Antisocial behaviour

Antisocial behaviour

Why Facebook doesn’t want your business

I suppose there are translators who still don’t appear anywhere on the social networks, but there can’t be too many of them left. Everyone has their favourite and usually one they can’t stand. Mine have always been Facebook and Twitter respectively.

Why I’ve got no time for that irritating little blue bird is something I can’t quite put my finger on. I know there are people who love it and who say it provides them with a great deal of information, and even some clients. Maybe it’s because I was a very late adopter of the mobile phone and still struggle with a touchscreen keyboard; maybe it’s because I dislike the idea of the famous character limit or maybe it’s because I’m annoyed at the disproportionate amount of notice taken of so much of the trivial and irrelevant nonsense that appears on it. I also certainly see it as a waste of time I can’t afford. Whatever the reason, I don’t see myself ever making room for Twitter in my life.

With Facebook, on the other hand, I was already on the network long before I ever thought of using it for professional purposes. When the idea of doing that occurred to me, it seemed a natural thing to start a page for my business and, by using it to “like” other pages, start collecting information in my news feed to then share with colleagues. The page has served me well. It’s still my main source of articles for reposting and it now has almost 450 likes. I’ve made a lot of translator friends there and I’ve even found one or two clients. There’s just one problem: Facebook now appears to have decided it doesn’t want business pages.

It all happened a few weeks ago. My business page used to be a separate entity on Facebook: I was either logged in as myself or as my business, both had their separate news feeds and were able to “like” pages. The only real difference was that you couldn’t become “friends” with a page. Then, overnight, it all changed. Now the business page is very much subsidiary to my personal page. It’s still possible to find its news feed, but it’s buried away in a hidden corner. It can still “like” other pages, but that’s more difficult too – I had to go to the Help pages to find out how to do it. It’s clear that Facebook is trying to discourage and downgrade all business pages.

Why should it want to do that? I found what I imagine is the answer in an article I read a week or so later. It seems that Facebook is worried that its users are sharing less personal information. This is bad news for the network because it needs people to give these details in order to fuel its targeted advertising. So, it appears, it has decided that it wants to discourage me, and all the rest of us, spending so much time using it for business purposes and persuade me to go back to posting vignettes from my everyday life.

It looks, then, as if I may have to find some sort of replacement if I want to carry on as before. So where could I go? Given my feelings towards Twitter, its hardly likely to be there. I do, though, also use other networks, posting the same items as I put on Facebook via a tool called Buffer to Google+ and LinkedIn. I fear, though, that Google+ is a dead duck. I receive only very occasional feedback there for my posts and I know very few people who bother to look at it. I can see it disappearing within a very short time.

LinkedIn is a different proposition. Always Facebook’s more serious older brother, it is clearly orientated towards business networking, so it’s never going to dump the business user as Facebook seems to want to do. It has a great many users (more seem to be joining all the time) and the information feed from my contacts is becoming nearly as good as I was getting from Facebook. It’s also a much better way of targeting potential clients, either directly or through themed groups, which is something I’m just starting to get to grips with. It has some irritations, of course. Perhaps it’s a little pushy with its “People you may know” and I probably ought to prune out some of the pile of indiscriminate contacts I made when I first started using it, but the way Facebook is treating its business users I may well be spending more time there before too long. Unless, of course, someone comes up with a more interesting proposition…


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