Hal Lublin on February 11th, 2010

…Don’t wipe your hands on my drapes.

That’s not what they’re for, you know? I use ‘em to keep the windows covered, or at the very least as decoration. If you’re like me, your home is your place, where you have your own rules. When you visit someone else’s house, you don’t conduct yourself the same way you would at home because it’s not your place. That’s the golden rule, right? Simple.

For whatever reason (maybe because it’s “not real”?), our online “homes” are no different. How many of you have left a promotional, self-serving post on someone else’s Facebook wall? It’s OK to raise your hand – none of us can see you. Now, how many of you have FOUND other people’s spam (that’s what it is – unwanted, unwarranted, unbelievable) on your wall? Sucks, doesn’t it? Hell, I get upset when I see a friend getting spammed, even if they don’t mind. I think it’s rude, if I’m not mistaken it’s a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service (psst! It’s in there! Check the first item in the “Safety” section).

If you’re a smart business person, you know better than to storm into someone’s cocktail hour like a bull on speed and start shouting about your exciting new service. If it helps you, spammers, think of Facebook as a cocktail hour. Or a birthday party. Or a baby shower. Or a wedding. Or some other place where your well-honed “hard sale” is not only ineffective but offensive to some. Is it worth the few sales you might make to turn off 100 for every 1 you sell? If your answer is “yes” feel free to leave my blog (if the lack of a zillion ads didn’t drive you off in the first place). If it’s no, consider this alternative: Contact people privately if you think they might be interested in something you have to offer. If they say no, let it go. How about a Facebook BUSINESS page where you can PROMOTE your business openly?

Don’t get me wrong here: There’s no need to keep mum about your job or aspects of your work on the personal side of Facebook since they’re a real part of your life and can spark engagement with people. It simply means that your personal profile (and anyone else’s, for that matter) is not a billboard or a place for you to promote.

They have places for that. They’re called ACTUAL Billboards.

Am I off base here? Tell me what you think.

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  • georgeeverett

    After less than a year , I am growing weary of FB. I do not want to play mafia, or Farmville, or whatever. Or get constant business promotions. I'm reminded why I started a new email to get away from friends who only forwarded jokes and attachments and rarely said anything of value. An option to decline or filter game and business clutter would be great-

  • monicamcnamara

    Huge pet peeve of mine too. I have emailed some local business' in my area to tell them to start a Business Page, I've been ignored mostly. Thought FB was going to shut those supposedly “friend” pages down??

  • halbenz

    Amen. “Nuff said…

  • http://hallublin.com/ Hal Lublin

    Hi George – You can actually filter out games and annoying apps from Facebook. I think you've given me my post for tomorrow. It's really important that every Facebook user have the experience they want from the site.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://hallublin.com/ Hal Lublin

    Hi Monica,

    There's another problem. These businesses and individuals are essentially tossing hand grenades – they're not there when they go off.

    As a result, they spend their time trying to measure sales when they SHOULD be measuring the damage they might be doing to their reputation.

  • http://hallublin.com/ Hal Lublin

    Thanks Hal. I love your name.

  • alisoncreamer

    I have 2 pages fans and friends. I try very hard not to promote biz on my personal page maybe like 10% of the time. If my friend wants me to link a biz promo to there page by adding them to the comment I will do so. I hope Im using FB correctly ? One change we see with FB as well is fanpages are not as easily found but Market place is. I don't want to see FB turn in to a craigslist. Im thinking FB might be on its way out if the monetize it to much.

  • http://blackdogsocialmedia.com/ caramandart

    The Facebook info section has spaces for employment so I think thats OK to have there, but agree that the original intent for Facebook is getting stretched. Sadly its not userfriendly so many people, unless they go looking ,really don't know about the privacy features and general etiquette.

  • http://blackdogsocialmedia.com/ caramandart

    Spambook is not userfriendly so that many people, unless they research it, don't know about the etiquette or privacy settings. We also have to worry, not just to control our direct promotions but if we're too happy, too depressing, too angry and so on. People shut us out for various reasons. I say all things in moderation.

  • http://hallublin.com/ Hal Lublin

    That's a good point. I think some people either leave things completely open or completely shut off because they don't know how to do anything else, and Facebook should feel the obligation to do so outside of a one time pop-up when they change policy or features. They have a tendency to heave changes on us without the detailed tutorials some need to fully understand how these changes are for the better.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  • http://hallublin.com/ Hal Lublin

    I agree with you, Alison, and that seems to be the tightrope that many social media platforms walk – the need to turn a profit (or at least pay staff) is challenged by the demand of the end user that the product remain free and pristine. The reality is that by giving us more control over our Facebook experience (something I discuss in my Friday post), I believe they're trying to find that balance. I don't want Facebook to become another craigslist either – some of this will just be something we have to live with and some of it is growing pains – I think it might be worth the wait to see how this evolves.

    Also, it's not just about the meat of the content, it's about the context. If you're a realtor there's a WORLD of difference to me between saying “On my way to go sit an open house” and “2 BEDROOM 1.5 BATH REDUCED PRICE ASK LET ME PUT YOU IN THE HOME OF YOUR DREAMS!!!!!!!” If you think anything I said applies to you, and you're concerned about how you might be coming off as overly “shouty”, just think about HOW you're posting what you're posting, and if there might be a more social way to do so. If you spark interest on the part of your friends, you can add more detail or even privately message them. A strong message becomes stronger when others help you share it, ESPECIALLY in the social media space. :-)

  • http://hallublin.com/ Hal Lublin

    Another great point! I can see why you separated these out. I actually wrote a post over at the SMMI blog a little while back about taking responsibility for your voice online – essentially being aware of how the things we share can paint an unintentional picture of us in other people's minds. You can read it here if you like:

    http://www.smminstitute.com/bl

  • http://www.afhill.com Andrea Hill (afhill)

    Self-serving and spammy posts are confusing to me. When a comment is left that is really obviously self-serving, it doesn't make sense to me why anyone would follow that link.
    If I see an introspective or interesting comment, I may click through to learn more about the author. But if the author is so disrespectful (and/or so unable to understand the topic of the post), I don't feel any inclination to give them traffic.

  • http://hallublin.com/ Hal Lublin

    I feel the same way Andrea, but someone must be clicking on them. My guess is that they're operating with a direct mail philosophy – they going to it KNOWING that at best they'll convert 1-2% of the people they reach.