This week, I'd like to share two true Facebook stories with you. Each of them illustrates a problem in communication. Facebook is a very large and growing venue that facilitates communication between people all over the world. There are, however, several communication issues that crop up and can make your Facebook experience less desirable. In fact, these are issues that can alienate your Facebook friends.
Since so many people establish relationships through Facebook for both personal and business purposes, I feel these two issues are vital to discuss and understand.
It's Word Wednesday and this week's word is "inadvisable
One of the latest changes Facebook had made was to create new Facebook groups which allow you to add any or all your friends without their consent. I found this a curious act for a company that works so incredibly hard not to allow people to add to their friends those they are not somehow connected to through mutual friends.
Facebook takes a dim view of requesting friendships with people with whom you do not have a list of mutual friends. In fact, you may have experienced your posting privileges being taken away temporarily for having done so. I've been told that Facebook has banned people for abusing this rule.
So why is it that Facebook would encourage members to add their friends to a group without their knowledge or consent? If I request a friendship with Mary and she doesn't want it, she can simply ignore me. If I add Mary to a group (Pigs Knuckle, Arkansas Association of 5' Tall Real Estate Investors Who Wear Purple), she'll get 500 emails a day telling her who just joined along with all the postings from my friends who are wondering why they were added! Until Mary logs onto the group, finds the "Leave the Group" link and it takes effect, her inbox is stuffed!
Thankfully, I have only been added to groups about six times since this has been made "Facebook Legal", but I wonder how many have lost Facebook friends over this? I know for a fact that folks have "unfriended" people who send out mass Facebook messages to their entire friend's list. "Tupperware Party at my house on Friday!" People are so upset by spam that there laws to protect people against unwanted emails. In fact, people are so upset by spam that whole Yahoo groups have been destroyed by a few who will not adhere to the no spam rules set by the group. Legitimate businesses adhering to the spam rules have had their ISP blocked because a subscriber simply forgot they had subscribed or didn't want to go to the trouble of unsubscribing so they simply clicked "Report as Spam."
Adding 3000 people to an obscure group not only puts someone into a group with whom they may not want to be associated, but it generates a TON of emails! It communicates several other things as well.
1.You overstepped your boundaries
You didn't think enough about them to even ask
if they wanted to be part of this group. You took it upon yourself without even consulting them. I'd be willing to bet that these same people would be upset if they began receiving emails or mail or phone calls from The National Marine Biologists Association because Mildred signed them up without their knowledge or consent.
2. You don't respect their time
The sheer amount of emails one could potentially receive after being added to a group is staggering! Can you imagine getting 20 phone calls from The Merry Wives of Farnsworth? Gee Willakers! That's why the Do Not Call List is so popular!
3. You don't really know them
Sending out a Tupperware Party invitation to 3000 of your closest Facebook Friends is just silly. How many of them actually live in Arkansas? I don't. Mable doesn't and I'd be willing to bet at least 2500 of her Facebook friend's list is too far to attend. How many of Mable's Facebook friends are Marine Biologists? Even if you view being added as a gift, how many of you recently received a Christmas gift from someone this year that wasn't anything you'd ever use? If that gift was from someone you thought should know you, you probably didn't feel like they did.
4. They are only a number to you
One thing I've read over and over about marketing, is that you should communicate as if you are speaking directly to that person. Sending out a mass Facebook message doesn't treat that person as an individual. It doesn't' speak directly to them. If it doesn't apply to them or interest them in the least, they feel like a number. Automatically adding your entire friend's list to your group communicates that they are only a number, especially if they don't have any interest in the group topic.
The more serious problem with this new Facebook group feature is that anyone can add you to the group, not just the person who formed the group. Recently someone created a group and added me to it. I left the group. An hour later I was added again. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell this group that I do not want to be a member. There is no feature on Facebook that allows me to choose NOT to be added to a group without my permission.
Adding your Facebook friends to a group is just inadvisable. If you create a group, I'd much rather you send me an email asking me to join. In fact, I might be much more inclined to do so, if asked!
What are your thoughts?