I’ve spent almost 2 years now, working on trying to build a business, trying to put myself out there, trying to win people’s trust and make a difference, but I was doing all this, putting all my effort into doing this, on a medium that I basically don’t trust and wondering why things weren’t going as I expected them to.
A few months ago, with all the hoo-haw about privacy and Facebook selling its users details and everything, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. But, to be honest, if you’re trying to do livestreams, it’s a bloody nuisance not having the app on your phone, so I reinstalled it. Today, I’m scrolling through my homepage and what do I see? An ad for sleep apnoea. I’d been discussing that with John this morning. So Facebook is still listening in to conversations even when I’m not using the app.
I’ve spent 2 years learning how to build a business on Facebook, how to advertise on Facebook, how to best utilise Facebook, how to keep Facebook happy and stay out of Facebook jail,
what words to use on Facebook, what words to not use on Facebook. I’ve learned a lot. And I’m not comfortable with any of it. I basically don’t trust Facebook: I don’t trust them to be their word (er, privacy laws), I don’t trust them to protect my information (er, privacy laws), I don’t trust them to do anything other than look after themselves.
Facebook business users were encouraged to have pages, so they could reach their audience easily. Once we all did that, Facebook began charging for posts containing ads. If I put up a post containing no link to my website or anything, each post might reach up to 500 or more people. If the same post has a link in it, the reach might be 9 or 20 people. Next, Facebook encouraged us all to form groups, that way, we can be sure that everyone in the group will have access to our posts. What I’m noticing is that notifications about posts in groups aren’t happening and Facebook are talking about charging people for being in groups.
I’m not against anyone making money but here’s the thing: if I’m going to do business with someone, I want to know that I can trust them and that their values are aligned with mine. I want to know that I can count on that company to act with integrity and in the best interest of its customers. When I deal with Facebook, I’m left feeling that I’m being led a merry dance, sucked into relying on something in order to have a successful business, counting on certain things happening, but all the while, knowing that the ONLY people Facebook are interested in is themselves. They have no interest in anyone other than how much money they can make out of them in the long term. And they constantly break one of my core values: Integrity.
I spent last night going through my “interests” in the advertising section… again, and deleting everything… again, telling them I don’t want to be tracked… again, confirming that I don’t want targeted ads… again. Then this ad about sleep apnoea comes up. Coincidence? Maybe. More than likely it’s a #epicfail on Facebook’s part.
Now, all of this has been gurgling about in the back of my mind while I’ve been trying to build a business on FACEBOOK. What an idiot! Almost every.single.thing I’ve learned about building a business online has been centred around building that business on Facebook. AND I DON’T TRUST THEM. I would not do business with Facebook in the “real” world. I don’t like their ethics or their methods. What was I thinking? And I couldn’t understand why things weren’t working for me online? Really?
I had a conversation about all this with a friend of mine who runs her business pretty much totally from Facebook. Her view is that’s just the way things are; they’re going to listen in, they’re going to track you, they’re going to change the rules to suit themselves. I mean, that’s exactly what they do, right? The question for me is, do I want to be a part of it? Do I want a business that’s based on Facebook? That’s easy to answer: no. Unequivocally, no. When I look at it from a values space, it’s a very easy decision, but I also think it’s an age thing, too. I can only dig myself into a hole with that conversation, so I might just leave it there, lol; it’s definitely an age thing, and I suspect most of my friends – all those ladies of a certain age – will agree with me!
I will SOCIALISE with my friends and family on Facebook, I will keep up with what the Jones’s are doing, I will share stuff with the people I love and care about and I’ll make new connections. But do business with Facebook?
I only do business with people I trust, like and admire.
My gut feeling about this whole thing has been off from the start, but I forced myself on, thinking that I was just unsure about ‘putting myself out there’ and ‘being vulnerable’. That wasn’t the hesitation at all; the hesitation was an unconscious observation that I actually wouldn’t do business with this company. It’s a lesson, and one that maybe we can all look at: if we’re not doing well at something, if it’s a struggle, if we’re unsure or not achieving what we normally would, what else could be going on? Take ourselves out of that scenario and look at it from a different angle, like I did if I thought about doing business in a “normal” way with Facebook.
Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...