Saturday 22 May 2010

Quitting Facebook

Will there be a mass revolt to leave Facebook - or will Facebook prove savvy enough to fix the privacy issues and still remain 'sticky' ? This post is my response to a great question raised by Bob Knorpp at the Beancast - you can find his full question here.

Quitting Facebook
This issue is so emotive, hence upfront I must say that I empathize with people's frustrations, however I feel a lot of the sentiment is a function of a lack of understanding of the new digital age that we are in....Here's why.

On a personal level I am shocked at the lack of inhibition and naivety people have when they use a medium such as Facebook. Having seen the expression "get off my Facebook" a few times - it is clear that some people have become desensitized to any implication of 'Liking/following/friending' a person, product, brand, company, or cause, (or poking them for that matter !). Doing this on a platform such as Facebook is intrinsically a public and not a private event.

Change your mindset
You can guess where I am going .......We are proceeding through a digital revolution. With this change (eg akin to the industrial revolution) the old mindset of how things "ought" to be, how people "should" behave, how relationships "should" work no longer hold true. 

Nobody told you the rules have changed !
It is up to the individual to adapt.  Facebook is ultimately a powerful and open communication tool with the world, and if you want to keep things private - you must now resort to meeting face to face, sending a letter or even making a phone call ! Under the digital rules it is fine to change your mind - but up to (you) the individual to know how to undo or unlike or unfriend (and don't be surprised if it is not as easy as you would like it to be !!). Remember the rules changed when 'free' services such as Facebook and Myspace and Twitter installed themselves as indispensable platforms - that have greater reach and influence than tv.

I have amazingly popular and friends who were wise before their time and understood that to retain their privacy and avoid any risk of compromising they simply chose not to: blog, tweet, buzz, digg, or use facebook etc !

Staying Close
On a professional level Facebook (as per blog's, podcasts etc) have been transformative, and are an invaluable listening, learning and connecting tool. Ironically, in some companies these types of website could be on a 'blocked' list - yet are a way to build absolute closeness with consumers.

In conclusion.... I am not quitting Facebook, but I empathize with those that want to.

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