trust me. They have analysts. They watch the numbers.
I don’t believe that Facebook will allow themselves to become the next MySpace. While it might be cool to have Justin Timberlake hanging around the office, I just don’t see it as their style. In the meantime, we have to understand our role as consumers in this. To use, to love, to hate, or to abandon.
I know most of you won’t have the guts to retweet this, or put it as your Facebook status for an hour. You know who you are. I’m looking at you, Dad.