Archives for criticism of facebook

Facebook Updates Become Nodates

Though most of you won’t ever notice, but Facebook is removing yet another feature from Fan Pages. You will no longer have the ability to update your fans via email. I am sure many of you are saying, wait! I had the ability to email my fans? Well, yes you did.  It was possible to send an email updating all of your fans about events or happenings on the page.  You could even target these updates based on location or gender.

But you are probably asking yourself why you have never received one of these updates? Well, it is likely that you have and did not know it. When Facebook updated their email service, they created their version of a spam box. It is a file on your email called “Other” this is where Facebook puts any email that it thinks is likely spam or unwanted. Of course this means any email from a fan page. They only way around emails not being filtered into this other box was to go into your email, open up a message and then move it to your “messages” box. Of course non of us ever did that. In fact, most of us never even go into the other box.  Writing this post promoted me to go into it for the first time in over 6 months.

Since all fan page emails get shoved into other as soon as it is sent, Facebook has decided to remove the option entirely. Often times when a big update goes through, like Facebook email, certain things don’t function the way they were anticipated. Though Facebook wants people to use their network as a primary email address, most people are not. Very few people look at Facebook as a way to communicate with people not on the social network, and they definitely do not view it as a replacement for their primary email address. So the spam filter is under utilized and generally ignored.

They will be removing the update fan option on September 30th. So there is still time to send emails that no one will see.

Learning to streamline

Many business professionals begin their habits early in college. From the first time they pick up a Franklin Covey planner or buy their first mousepad made of detachable pieces of notepaper, they’ve developed an organizational routine they’ll carry through to the business world.

For many of today’s students, those habits revolve around social media. A smart student has cleared their profile of any drunken photos and chosen a business-appropriate photo by the time they turn 21. However, many business students are going beyond the normal social networking standards and are actively using each of their profiles to network and reach out to leaders in their area. It’s these students that businesses can learn from and utilize in their companies.

Students are juggling profiles on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Monster, Careerbuilder and often a professional network or two. The smart student is also involved in an internship while taking classes. Maintaining a positive, contributive social profile isn’t easy—after all, that’s a job description in itself nowadays. Students maintaining that many platforms on their own are likely utilizing apps and in-browser tools.

If you’re looking to become more social media savvy, take a page out of a college textbook, and look into some social media management apps.
One of the newest of these tools to come out of Beta is Yoono. It works off of the desktop and allows users to quickly switch between profiles and stay logged in to multiple profiles at once. In addition to that, it also posts updates on the bottom right of your screen. Unlike Skype notifications, though, they’re small and rarely in the way. Yoono’s major drawback is that it doesn’t connect with Google+, but it does hit the major players.

HootSuite is designed more with a business in mind, but students still regularly use it. Its main strength is that users can update their networks from their smartphones. You can also use it to set up an RSS feed and access the analytics behind your posts. If you think your business closely follows statistics, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a second-semester college student who’s looking for a job. Tweetdeck is another student favorite. It’s designed to handle around five profiles, whether they’re all Twitter or mixed in with Facebook. Tweetdeck is great for a single person managing multiple profiles.

So what can an established business professional get out of all of this? Chances are you’re learning to juggle your networks too. You can take a page out of the nearest college students’ book and try out a couple apps to see what will work best in your life or for your business.

Another takeaway is that it might be worth looking into hiring an intern to take care of your social media. They’re already experienced with juggling them, and they’re likely to know what the younger generations are looking for out of social media. In addition to that, there’s nothing wrong with learning from someone straight out of college. Because the venue for education has changed, many students are getting an online degree, which only add to their social media prowess. Try creating a position for an intern, and then asking them to teach you a few tricks. They’ll be excited to share their knowledge, and you can teach them about more traditional business aspects.

Help yourself on Facebook: Facebook Support Links

Sometimes we have problems with Facebook that goes beyond a troll on your site or not being able to find your friends profile.  Here are a list of links to help you take care of some of the more basic and complex problems.

