Surprise, Facebook Lied to it’s Developers Too

So guess what, not only does Facebook not respect it’s users, it screws developers too.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says Facebook duped application developers into paying $375 for a phony [sic] security authentication, the latest to come out of the privacy investigation Facebook settled on Friday.

Basically Facebook charged extra to be ‘verified’ then did absolutely nothing to check the application. They sold developers an image which said verified.

I can’t say I’m surprised. You could start with “Facebook lied about” then throw in random words dealing with security and user privacy. Then with your title made, go find the facts to support it. You would not have any trouble finding them either. At every turn Facebook shows it’s distain for users privacy.

via: @thenetworkhub

More on Not Being the Customer

I wrote a while ago about not using services with no business model, but I’m even more wary of sites and services where I am not the customer. That’s any ad based site like say, Facebook.

Yes I am a begrudging user of Facebook, but I’m not their customer. I give them no money to use the service. The people that give them money are those that place ads in the sides of the site, they are the customers. Especially with Facebook this is worrisome since they have a bunch of data on me and they need to find a way to break out of display ads.

What might Facebook’s big idea look like? Well, it does have all this data. The company knows so much about so many people that its executives are sure that the knowledge must have value (see “You Are the Ad,” by Robert D. Hof, May/June 2011).

So this company that has a bunch of data about how I interact with people is out there and I’m not their customer, that should not make you happy.

I suppose that Google fits the same hold, but for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on it just doesn’t bother me. While I do think that Google has strayed from it’s don’t be evil mission, I think that Facebook never had that as a mission. They’re starting way further away from any place that puts me first.

Drawing a Line with Social Media

It’s not news to anyone that social media is everywhere. We’re all on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare, Gowala…at what point does it all this sharing of our life become too much? How much do we let our personal and business life become intertwined?

This is an especially poignant question for freelancers who do business under their own name. How far do you let business relationships join with your personal life? Do you want clients to see the latest pictures of your children? Do you want them to know how much we visit coffee shops to work?

For me this came up recently when a client wanted to know if I was on Facebook. If you’ve seen any of my tweets you’ll know that while I have a Facebook account I’m not really a fan of the service (and we’re not even talking about their privacy crap yet). It took a few tries to communicate with the client that while I was on Facebook it was not a place that I did business, so even if they did friend me I would not approve the request.

I know that many businesses have had great success getting work from Facebook but I’ve decided to draw a line on business joining my personal life and Facebook is off limits. I don’t have a business Facebook page and I won’t approve your ‘friendship’ with me if we strictly do business together. I honestly don’t really care if you’re upset about it. I don’t even approve all of my college/highschool/gradeschool friends and we were truly friends at one point. While it ‘s sorta neat to see where they are and what they’re doing we don’t hang out, I haven’t seen them in years, we’re not really friends now.

I think that everything has to have boundaries, places that aren’t open for everyone to see. If we let business in to every spot in our life then there is no place we can go an unwind, no place that is truly personal. That’s why I turn my phone off at night and why not everyone gets to tread on my Facebook profile, it’s reserved for friends, people I interact with on a regular basis that mean something to me on a personal level.

So yeah if we do some business together and we’re friends on Facebook you should feel lucky, you’re in a select group of people that I’ve let cross that boundary.

WordPress Stackexchange Question of the Week – November 1 – 7

This week’s instalment is a bit self serving, I answered the question. Ever wanted to add a custom image to your single blog posts that show up on Facebook? If you’re already using post thumbnails (featured images) then it’s entirely possible with a line of conditional code in your header and some extra code in your loop. Head on over to wordpress.stackexchange.com and see my answer.

Wasting Time with Social Networking

wasting time with social media?
wasting time with social media?

Unless you have had your head in the sand you have heard of social networking. Social networking is the big craze right now. Many people would tell you that if you’re not using social networks with your business your missing out on customers. There are people that make their entire living teaching you how to maximize your social network. I’m not entirely sure that you need to be on social networks to have a successful business though.

The Success

The evangelists for social networking are always the people for which the medium has worked (which should be obvious). Of course you get referrals from your 4000 twitter followers. You have 4000, I would hope that one in there knows someone who needs your services.

The problem for most people is that they don’t have 4000 followers or a few hundred linkedin connections so they draw from a smaller pool of possible referrals. This represents the vast majority of people on these social networks.

The Time

Next we often here that it just takes time to build up big numbers of followers and connections. Of course this is true it takes some amount of time to do anything. More of something often means more work put in at some point.

I have been on twitter since January 2008 and have done lots of posts, send lots of interesting links and don’t just advertise myself. I try to just be me which is what everyone says you should do. I have 752 followers. I have watched people put up the same links I do (after me sometimes) and get more return in followers and interaction from that small amount of time.

