Companies: Facebook Pages Suck?

Facebook company page = ad profile. You are a Fan, not a Friend of the company.

Facebook is about meaningful networks full of meaningless banter. Oh sure, there’s jobs and classifieds and technical titbits being traded and virally distributed, but don’t tell the companies that, will you!

Uh Oh.

Too late. Facebook pages are here.

Some background.
Last year to join Facebook you had to have an American University email address. Preferably one that ended in @harvard.edu. Missing that? Bad luck.

Then Facebook opened up pubicly. In May 2007 – 6 months ago – Facebook created F8 – a developer thingie – so that little applications could be made. This turned Facebook into an operating system (with lots of little applications, like a cute Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP). With me so far?

97% of members logon monthly. 63 % daily logons. That’s a huge number by the way.

200 Australians are joining up hourly. Today 1,168,053 people have fessed up to being Australian (Network). However 1,842,500 (Nov 14th 2007, 12:30pm) are coming through the Aussie IP range. I wonder where the other third think they live? By Christmas 10% of the Australian population (21 million total) will be on Facebook. Throwing sheep, discussion restaurants, trading jobs, and links, performing social search.

Cue the companies. Bring in Fandom and Pages. Pages are not ads on the sidebar. They are similar to Profile pages (brochure webpages on the ‘net) that are easy to create. If you want to create your ad there’s a different page):

More relationships.

Now, we’ve built a way for you to connect to things other than people, without cluttering your Friend List. I love the Indian restaurant downstairs from Facebook HQ, and now that Junnoon has a Facebook PageOpens in a new tab. , I can become a fan. This is useful, not just to let Junnoon know I love their food, but also because my friends can see this affiliation on my profile or in their News Feeds and then go to Junnoon’s Page to learn more about it — or even make a reservation, thanks to an OpenTable app installed right on the page.

Why the feck do we have to have these unequal relationships with companies? Why am I a Friend on Profiles and a Fan on Pages? Please don’t tell me I’m reading more into it than I should. I really don’t think I am. ‘Fan’ from wikipedia:

A fan, aficionado, or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking of a sporting club, person, group of persons, company, product, work of art, idea, or trend. Fans of a particular thing constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may start a fan club, hold fan conventions, create fanzines, write fan mail, or engage in similar activities.

In a few cases, individual fans may become so obsessed with the objects of their infatuation that they become obsessive. These fans engage in behaviors that are considered extreme or abnormal[1]. This includes idolatry or other forms of worship, such as creating a personal shrine dedicated to the idol at one’s home, and can sometimes extend to the point of the fans becoming stalkers.

This is how we maybe should feel about companies we deal with. But we don’t want to be told that’s how we feel about them.

When I talk to companies, I ask them the Purpose of the Community. Their answer invariably is “so that customers can come and talk about our products and services”. Well, that’s great if your brand inspires that sort of commitment. Harley Davison. Wired Magazine. Any Sports Club. But dental hygiene and household cleaning products have a challenge.

So.. if you dont have that sort of following, you need something cleverer than slapping up a Facebook page. Kevin Rudd moved his 21,000 waiting Friends to Fans (you can only have 5000 friends on Facebook profiles, but companies have huge databases). Are we fans of politicians? or are we intelligent, articulate, enquiring minds who want to engage in discussion around social issues?

I don’t spend all my time trying to explain to companies how the consumer now has the voice and the media distribution channel to engage in an real relationship with the company, just to have them diminished back to fans. Seriously. ‘Fans’ has to go.

Heavens. I thought consumer and user were ugly words.

Come be my fan on Facebook Pages. Or else you’ll be in big trouble. (The writing on the screenshot is little-itty-bitty: “A piss-take of Fandom in Facebook. Sign up or I will come to your house and tickle you. In front of your family! Every Nobody is a Public Figure (even me). Everyone has least one Fan *points a the mirror*.”

Still. I bet I get more fans than you do. 😀

For the record, Facebook Applications is still the way to go. Not an advertising brochure on the web but an application that has some use to the consumer. Zuckerberg (CEO Facebook) said the power of Facebook Applications was that the member didn’t realise they were consuming advertising and passing them on. It could be the Tripadvisor Map or Organise Trip applications or whatever. Cleverness itself. Facebook Pages is not clever. You weigh it up – you wanna be a fan or you want to use something useful?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

4 thoughts on “Companies: Facebook Pages Suck?

  1. “This is how we maybe should feel about companies we deal with. But we don’t want to be told that’s how we feel about them.”

    Agree 100%. It’s tacky and soul-less. Sigh.. is it all down hill from here?

  2. …yes.

    Actually, no. Facebook can create as many digital graveyard pages as the rest of the ‘net does. Y’know, pretty pages that never update. Groups sucks, pages will suck more.

    However, I’m into the personality applications right now. 🙂 and buying pixel drinks. Over the sheep thing, but. 😛

  3. I’m a year or two late on this but, awesome post Laurel, i love the comment from Zuckerberg – “the power of Facebook Applications was that the member didn’t realise they were consuming advertising and passing them on” – bang on 🙂

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