How Should Facebook be Used? – Part III
Welcome to part III on how Facebook should be used. In part 1, I talked about my inspiration for creating this article. In part II, I covered six types of Facebook users. Today, I will complete the series and give you my tips on how to maximize Facebook use, both from a personal and professional stand point.
I’m taking these Facebook “types” from an article I recently read called The 12 most annoying types of Facebook users.
The Paparazzo – In the CNN article, the author is referring to your friends who tag you in photos they’ve put on their page. In real life, we have a much bigger paparazzo to fear – ourselves! We love to post photos of things we do and people we care about, but we have to think about what that can do in the wrong hands. You’ve probably heard about the family photo that became a life-sized ad in Czechoslovakia. How about the woman whose child’s picture was used as part of an adoption scam? Pretty scary! Those are two reason’s why it’s important to think before you upload and not accept every friend request you receive. Google does a great job in its picture search, so don’t think it can’t be found. How about a Facebook friend who likes one of your photos and puts it on a blog or message board? You can’t really control that, so you should limit your exposure on a personal level.
From a marketing standpoint, it seems that people’s natural urge to share could be used to promote a message. If only someone could make a Lolcat that promoted a business that didn’t seem like an ad. Hmmm. How about a video?
The Obscurist – This is the friend that constantly posts status updates you think are meant for certain individuals in their network. It turns out nobody gets their obscure updates. I’ve found a lot of TV commercials to be this way as well. In this day and age of information overload, it’s far too easy to just ignore obscure messages and references. Does anybody wonder where Dennis Miller went? Now you know.
The Chronic Inviter – The brilliant feature of Facebook and the reason it has exploded in popularity is it’s easy to invite people. Every aspect of it encourages sharing, especially ads, games and building the network. Personally, I’m selective of who I invite to games or even into my network. Just because I went to school with someone twenty years ago doesn’t mean we could or should be friends today. But there’s always someone, sometimes more than one, who you get all the annoying “app” invitations from. Some of them are fun, but most are just stupid. All of them however are run by companies that exist for the sole purpose of mining your personal data and all the friends that you tell them about.
When you agree to an app, you’re warned that all your data will be imported, even if you can’t see a preview of the application you’re about to participate in. The default setting for new apps is to allow and communicate with everyone in your network. This can be changed later, but even if you quit an app, that company still has your info and that of your friends.
This is a huge privacy issue and Facebook should make changes to protect their members. Companies looking to Facebook for advertising purposes should keep this in mind and act ethically. Please be aware of this the next time you decide to invite a friend for a virtual drink.
Facebook is an amazing application for this digital world we live in. It’s great for personal use and as a web marketing tool. Unfortunately, we all fall into at least one of the “annoying” types of users. If we’re aware of this behavior we can make improvements to be better friends and better netizens.
My takeaway from writing this article and examining these types of users is we can definitely learn a lot. If you’re an “over promoter” but are gaining friends and referalls, you’re probably doing it right. If you’re a “lurker,” maybe put yourself out there a little bit more. Surely you’ve got something to offer the conversation? If you’re a “crank,” maybe rephrase your criticism. It may be a digital world, but at the other end of the comment is a human being that does have feelings.
The beauty of the Internet is you can test, change and adapt your approach to just about anything. What we think about Facebook today will most certainly be different in the future. So what’s the best way to use Facebook? It’s the way that best helps you meet your own goals.
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