Friday, April 20, 2012

Facebook is your god

Bow down before the one you serve.
You're going to get what you deserve.
- Head Like a Hole (Nine Inch Nails, 1990)

Embrace technology. Personally, I'd be lost without the Internet even though I am no longer on the cutting edge (Pinterest? Squidoo? Quora?).

But as any parent and employer knows, the youts (say it in a Brooklyn accent) can't hold a conversation with a live person in the flesh. They plug a term into the web and Wikipedia tells them what it means (and most of the time it is correct). But do real research? Write in long, flowing prose? How about knowing where to stick a stamp on a letter?

Yes, that last one may be irrelevant in a few years but you get the point. For all their sophistication - and they are sophisticated, worldy and multitasking whizzes - they have lost something quite important. Reality. And I don't mean watching other people's realities on Jersey Shore, The Kardashians or Family Jewels. I'll let Survivor slide a bit since a big chunk of the game is dealing with other people live and in (far too much, in some cases) the flesh.

Which brings me to everyone's favorite application - Facebook. I admit, I am on it all day but I do run a business page as well as a personal one. And it has been a blessing allowing me to find and reconnect with people from my past. There is nothing better than getting back in touch and then planning a get together - yes, face to face.

But how many of us rely on Facebook for all of our contact? And even scarier, how many businesses rely on it for their marketing? Keep in mind Facebook is free and is under no obligation to keep running for you. They do not even have to be accountable to you. Witness timeline. Have it our way. You can get it your way at Burger King (who remembers that jingle?).

So now Facebook wants to go public. I don't blame them. Make hay while the sun shines. Get out while the getting is good.

I am not going to say that this is the end of the social media era. Far from it. But I do want to make the point that Facebook is almost everyone's god right now. So far, a benevolent one. What happens when everyone, especially business, is so dependent that the power shifts firmly into Facebook's hands? You WILL pay us $5 per month (Bank of America had competition). You WILL pay as $50 per month. You WILL pay us $1000 per month. Etc...

Facebook is not the be all and end all. Be aware of the changing landscape and don't get caught in the frenzy. Ride the wave but have a backup plan in place.

In the mean time, who wants to LIKE my business page?
I would not mind getting more indebted to Mr. Zuckerberg, at least for a little while longer.


Brendan said...

I agree, if Facebook becomes the "world" that everyone lives in online, the Zuck may charging rent sooner or later.

But in the meantime, I already follow your Facebook Business profile! So how about you follow me back? :-)

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