Typical Problem

I think my account got hacked/phished

Reporting abuse

Keeping your account secure

Warnings and disabled accounts

How you can and cannot use the Facebook logo

My account is blocked or disabled

Page not coming up in search engine

Page unavailable error

Request a Fan Page category change

Unable to upload photos

Password Bugs

Fan Page Bug

Friends Bug

Confirmation account errors

Profile Unavailable

Report a death

Delete your account

Big Problems

Personal Profile got disabled

Facebook Page was disabled

Content lost through deactivation

Trademark Infringement

Trademark Infringement (Non-Copyright)

Notice of Infringement from a third-party app

General Support

Help Center

Places

Pages

Known Issues

Is Big Brother Tagging you on Facebook?

Facebook-face-recognitionA while ago Facebook released automatic facial recognition in the United States.  It caused a bit of a kerfluffle but everyone did go back to their regular existence and pretty much forgot about it. They are now releasing it all over the world so the issue is once again in the forefront of everyones mind.

What is it?

In a nut shell, when you upload pictures to your Facebook it auto-recognizes the faces of people you have previously tagged. It will ask you if it is that person and suggest you tag them in the post.

Why it is good?

The ease of use is what makes this such a great tool. Before facial recognition, tagging pictures was a cumbersome endeavor. Now it is super easy. Facebook not only makes suggestions but it groups the suggestions into categories. So if your friend Susan is a suggested tag, all the pictures it thinks are of Susan will be under one heading. All you have to do is click her name to tag her.

The suggestions are only on the pictures that it recognizes a face. If there is a face and you have not tagged it, it will list them but you have to add the tag yourself.

Not Fool Proof

This is not a fool proof endeavor. The facial recognition will not grab a lot of profile pictures or if people are obscured. Not to mention that recognizing faces is an art not a science, so it will make mistakes. If you are like me and always look like someone else, it will probably suggest people tag you as your cousins friend Sofie.

More Tags

The logic behind facial recognition is not a big brother attempt to dominate and track photos.  It is actually to make tagging easier and more prevalent. The thought is, if they make the tagging process easier, you will be more likely to tag more of your photos and this will drive up conversation and engagement.

Remember, everything about Facebook is ultimately to drive conversation and interactions.

The problem

This is another time that Facebook is pushing the limits of peoples privacy.  What if you don’t want to be tagged in photos?  What if it tags you in a pic that is not you? What if it starts suggesting that people who aren’t your friends tag you in their pics.

These are all very valid concerns.  Thankfully they are not eliminating our privacy, you might not have a lock on the bathroom door but you still have a door.

If you do not want to be flagged in the auto tagging feature, you can change your privacy settings to prevent this from happening. It will turn off the suggestions for any where your face appears in a photo.  If the person wants to tag you, they will have to do it old school and actually click on your face and tag you.

Just like in the past, if you were tagged in a pic and didn’t want to be, you could remove the tag. This is always an option. I recommend making sure that you receive notices via email letting you know if you were tagged. You can check, or change, this setting in your privacy and notifications settings in your account.

Lastly, only your friends can tag you. You have to be friends with someone on Facebook for them to be able to tag you in a pic. They can still tag you in other peoples pictures, but you can rest easy that some stranger isn’t going to tag your pic in some incriminating photo. You only have to worry about your friends doing that.

The big concern

The biggest concern people have is that this is a gateway drug for photo tagging. First it is suggestions for tagging friends; then fan pages, then Facebook will just auto tag you in pictures all over the world!

This is not going to happen. For one, Facebook would be slammed in the media, and likely go to court for privacy issues if they were to try this. Plus, everyone tends to look like someone else somewhere. Yes, we are all unique flowers but the application that does facial recognition does not always see the intrinsic details that make you so completely different from the person in Seattle who look remarkably like you, but yet is not you.

So until we have some Minority Report type technology that is doing retinal scans, we can all breath easy.

Facebook: Becoming a Blog?

Facebook is always trying to find new and interesting ways to promote content and make it more easily accessible. Social share features have increased the reach of Facebook, by integrating them with websites and encouraging people to share sites on their wall and on their friends’ walls.  To further increase their reach, Facebook has announced that they are adding a new feature: RSS feeds for fan pages.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is usually reserved for blog posts. It’s what allows you to receive updates in blog readers like Google Reader, where you can easily see all posts by their headlines.  Many people use RSS readers for their favorite blogs, so they can keep up with them without having to go to the blogsites. Some readers allow you to receive blog posts in your email, sending you the contents of the posts. But why does Facebook want to add an RSS feed to fan pages?