I have watched people that started on social services after me that have far surpassed me. They will tell you how many refferals they get, which is great for them. For some reason it just doesn’t seem to happen for me despite all of my time input and the fact that I follow all of the best ‘advice’ of the ‘pros’.

The Punch Line

Of course I sound jaded and jealous, I wouldn’t disagree many days, but I wonder more how much time we waste on social networking that could be spent with our families. If we spent the time tweeting and communicating on facebook with our significant others instead I’m sure those people would feel much more valued than they do.

Really at the end of the day social networking needs to have some form of ROI. The ROI for you can be business or social, it really doesn’t matter. As long as you get some value for the time you invest it paid off.

I personally enjoy twitter so for me that is enough. It’s nice to chat with people and some business connections may happen but really it’s just fun.

So for the future I won’t participate in networks that I get nothing from (Facebook I’m looking your way) and will spend time on the ones I do get something from.

Heck if I sound mildly interesting you can even follow me Twitter Plug.

Anyone else have thoughts on the social networking phenom? Is it worth all the time we sink into it?

Build Some Social Capital First

build social capital
build social capital

Over the last few years social media has become a huge item for both personal users and business alike. Most people have a facebook profile. Many people and businesses now even have a twitter accout. But not everyone yet.

I was recently asked to do some social media consulting for a business. They wanted to know all of the normal stuff like what ages and target markets are on social networks. Which networks they should focus on. Should they let employees use social networks during work to talk to clients?

What they failed to grasp though was that they needed to invest in the networks before there was anything to get back out of them.

They have an event in 3 weeks and wanted to advertise it on Twitter and Facebook. Of course advertising over those sites is great, the problem is they don’t even have accounts on them. No account means you have no followers. No followers means you have no one to market too.

What they failed to grasp was that in many ways social media is like a bank account. You don’t just open an account and start taking money out (and if you know of pre-filled bank account leave it in the comments). Before you can get anything out you have to put something in.

So if you want to use social media as an extra way to advertise your service or event remember it’s not magic. You have to cultivate you followers, fans and friends before social media has anything to return to you.

Using Social Media to Market your Business

Most people out there now have profiles in a number of social media networks. From Facebook to Twitter most of us are familiar with social media and how it can help us connect with people. It is also possible to use the power of social media to find new clients, but how.

It’s in the details

First make sure that your contact details are up to date. I recently came across a wonderful photo on Flickr that I would have happily purchased from the photographer. Unfortunately I could find no way to get in touch with them, even though their profile listed that they were a professional photographer for hire. They lost a potential return customer (I produce newsletters ever month that theirs style would have fit) all for lack of contact data.

Along with the contact details goes the profile information. A potential client should be able to find out who you are and what you do at a quick glance. They will not dig around trying to find out what you do, unless you’re well known, they will just look for someone who lists what they do in an easy to find manner. We have all heard that the competition is only a click away and to a certain extent this is true. The potential client wants you to be the person to help them but if they get frustrated figuring out what you do or how to contact you off they go to the competition.

Network, network, network

Most people would rather work with people they feel they have some relationship with. I recently had some PHP coding work to do that was beyond me. I first went to Twitter and asked if anyone was interested. Unfortunately I didn’t find anyone that could do what I needed so I posted the job on a job board and looked at other avenues for getting someone to do the work. I ended up remembering a friend who might be able to do it and he at least had a name of someone who could do get the work done. Honestly I would have much rather had someone on twitter do the work, though I’m not displeased with the arrangement, just because it would have been easy for me. I have had some interaction with many of the people that I follow on Twitter so I feel like I know them, they’re kinda like pen pals. Helping out a friends is always a nice and you feel safe working with someone that you trust.

I have another friend who participates in forums and Twitter and writes a blog. Niki recently got asked to contribute to a new project by Envato. She is a great designer but already had contacts with the company as they run the one of the forums she participates in. I’m not sure what other contacts she had but I don’t think they were face to face (she lives in the USA they in Australia). This will give her tonnes more exposure in the design industry and move her career forward. I have also been asked to contribute to other blogs via twitter.

Actually Participate

Make sure that you don’t just favourite your own stuff. People don’t mind you tooting your own horn but if that’s all you do they will quickly become irritated and you will be hurting your name/brand. Adding some self promotion now and again is generally fine but participate in the community as well.

I am an avid Stumbleupon user, I love to find new inspiring art and I admit I use it to “like” my blog posts. I see a few hundred visitors a day from Stumbleupon. I have a number of people that are my friends because they love the things I find. Ultimately more traffic to my blog (or your site) translates into a greater chance that a potential customer will come along.

Participation also gives you opportunity to build your brand. I do everything with just my name. All forum usernames, profiles are my name. I am using it as my brand. Yeah very few people are looking for me know but hopefully that will change. I have actually noticed that there are more and more searches for my name (and I asked my mom it’s not her). Eventually this will translate into customers.

Check out my profiles: Twitter | Linkedin | Facebook | Flickr