Up Front Disclaimer: Many of you will NOT like this post. That's okay and I understand but please! Let’s keep our discussion cordial.
Thank you and have a nice day.
Once upon a time there was a young lad named Mark Zuckerberg who went to an Ivy League University where he received an extravagantly expensive education. Mr.Zuckerberg invented (some would say tweaked) a newfangled online social networking program that caught on with the college kids. Legalities, morals, ethics, and all that other stuff aside, he blazed a trail for the way 95.99% (my made up number) of people use their computers and became the youngest multimillionaire on earth, undoubtedly making his parents very proud and relieved that they wouldn’t have to sell any of their organs on the black market to pay off their son’s college loans.
The program...? Facebook.
Ah Facebook! Who can remain neutral when your name pops up in conversation as so often happens? It has been said that Facebook is like the refrigerator – we know what's in it already but still we stand before it, peering inside and hoping for something fresh and delicious to reveal itself. Facebook has usurped our vocabulary, nibbled away our free time and spawned industries and careers and conferences: Social Media Managers, Online Promotions, Facebook Fixer programs, Page Developers, Page Managers, and lidded coffee cups to name but a few.
She who invents a spew - screen protector will make a fortune.
I like Facebook; I am not ashamed to admit it.
However, not everyone does, and that’s okay. There are enough networks out there on the interwebz for everybody to enjoy. We who are moms of teens and young adults know this, wink wink.
But let’s just stick with Facebook for today, because I have something to say. Something of vital importance. Something that desperately needs to be said, heard and understood.
Are you still with me?
Okay, good. ‘Cos this is gonna
Facebook… that fun place where we post baby pictures and joke about our cats and shame our doggies and brag on our children and ogle beautiful shirtless people and cowboys in tight jeans and listen for gossip and news and find recipes and the newest miracle cure for splotchy complexions…?
Facebook is… A Business.
I’ll wait while you digest that. Take your time. It’s a revolutionary thought and it’s going to take some getting used to the concept.
How's that Pamela? you ask. Facebook? A business?
Dial your minds to ten (ok,twenty-mmph for me) years ago.... You had a cute computer in your toy box and you learned how everything works watching Mr.Rogers and Sesame Street. You moved on to Pokemon and Japanese anime,then graduated to personal GameBoys and Nintendo DS and PC gaming and World of Warcraft until Wii came knocking on your door. Your MySpace page rocked Britney Spears and sparkly winged horse pictures. You got carpal tunnel from texting on your flipphone/sliderphone/smartphone and now… texting is so 2013. You take Vines and post to Tumblr. If only your college professors would do the same, because that would save you from renting and cluttering your tablet/ereader/Ipad with textbooks. Watch? Alarm clock? What are those?
So, Miss/Mr. Computer World Sophisticate…
How does the world sell you yoga pants or breakfast cereal or womens’ fiction or DragonCon tickets when you’re online all the time?
Facebook. (I know... Amazon too. But we’re sticking to Facebook for today.)
Not so long ago SMMs (Social Media Managers) told us to Make a Facebook Page! Be a Brand! Write a blog! and Engage! Engage! Engage!
And so we did... do.
We post pictures of our fun times at conferences. We share BuzzFeed quizzes to find out your alien Princess name. We congratulate our friends on their publishing contracts and new releases.
We wage ManWar.
We support our friends' signing appearances and Kindle rankings and blogs. We discover our friends' friends' jewelry businesses. We share our organizations' contests and conferences and parties.
We sell our products - and others' products - ourselves.
Remember how Facebook used to post ads on the sidebar saying "Pamela Mason 'likes' Dreamland BBQ", with the subtle suggestion that you, as Pamela's friend, should 'like' Dreamland BBQ too? Now Facebook's taken off the gloves.
It's not so subtle anymore.
Facebook has changed up the rules (for the two hundredth eleveneth time) “Say what…?! You want money to promote my post?" "My page’s organic reach is down to three, besides my own mom?”
“Yep,” Facebook answers.
And in the cold light of the business world, Facebook has every right to do so because- gasp! - Facebook is a publicly held business listed on the NASDAQ and trading at $59.16 at the time of this writing.
Facebook’s shareholders want to see a return on their investment - kinda like we all hope to see a return on our kids’ college degrees. Yeah… don’t think I haven’t pitched some crazy computer program app ideas to my own sons majoring in IT.
Crazy thought here but YOU and I can buy shares and invest in Facebook too if we want to cough up $59.16 + fees! And not only can us little people who post about puppy-pharts (yes, that was me… I mean- my dog!) own Facebook shares, but big companies, like Pillsbury, Clairol, Starbucks, Mashable, Macy’s, Dell, Microsoft…
Yes. More than likely they all own Facebook stock - lots of stock. Enough so they’re probably on Facebook's board and calling the shots.
So… extrapolating what we have here - Facebook on the Nasdaq stock exchange, NYT Bestselling author of Lean In Sheryl Sandberg as Facebook COO, and the fact that over half of Facebook’s users are US females with 24% in the 25 - 34 age bracket, and a whopping 31.1% (!) (raising my hand here) in the 35 - 54 age bracket... *
I have to ask:
Why are we mad at Facebook for acting like any other business?
Why are we wondering why Facebook is trying to make money off of us?
Why, Fellow Women Facebook-Users, are we complaining about this?
Call me a Glass-Half-Full kinda girl, but this is what I think:
1. Money makes the world go ‘round. Women are being marketed to by the Pillsbury Doughboy via social network, and that same network wants US to pay THEM to use it for our own marketing.
2. Ergo, We women have Power. Women who are Entrepeneurs, Authors, Bloggers and Business Owners have... say it with me... Power!
3. Being a Brand is what all of us writers and authors MUST work our little tushies off to master, because our work is a tangible, marketable PRODUCT to sell. For money. Hopefully lots of it.
4. We will be seeing more and more ‘virtual’ marketing opportunities for selling our products, and social networks are vehicles to get started. Think Google+ Hangouts. YouTube. Vine.
Visual * Short * Fun
5. In the next five years, women WILL rule the world.
‘Sokay, one more thing and I’ll sign off and that thing is spelled
M E T A D A T A
Yes, Metadata...about YOU! That’s what Facebook shareholders are paying for. It’s what Amazon and the Jolly Green Giant wants. It’s why you have ads showing up on the sidebar of your newstream for Romance novels by...
Every time you click a link, share a post, or “Like” somebody’s status (especially if that somebody is a Brand, like say… Martha Stewart or Nora Roberts) little nuggets of your information is sent by the tiny green diode-men inside your computer to tell Facebook's shareholders what you looked at, how long you looked at it, what time of day you looked at it, what you looked like when you looked at it....
Wait… no, not really that last one! Did I scare ya?
Look at “IT” - whatever “IT” may be - and what happens? Amazon hits your email with something like this: “Best Selling Romance Novels on Kindle Today!”
I dunno about you all, but I'm going to start looking at A L L of my friends' books....
We can outsmart Facebook, people...
we just have to learn how to play their game.
*(source: ibtimes.com- iStrategyLabs Jan.2014)
P.S.Did you know that technology is being tested that allows you to watch television and purchase goods off commercials WITH THE PUSH OF A BUTTON ON YOUR REMOTE?
Now drone delivery doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore, does it?
Think about it.