Tired of Facebook Even After a 99 Day Hiatus


I’m starting to get sucked back into the vortex of time-wasting, Facebook. I’ve taken a few evasive measures. As Facebook’s iPhone app kept asking me to download and start using FB Messenger, I did one better, I just killed the FB app from my phone. And now when I realized I clicked a scroll down button on Facebook, I’m thinking of inflicting a penalty. I don’t want to be back on Facebook, BUT… If you work in digital marketing you know that Facebook is still pretty important.

Even if you are not advertising on Facebook, as a business, your “signals” are telling Facebook and all  it’s info-scribers what kinds of things you are promoting and publishing. And Google is known to use Likes, Shares, and Comments on Facebook to determine some of the social relevance. Facebook still carries a lot of weight in marketing, even if you’re not paying to show your pages to your fans.

And just so we’re on the same page here, part of the problem that everyone seems to misunderstand is this: Facebook is an advertising platform not a social network. It was a social network. It’s now more like a TV show you’re addicted to, even when you know it’s bad for you and a waste of time. When you’re on Facebook what other things could you be doing. It’s like your mom yelling at you, “You could go outside, for goodness sake.”

But Facebook is part of my life as a marketer. And from time to time I even have to turn off my AdBlock extension and see the awful ads on Facebook. This only happens when I’m actually building ads for clients. See, you can’t see the ones you are building if you’re using AdBlock. (grin) But when I open Facebook and AdBlock is paused I’m actually even more repulsed. And yes, I get the irony, that I actually build some of those ads for a living. Still I don’t have to love everything I do.

What I want to keep about Facebook.

  • Chit chat, ass grabbing, political pontificating, kid pics, and cats. (Okay, there are some dog pics that are as funny as the cat ones, but… Cats!)
  • Sharing a bit of my incidental non-sequiter world. (A few of these are already connected and post on my behalf: Instagram, Shazam) And some I just like to put up like, “Man this coffee is smokin today, and the ACDC is making everything go just a little bit faster and harder today.”
  • Actually communication with a few FB friends who like the messaging
  • Outreach to potential influencers on behalf of my clients
  • Building influencer communities for social media coordination and execution (everyone’s on Facebook, and the private groups work pretty well.)

What I want to kill about Facebook.

  • Ads, ads, ads.
  • Necessary paid reach to get my top friends to see what incidental stuff I’m saying.
  • Give me back my newsfeed. (Now so worthless I just stop using it at all.)
  • Big brother marketing data and demographic collection (you can do things to fight the data tracking on Facebook, but now that they are selling their bio-data you’ll see more not less remarketing slush as you travel around the web. Unless of course you use AdBlock.

And maybe that’s the point. We’d like a more personal and focused social network, but who’s going to pay for it without ads. The new buzz site is ello.com but they’ve been having some problems lately. How can they possibly build a stable platform and grow with any success after the investment money runs out. Would you pay for an ad-free user controlled experience on Facebook?

Hmm, we’re in quit a conundrum. We want our social media to be un-corporate and yet we are unwilling to pay for it. Of course, the net has primarily been based on the freemium model. And how hypocritical that I would be a digital marketer AND complain about digital marketing. And how can I use AdBlocker, it’s like an anti-marketing service?

But I’m in digital marketing not advertising. There’s a difference. I believe that good content (well-written, informative, helpful) can bring in more potential business than ads. By giving your customers good intelligence they will consider you when they are in the need of the types of services you provide. But social and content marketing is a little squishy. The numbers are harder to track than a pure click-to-buy model. But even if all the ads were blocked, and all the “native advertising” were turned off (Native Advertising: ads disguised as content) there would still be good content. That’s the kind of marketing I’m involved in.

Social might be one of the channels for distribution, but the content is king. Google thinks so as well. But again, I’m off track a bit. We need a place to hangout online, and today Facebook is the local town square. I prefer the real town square (in our case a trail around a lake) to a virtual one, but we need places to communicate and socialize online. Ello might succeed if they can get the formula right. Google+ might work if they’d really put some money and innovation behind it. But Google is fine with Facebook doing what it does. G+ is a much bigger play.

After 99 Days off I’ve come back to Facebook, but only about 20% of me. I’m still going to give myself a mental electric shock when I notice I’m “browsing” Facebook. And if I want to check-in on someone I’ll either call them, or go to their Facebook page with AdBlock fully engaged. I’m back, but only as a ghost of my former self.

What I learned is that I do enjoy some of the social aspects of social media. While I did get a lot of connection and activity on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Plus while I was off Facebook, there is still no substitute. Even as bad as it is, Facebook (with AdBlock on) is pretty good. I hate to admit that. But I didn’t find anything better. It’s still a time suck, but if you’re in need of some light entertainment, Facebook is better than reality TV.

Two tools you might like are:

Do what you do. Enjoy your web and social media as you like, but let’s find better ways to connect. And if you’ve got an ello.com invite to share I’m still waiting.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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