It started innocently enough. I was visiting the Facebook page from a friend from my high school days and wanted to write on his wall and I noticed a familiar multifamily housing industry face on the “mutual” friends’ section. I was intrigued. Was it possible that one of my industry colleagues knew my friend, Ed? The one who sat across the aisle from me in Calculus? Who married his high-school sweetheart and who was profiled in a best-selling book?
It absolutely does seem possible, especially after I reminded myself that the sister of a long-time industry friend of mine lived next door to me. So, I e-mailed Ed and asked him how he happened to have a mutual friend with me, one with whom we didn’t go to high school.
“I don’t know him,” was the answer. “He sent me a Friend Request and I rarely turn those down.”
Hmmm. I admit. I was puzzled. Why would someone randomly friend one of MY friends? Then it happened again, and again, and again. And I figured it out. These people were “scraping” my Friends list. Why? I have no idea. But clearly, they were raiding the list of my Facebook friends for some reason.
I let it go. Why let that bother me? But then, I noticed something else. On subsequent visits to Ed’s page (Ed and I happen to be pretty good Facebook friends) I saw that Ed was “liking” pages of other multifamily housing colleagues. Wow, what’s up with that? Ed’s not even in the business. And it hit me again: other multifamily housing industry vendors were also scraping my Friend List and asking my non-industry friends to “like” their pages. Why? Again, I have no idea.
Another example of Facebook Abuse (it deserves to have capital letters because it all really is bad, bad form) is what I call, “Self Promotional Tagging.” Luckily, this hasn’t happened to me. But, it has happened to a few of my clients on Facebook. And they all – it’s unanimous -- detest the practice.
Here’s how “Self Promotional Tagging” typically works: An industry vendor posts something to their own page. Whether it’s a new product announcement, a story about a success of theirs or something else, it’s almost ALWAYS a promotional announcement. To make certain that potential purchasers see the post, the vendor “tags” people in the item. That way, it shows up on the potential purchasers’ Facebook pages walls. And, as I said, it’s a practice that’s universally disliked by the recipients with whom I’ve spoken.
These are three abuses taking place regularly on Facebook. If you’re doing it, stop. If you’re considering doing it, don’t. All these do is annoy the recipient and make you look far too self-promotional in the process.
Finally, many companies ask me to “like” their businesses. Some, I liked, so I thought it was okay to “like” them (as in Facebook liking). For others, I either had no experience with them or simply did not know the people involved in that business. So, I didn’t “like” them. After all, “liking” something on Facebook is akin to an endorsement, most would agree.
Therefore, if I “like” it, I must think it’s good enough to recommend. And if I don’t know it, I can’t “like” it. Confusing, isn’t it? Well, just remember that “like” is the Facebook form of like and plain old like, is just that--you like something. Stick with those rules and you’ll understand this piece.