Never a day goes by without me hearing of another case of how people are getting more and more hacked off about Facebook and its never-ending crappy applications. All I can say is, I can feel the pain.
There used to be a time when someone would ask me what the difference was between Facebook and MySpace and I would immediately answer “Facebook is the mature adult version of MySpace”. These days, I can’t say that without cracking up and apologising for telling such a blatant lie.
Looking at my Facebook account today, I have 138 friend requests from people I don’t know and I have been “poked” by 59 complete strangers (which isn’t as exciting and kinky as it sounds). I have countless requests to write on people’s walls, look on my own walls, install this, install that, accept this gift, that gift, read a fortune cookie, play a game, stab my enemies, poke my pals, answer questions about my life, update my status, send love cards to someone, and all the other pointless time-wasting crap that has somehow managed to steamroller its way into my life.
In other words, Facebook is now no better than MySpace – except when you visit someone’s Facebook page, you don’t get Mariah Carey’s music blaring through your speakers. But I’m sure that will come soon.
And now there’s Facebook Chat. Unaware that it had been rolled out the other day, I went to Facebook to check the fan page for a blog I write for and I was instantly ambushed by Facebook chat like I was Bruce Lee in some bad Kung-Fu movie. Suddenly I had messages coming at me from all directions and I couldn’t escape. I had to get out. I could visualise the Hollywood movie now – Saving Private Mark. Tom Hanks being given the mission to come into Facebook to rescue me from the marauding evil Facebookers who were surrounding me with their “Aw-rights?” and their “LOL”‘s. By the time I realised I could log out of the chat, I had been given the online chat equivalent of a good mauling.
But truth be told, anyone serious about social media and online marketing can never really walk away from Facebook. Any blog I work for and any client I get involved with always gets the same advice from me – set up a fan page on Facebook and make sure the link to your main website is prominently displayed. Plus make sure a RSS feed with your blog posts is then prominently displayed on your Facebook page. Because whether you like Facebook or detest it, it is still undeniably a very viral site. It is a site with a staggering amount of visitors of all demographics and those visitors are sooner or later going to find you and click through to your blog and / or your website. That’s the nature of the web these days. Social media rules the roost and you ignore it at your peril. That isn’t going to change anytime in the next few years – at least.
So yes, Facebook can be intensely irritating with all those invitations to read my palm, stab my enemies and accept virtual Winnie the Poohs from friends (and send one back of course) but then I weigh those against the advantages of the amount of traffic Facebook is capable of sending to a site and how many Facebookers can be turned into RSS subscribers on a blog, provided you have the right content to lure them in and keep them there.
That then makes me realise that getting poked is the lesser of two evils.
Written by Mark O’Neill