9 May 2013

Is Facebook Boring?

Honestly, I did NOT want to go on Facebook ever, I viewed it as low cultured, a time drain and addictive. All that insight, without even holding an account!

It was in 2008 when colleagues at LBC Radio kept nagging, or suggesting to me that I 'should really' get onto Facebook but I resisted.

In August 2009, after about 6 months of running My Coffee Stop, with my partner, Gunter Hollenstein and several suggestions from my peers that it would be good for my business, I reluctantly set up a Facebook account and a Twitter account.

I have enjoyed an amazing amount of success using these two and other social media platforms to raise the profile and the profits of my business, resulting in great press, tv exposure and translating into real cash, with sales increasing too. I was frustrated that other businesses didn't know these secrets, so I set up a forum for an exchange of ideas about how best to use social media for your business called, The Ideas Station. A once a month meet up in my shop in the evening for free, with coffee, tea and cake provided.

Attendees said it was so good, I should charge, then a few months later, they said I should charge more. Individual business owners started coming to see me for some spot on free advice and help for their business, so I could train them in how social media would help them. I wanted every independent business in my local area to be able to have the choice to use these different platforms to connect with their customers, potential customers and their community. I had to start charging for the one to one sessions after being let down by some no shows.

So, I had now grown from a coffee shop owner into a social media trainer too and the two businesses feed off and support each other.

I have now successfully applied for funding from the Enfield Residents Priority Fund, to teach business women in the Edmonton area, how to successfully use social media in their own businesses.

However, just recently, I've had a niggling doubt about the effectiveness of Facebook, it's becoming less personal and more corporate every second.

Forget about my business for the moment, looking at this as a personal user, I just looked at my newsfeed and rather than seeing lots of lovely updates about what my friends have done, I'm seeing lots of business updates, I'm invited to some 83 different events at the moment, some of which I have no interest in whatsoever, why did they invite me? I know I can change my settings and change what is shown but I'm feeling dissatisfied and turned-off of Facebook.

It's been so successful and worked so well, for a time, that it is now crowded, noisy and just UNCOOL! I'm saying this despite the fact it has helped me so much in my business and even helped me to run a very successful campaign to increase the profits and profiles of local independent businesses, through SHOCK Cash Mobs.

My original view that it is addictive and a drain on your time still stands true but I feel I've had a reluctant love affair with the Facebook beast and now it's time to find something different because conversely, what was working for my business on Facebook isn't so powerful anymore. The dilution of each post becomes more apparent, each time we crowd our Facebook connections with inappropriate invites and randomly add them to new groups that we don't even really know if they have an interest in.

So, yes, I'm admitting it, I AM BORED WITH FACEBOOK! I feel jaded and worn out with it. That exciting ping as I'm notified of an invitation to a local event, has deadened into an unwelcome thud, a drain on my resources, as I decline again and again, or can't decide between 10 great events in one day.

Then there is the responsibility of being a publisher, each and everyone of us is publishing when we press that 'post' button and sometimes the decision to post something that seems informative, can actually just stir up anxiety and Chinese whispers style speculation.

Facebook has maybe become the red topped, tabloid equivalent of the social media world, loads of people love that style of journalism. I don't.

What do you think?

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