Gen Wise Perspective

Gen Y's perspective (pun intended) on our journey through work, life, and everything in between.

What causes Facebook hating?

Image from Fast Company article: "Facebook's Zuckerberg Nearly, But Not Quite, About-Faces on Privacy"

So many things come to mind.

Kim might not like this post based on her favorable Facebook post earlier this week, but I always have something negative to say about Facebook so I started to think about why that is.

And I realized that my Facebook hating can be summed up to one main problem that I have with it.

Because of the way Facebook is set up, it forces you to choose: personal or professional?

I’m not referring to brands, but individuals. It’s difficult for people to use Facebook for both personal and professional use. It crosses too many boundaries and blurs the fine line between what’s appropriate to share (in a certain context) and what’s not.

You might think I’m talking about all the “youthful folly” (as described by Zack Whittaker and Ed Bott in a ZDNET article) from the college days. Yes, that’s part of it, but you don’t even need to take it that far.

I take issue with the fact that if I want to be Facebook “friends” with people on a business level, then they’re also able to see aspects of my personal life that people I associate with in the business world just don’t need to see.

Maybe I want to share things with my family and friends, but I don’t want to share those same things with someone I do business with. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t give me the option to choose which “friends” my personal information is shared with. If we’re Facebook friends, you’re ALL seeing what I post…unless I want to go through a list of 800+ people and set individual privacy settings (yeah right).

Why do the people I’m connected with for business purposes need to see pictures from my cousin’s wedding? Or what I dressed up my dog as for Halloween?

If someone from the business world “friends” me, they will be able to know things about me that are irrelevant to our professional relationship. Maybe it’s harmless but it’s still my personal information that I don’t necessarily need to share with someone who I don’t know beyond the business world.

I’m fully aware that this could just be a rant coming from someone who’s part of the first generation of Facebook users (when it was for college students only), but I think that’s the point.

It used to be clear that Facebook was a personal platform to connect with friends and peers. Now that it’s being used as a business communication tool, you have to make a decision about the direction you want to take it: either you’re going to withhold information to keep your profile on a professional level, or you have to keep your “friends” list to people who you only know on a personal level.

That bothers me. I don’t like that I don’t have full control. Facebook took away the option for me to use the channel as a business tool. Keep designing Facebook with teenagers in mind, Zuck. Just beware you don’t become the next MySpace. (Sorry, just had to throw that in there).

What do you think? How have you overcome this problem? Is there a way to find a good balance? Seriously—I want to know.

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6 thoughts on “What causes Facebook hating?

  1. Well…that means everything that has an advantage sure has a disadvantage…
    http://harkheindzel.wordpress.com

  2. I definitely have this problem. How embarrassing it was when my boss says, “Your job isn’t that bad, is it?” in response to a status update about my personal life posted in the morning: “It’s gonna be one of those days…”

    My first solution involved creating and maintaining lists. I would simply limit the amount of information my coworkers could see. This became complicated because some of my coworkers I also considered friends outside of work.

    My second solution involved creating a separate account. This is problematic because now I have two online identities.

    To me: Facebook introducing “Groups” seems to tell the world that they know this is an issue but really don’t know how to solve it just yet.

    Social networking isn’t a new problem. I often times reference this presentation from Google’s Social Networking: http://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-network-v2. It seems like Facebook still needs to figure out how to solve this problem.

    As it stands, I limit my interactions with Facebook. My actions usually fall within two buckets: birthday greetings and posting pictures (I’m a hobbyist photographer so I try to show your good side rather than posting 100+ photos of that dinner party I attended last night).

    On one side I hate Facebook for many of the same reasons, as wells as their confusing privacy settings. But Zuckerberg always falls back on his goal of making Facebook a usable utility. This makes it an interesting and exciting time to actively participate in the evolution of online social networking. And I get swept up in the ways my family and friends continue to use Facebook in their own lives.

    • Jackie Lampugnano on said:

      Thanks for the feedback! I agree that Facebook is starting to recognize people have this problem, but there still isn’t a solid solution. And that means people like you and I have to limit our interactions with Facebook. It’s sad because I want to love all the innovative things that Zuck does with Facebook but I’m unable to truly take advantage of them.

  3. Hi, great post. First of all, I completely agree that the Privacy settings Facebook has established are sub-par to say the least. It is because of these settings that I ‘choose’ not friend many of my co-workers (and also the reason that I don’t ‘like’ every brand I prefer to use on a daily basis).
    No one enjoys advertisements or being ‘creeped-on’ on Facebook, plain and simple. With that said, I think Facebook does an outstanding job providing a platform where casual, or social, interaction can be captured, shared, leveraged, etc..
    When it comes to building a professional network (I also graduated from LUC in 2009) I prefer to rely on LinkedIn and other collaboration tools within my company (Yammer/Salesforce). Because of the above mentioned features of Facebook (or lack of necessity for my boss to have visual evidence of why I’m exhausted Monday morning) I ‘choose’ to pass on facebook-friending my management team.
    Although we (the majority of first gen users of FB) are reliant on Facebook as a one-stop-shop for all social activity; it is becoming necessary to link multiple platforms to provide a comprehensive outsiders-view of yourself as an asset (at least for professional development purposes).
    My solution is as follows:
    1. If you must friend on FB; take the time to manage lists and customize your settings for those individuals you must connect with but don’t want to share EVERYTHING with.
    2. Create a detailed LinkedIn profile and begin building a Professional network beginning with your existing FB friends . Other platforms I leverage (or would soon like to) include: Twitter, Tumblr (WordPress), Flickr (Picasa) & StumbleUpon (Personal Favorite).
    3. Going a little bit outside of the box- (and sorry this is how I landed here in the first place) Research domain names and sites like Flavors.me or About.me to provide a platform linking all of your different web pages. Many of us aren’t able to write code and develop a detailed site – but these shortcuts give you enough to plug & play.
    Bottom line, Facebook is what it is; and I don’t expect much more from it. Especially from a “Business Professional’s” perspective.

    -Zach

    • Jackie Lampugnano on said:

      You know what’s very ironic about this, Zach? I think we’re friends on Facebook. I’d have to double check, but I’m pretty sure. Go Loyola! But that just illustrates my point about the network of “friends” you have and what you may or may not want to share with them.

      Thanks for your advice. I agree that LinkedIn is the place to keep it professional. I guess I’ll just have to accept the fact that Facebook will never be a business tool for me, unless I want to customize privacy to each individual person I’m friends with. Fat chance of that happening.

      I hope you keep reading the blog!

      • Haha, great comment. Perfect example of our FB network. I also think FB friending people depends on your industry – I’ve seen a lot of my friends in the Advertising industry ‘drop their guard’ and friend a large majority of their professional network on FB; however, I still don’t think it’s for me.

        Looking forward to reading the blog — I don’t know if y’all be interested to get involved with the LUC Alumni network but let me know if you do!

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