So many things come to mind.
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.