Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Virtual Tongue: How NOT to Use Facebook for Business

Anyone that reads this blog or has connected with me on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other dozen or so social networks I belong to know that I'm a pretty reasonable guy. I know I need to be reasonable because I can be a little noisy at times (okay, a lot noisy). But I do try and create value for those I'm connected with whether that's sharing good posts, interesting podcasts I've recorded or helping friends re-broadcast their own messages.

This morning, I had someone friend me on Facebook that did NOT share my same values. After sending me six messages in two and a half hours, I had to pull the plug and un-friend this person. Part of me felt bad because this was only the third person out of a thousand plus friends (and three years on Facebook) that I disconnected with. But enough was enough.

I'm not sharing names because for the most part just to prove my point, here is a timeline of the six messages I received (just in case I might be overreacting)...
  • 6:06 AM - A wall post thanking me for my friendship (I reciprocated by cross-posting on this person's wall with a "nice to meet you too" message).
  • 7:32 AM - A request to become a fan of this person (I hate these requests for the most part unless a) you're a company I REALLY like or b) you're a close personal friend
  • 7:35 AM - An invite to join one this person's groups
  • 7:38 AM - An invite to attend one of this person's events/workshops
  • 7:51 AM - Another wall post thanking me for my wall post
  • 8:23 AM - Another invite to join yet another group
  • 9:15 AM - Aaron pulls the plug on our "friend-ship"
Did this person actually think that this type of behaviour was welcome? To bring this around to a dating analogy (you know I like dating analogies, right?) I felt an awful lot like I met this person in a bar, said "hello" as I was grabbing a round of drinks at the bar and then next thing I know, they were trying to stick their tongue down my throat. WHOAAAA! I don't know about you, but even as a guy I would find this to be a major turn off.

Fortunately, most brands have figured out that creating a spam-fest, especially in such a condensed period of time, is NOT a good idea. I mean this person didn't take any time to get to know me, engage me in any meaningful dialog or maybe comment on a post or two of mine. Unfortunately, there are more and more of these folks who don't get it coming into the world of social with no regard to etiquette or best practices.

Do you have a good story about a "virtual tongue" or a bad case of social etiquette? If so, please share it in the comments below.


  1. Aaron, for REAL. I had to defriend someone recently who sent me the request to become a fan of her like, 6 times. I ignored it the first 5, what made you think things were different?

    I also get invites to attend the same event (some tweetup thing that happens monthly, in CALIFORNIA, where I DO NOT LIVE) repeatedly, and it makes me nuts.

    I get enough bacn, thankyouverymuch Facebook annoyers!

    /rant :-)

  2. Sarah - amen sister! Thanks for sharing your un-best practice. ;)

  3. Love it. Oh, and thanks for posting on my wall! I mean, thanks for the possibility that you might post on my wall.

    There is one word that applies here...needy.

    I haven't had to block anyone yet, but there are some close calls. Even some people I know well overdo it by inviting me to the smae event more than once (say 5 times or more), etc. I didn't pull the plug because I know the person IRL, but it was tempting.

  4. Hi Aaron,

    Must be due to your Social Media Magnatism. Reminds me of this Seinfeld episode involving Kramer possessing the Kavorka:


  5. I too agree with these sentiments. To me, it is a big turnoff when someone sends me a request to become a fan of.... THEM. Isn't our reciprocal 'Friend' status enough? Why must you create a Shrine (Facebook Fan Page) all about you? I thought that's what the Facebook profile was for. Unless you're super-famous for something meaningful, I don't see a need for a You-Fan-Page, or the need for me to once again acknowledge that I'm a fan :D

  6. -Kami, you described it perfectly. "Needy!"
    -Dmitri, nice. you know how much I <3 Seinfeild, right?
    -Amybeth, the idea of a big puppy dog comes to mind. lots of slobber and jumping up and down. ;)

  7. Wow! Yeah, I'm not seeing you as "overreacting" ;)

  8. Heh heh... yeah, @Whurley, you know me. 'Cause this is how I roll...

  9. I like Dmitri's response. It's all because of your awesomeness Aaron! More seriously, I've had it happen too and it just feels slimy. Immediate unfriend/unfollow

  10. Great post Aaron!
    Another little tool that comes in handy when the situation isn't quite as dire is the Facebook "hide" button that takes over-posters out of your feed. I've had to use that more than once!

  11. This type of friending behavior is analogous to the auto-dm's on Twitter. Unfriend both, I say. Aaron, you're not the only one annoyed by Facebook behavior today. Check out this article in today's WSJ, http://su.pr/5AIdnk#

  12. -Ken, amen brother.
    -Catherine, thank you for stopping by. And thanks even more for connecting with me on Facebook. That was long overdue.
    -Warren, you are spot on. I haven't quite brought myself to categorically unfollow everyone that auto-DM's me on Twitter, I do find it VERY freaking annoying. Checking out the WSJ post now. Thanks for sharing.