Facebook RSSIn theory this will let someone essentially subscribe to a fan page. Not only will you be able to see updates in your news feed, you will also be able to receive posts in your RSS reader. This is good for people who need to monitor certain pages, like politicians or large corporations.  If you are closely watching what a competitor is doing with their social media, this creates an easy venue in which to do it. However, the RSS feature is not likely to be valuable to people who are not using Facebook for professional reasons.

Some of you may be thinking: Facebook had an RSS feed for pages already, so why is this news?  You are right, they did. But recently Twitter and Facebook quietly removed their RSS feeds. Now Facebook has added it back in, along with a link on fan pages to subscribe. Will Twitter follow suit and bring their feed back? Good question. I think they will. An RSS feed provides another way for people to consume content, and ultimately that is key to social media social media success.

Facebook lets you Unlike your Fans

black and white picture of screaming fans

Are your fans enthusiastic or crazy? Facebook is giving you control with regard to who Likes your page!

Facebook has added a great new feature for Fan Pages, the ability to unlike a page or person.  This may not sound so revolutionary, but it is because it gives a page control over who Likes their page. Facebook has finally made a big move to help out businesses!

In February Facebook made some big changes to the Fan Page. One of these was allowing Fan Pages the ability to Like other Fan Pages. However, there was a problem.  When you are a profile and someone wants to be friends with you, it has to be a mutual decision; they have to send you the friend request and then you have to approve it. But Liking a page was a one-way relationship – all you had to do was go there and Like it.

Issues arose because some pages were Liking a page and then posting inappropriate content. The page could remove the content, but they could not do anything about the page that Liked them.  Thus, they were being left open to more spam and also being associated with the spammer pages appearing in their list of Likes.  For instance, say a hate group Liked your page. If you went to their page you would be listed amongst the pages they had Liked. With the the Fan Page’s ability to set their featured page, you might even be a featured Like, and see your Fan Page displayed prominently on their sidebar!

Facebook has now given control to Fan Pages to Unlike  and remove a Like from their page.  You also have the ability to ban someone so they will not be able to post, or otherwise interact with your page.

This new feature doesn’t just let you kick people off your page, it will also help you engage better. You can now sort your fans by people and pages, so you can clearly see all the pages that Like your page. This gives you more opportunity to interact with other pages and deepen your relationships on Facebook.

This is an excellent new Facebook tool that will really help boost engagement and give more control over what happens on your page.

 

The Cost of Facebook

Top hat overflowing with money, with the Facebook logo on the front of the hat

Facebook does have a cost. It is the cost of investment.

On one of my posts about Facebook Fan Page updates, and the outrage about the wall filtering issue, Steve Silberberg emailed me some very interesting comments. You may remember Steve, he wrote the post: Social Marketing, the Online Tupperware Party. Essentially he pointed out that Facebook is free, so do we really have a right to get uptight about some change they made? The “if you don’t like it, don’t use it” strategy.

This got me thinking about the actual cost of Facebook. It is free, so it should cost nothing right?  Well, if you are using Facebook for business it is not as simple as that. The platform is free, true. But there are costs of doing business on Facebook.

The Cost of Facebook

  • Ads
    If you use Facebook Ads, there is a direct cost. In fact, the better you ad does, the higher the cost.
  • Custom Tabs
    Many pages have custom landing tabs. These are specialty pages on your Fan Page that look like a mini website. Often you see them when you first visit a Fan Page. The landing tab will be custom designed, and will try to inspire you to Like their page.  These cost money.  Most people are not fluent in FBML, or even know what it is (it is the coding language used in Facebook, like HTML). If you do know what FBML is, then you also probably know that it is a bit cumbersome. There are programs out there like Lujure that easily allow you to design a Facebook landing page.  And though they might not be expensive, they still have a cost.
  • Social Media Marketing & Strategy
    If you want to create a successful social media presence for your business, you need to have a strategy. Many people use social strategy firms to develop a social marketing strategy. This is an excellent way to make sure you are getting the most out of your social media.
  • Social Media Manager
    Many businesses hire a Facebook manager to post for them, take care of FB admin, Like new pages and respond to comments.  This is a great way to make sure your social media strategy is being implemented properly.
  • Time
    Even if you don’t run ads, learn FBML to create your own landing tab, design your own strategy and manage your own account, the one cost you cannot get around is time.  Your time has a value.  Facebook engagement can take a lot of time. They payoff for your business is worth the investment, but it is still an investment.

