Facebook Leads the Present and Happiness

I’m noticing more and more people talking about their lives on Facebook. It’s usually when you turn your head to a monitor or peek towards a smartphone or tablet that you realise that what you’re looking at is the Facebook homepage. I see mums and dads, sons and daughters sitting at a table and logging on to Facebook to see what’s going on. I experience dinners with friends, work colleagues or clients where the first thing they do is to ‘check in’, or update their Facebook status or send a tweet saying that they’re with the person they’re actually sitting next to. The funny thing comes when we decide to take a picture and upload it to Facebook for hundreds/thousands of people to see, or perhaps use Instagram. I’ll own up to the fact that I’ve done it and still do it, yet would prefer not to do it so often.

I’ll Exchange the Present for Facebook

We are so often obsessed by the social media fever –or, social networking- that we miss what’s going on in the moment. In a sunset I experienced very recently, I was impressed to notice that practically 80% of the people there were taking pictures of the moment for later. More or less 50% of them would be uploading them to Facebook; my curiosity took the better of me and I asked many of them, with most of them confirming my hypothesis. On the other hand, only a few were actually enjoying the sunset. They were all logged on to Facebook, following their friends’ and family’s lives.

Some time ago, e-mail was the top online priority. I wonder whether the social media have taken on that role now or, on the contrary, if they still come in second.

Facebook, the Verb

Here in Las Salinas, in Ibiza, where I live, there is a store 300 metres from home. I stopped there the other day to buy some water and fruit. There were two girls there who knew each other and seemed to have met there. One of them said (in English), “OK, I’ll Facebook you if we go out partying.” She didn’t say, “I’ll call you”. No, she said “I’ll Facebook you.” The verb.

How I See Facebook

I’m not a great Facebook fan. I like sharing my life with my friends. I don’t have an official fan page (though many have asked.) I’ll probably never have one, just like I’ll probably never be a superstar, an “Expert” or a “Guru” to have one. I do have an account with not too many friends, close to 2,000 (I’ve been on Facebook almost 4 years now.) I try to be selective and critical about my connections on Facebook. They’re my friends, those close to me, the people I want to share moments with. Not everyone. Sorry, I like to keep certain things about my life private to myself. I believe that almost all of my “friends” who are on Facebook –approximately 75%- belong to my inner circle of friends and family. Through Facebook I can follow the things that take place in their lives. I can take a look at pictures of their events, I can follow health-related news of the people I love. I can learn about their achievements, all those things we used to write letters or make a phone call about. That is how I see Facebook; at least in this context.

What about Facebook for business, as a professional or marketing tool? I haven’t reached that point yet. I still feel out of that game. I’m still trying to find out the magic formula.

However, I do believe that Facebook has changed the feeling of experiencing and enjoying the moment by the act of announcing to the world that you’re experiencing and enjoying that moment. It has changed your happiness by theirs.

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People, Online Tools and Social Platforms that Sabotage and Intimidate

I received a list that included the “Top Fake Artists” who had bought followers on Twitter. It included many well-known electronic music DJs, with their stage names and Twitter accounts.

Wait a minute! This is a very serious issue. You’re making information that could be very damaging, public. Is this damage really necessary? If this were actually true, don’t you think they’d be frustrated enough knowing that they’ve had to buy fans/followers, unable to get them through their own work and effort? When you’re prepared to make such a claim, you’d better be 100% sure of what you’re saying and make sure that your source is reliable enough to put your credibility, name and reputation at stake. Yes, that’s what you’re doing!

Otherwise, you’ll just be another “cheap talker”, someone who spends their time looking for a way to sabotage the work and dreams of others, simply because someone –even themselves– sabotaged their life. Please, don’t be that kind of person! Wouldn’t it be better to speak of things that can be changed or improved, things that should be empowered, trying to help or contribute.

Something Just Doesn’t Add Up

As a result of this, I started testing with brands, famous people, regular users and even my own clients, using a tool called Status People. This tool supposedly measures the level of “fake” fans that a user may have in Twitter. I was surprised that, according to this, many relevant, famous people with a large number of followers have many “fakes” in their accounts. For instance, Piqué had 30% “fakes” and Josef Ajram had 50%. 30% fakes of 4 million fans? 50% “fakes” in 120,000 followers? Something just doesn’t add up.

Another part of the figures shows inactive followers which are also a high percentage of many accounts. OK, but my question is: What do they base their calculations on to say whether a user is active or inactive? And fake?

You Cannot Measure What’s Not In Your Reach

I contacted them to ask whether their service was 100% reliable. They told me that their tool follows every tweet made by a user in their timeline as they cannot access the Twitter database. Of course they can’t. What this means is that this type of tool follows every tweet and if a specific user publishes nothing in a few days, they configure their account to “protect tweets” or if it is based on location (the tool doesn’t use geo-location), they define their user as inactive. Does this add up? It doesn’t to me.

Ego-System Tools

I think this is a clear example of what is causing social media distruption, making the ego-system we live in bigger, distracting us and preventing us from doing the work that really matters, doing something. These tools, like many others: Klout, Peer Index and a few others (I’m afraid they matter so little to me that I can’t even be bothered to remember their names), simply try to get users to subscribe so they can store their information. And what’s more, some of them even try to get you to pay for the service!!! Their service is poor and unreliable. Some will probably close and, others, simply forgotten.

If They’re Fake, the Big Ones Will Know

Facebook recently started a process which deletes fake fans from pages, as well as blocking fake users (spam). Twitter has already started doing the same thing.

If we get carried along and work like these odd assessment systems do, we’ll see that their Facebook page has 933 fans and no one “likes” their posts. So, we could say that their fans are inactive; that is, they’re also fake.

Lady Gaga has 28 million followers: 34% “fake,” 38% inactive and 28% good. Will she have really paid for all those millions of fans? (Is there an emoticon for über-sceptic?)

The only ones who can actually say how many “fakes” there are, are Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. I think there’s no further discussion possible; not from me anyway.

Opportunity Isn’t in Accepting

Forget about scores, ranks, points, bonus points or any other classification method. They’re just trying to fit you into a system. Once they have you, they’ll forget about you and try to find other sheep to get into the herd. Instead, stand upright, take a step forward, look ahead: we’re living amazing times, make the most of it!

As long as there are still people sabotaging, intimidating, frustrating and cheating, our job will be increasingly relevant.

Bonus: if you were wondering what the result of my “fake” analysis was, I did it while I wrote this; I wasn’t going to but I though it would be fun. So, there you have it: 6% “fakes”, 25% inactive and 69% good. I can’t afford to buy as many followers as Lady Gaga! (another über-sceptic emoticon here)

Photo credit: el Colombiano.

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