There are other places you can invest money: app development, stores, Paypal fees for running stores or fundraisers, analytic services, etc.  When you put all of these together and assume Facebook is free – well, it’s not.  Free is the hook, because once you sign up for the network there is a cost.  So when you ask if we, as Facebook business users, have a right to protest changes that affect our business usage in a negative way, the answer is a definite yes.  We have an investment with our branding, our time and our social marketing.  It is in our best interest for Facebook to operate while keeping in mind the best interests of its users.  Sure you can “Just say no to Facebook” but for most of us that is not a viable option.  I have invested in Facebook and I want it to work in support of my business Fan Page, not against it.

Got the new Fan Page? Yes you do!

Facebook logoYesterday the new Fan Page dropped for all Facebook users. The early adopters helped pave the way for the roll-out. Many of us converted our Fan Pages in February, when we were first given the option, and because we did we experienced the highs and lows of what the new version was about. In fact, we even started an online rally against some of the negatives regarding the Fan Page wall. Our cry to bring back chronological posts on the Fan Page wall was a success, and now that the issue has been fixed, my feeling about the changes are pretty good.

Your Fan Page is visually more like a profile now. This will make it easier for people to engage with your page, because familiarity breeds comfort.

You also have the ability to use your Fan Page identity as you build relationships on Facebook. This is a great feature, which allows you to interact with other pages, post on their walls and comment on their posts. This will dramatically help your communication and networking. Previously, you could only interact with other people as your Fan Page “self” or brand if you were on your own Fan Page.

The best part of the new functionality is the notifications. When someone comments on a post, you will receive an email (if your settings are set to do so) and you will see a notification alert just as if you were normally using Facebook. This is a great way to know when people are interacting with you, so you can respond. The notifications will also let you know when you have a new fan. You’ll still see your number of Likes increasing, and now you can discover who recently Liked you. This is great for demographics and networking.

No doubt there will a lot of discussion about the new Fan Page as it is released for everyone. Stay tuned!

Sure, you like my site – but did you Like my site?

Look at the like button

The Like button can be a powerful tool for your website, especially now that it's integrated with social share.

Facebook has been working on social share for a long time. Facebook Connect has been the most successful venture within this effort.  Facebook Connect is essentially the Like button – it is what allows someone to publicly appreciate one of your website pages.  This has been an entirely underused feature in websites in general; for many sites the opportunity has been completely wasted.

There was an issue with the Like button: when you clicked, it would show up on that page and technically would get posted on your Facebook wall.  However, it was not appearing on the news feed at all, so generally it was not being seen. It is no surprise that most people did not see value in adding it to their sites, or only added it to their home page and not their subpages.

Facebook has seen the flaw in their strategy. They are now making the Like button more like a Share button.  Now when you click it you have the option of adding a comment. So now you can share your thoughts on a page instead of just being a voiceless Like.  Those comments will appear on the newsfeed.  Because this share is a more dynamic interaction, it has a higher chance of being seen by people and will rank higher on the Facebook newsfeed.

Many websites are missing out on the power of the Like button by limiting it to their home page.  Every page on your site should have the Like button.  This is especially true if you sell products; every item should have a Like button. In fact, when someone purchases your product you may want to encourage them to Like it and share it with their friends.

If you are a blog site, every post should feature a Like button. Thankfully, with the help of plugins this is an easy thing to automate.

Every page that does not have a Like button is a missed opportunity for social sharing.

You can track your Likes by adding Insights to your website. Here is a great post that will tell you how to add Insights.

When someone clicks the Like button and comments, that comment and a link to the website goes on their wall and the news feed.  If you have a Like button for every page of your site, think of the potential exposure. If you do not, you may be missing out.