Hello, my friends.
This lesson comes on the heels of a somewhat disturbing experience I recently had with our “friends” at Facebook.
I received a private message from someone saying there was an alternative profile that didn’t use my name but was using a bunch of my photos. And they gave me a link. I looked at the link, and, sure enough, this person (I have no idea of who they are or where they are) was using dozens and dozens of my photographs, including my profile picture.
I used the function on Facebook to report the profile as impersonating me.
The next day, Facebook suspended my account…yes, my account, not the other person’s account!
It took two weeks of me going back and forth with what I absolutely know was an automated system to ultimately prove to Facebook that I am who I say I am. This included sending images of me holding my driver’s license, my passport, and answering a handful of questions. It literally took two weeks.
I would send a response to their question, and then wait 24 hours. They would ask me another, clearly automated question, with the same round of waiting for a response. I resisted the temptation to jump up and down and yell because it was an automated system, and it would have been futile.
Ultimately, I was able to prevail and got my profile back on Facebook.
I have done a lot of research, though I’m certainly no expert, nor am I an intellectual property attorney, but suffice it to say that Facebook has the right to use the content you post on Facebook. It is not technically true to say they own your intellectual property, but they have certain rights to use those images. Technically, other people can use those images, too, even for intentions you don’t like.
The point of this is not to bash Facebook. After all, they have nearly two billion users. If you wrap your head around the math associated with serving two billion customers, you know the old saying, “If only 1% of the customers asked a question on a particular day…” for them, that would be 20 million questions a day. This scale is beyond what most organizations ever have to deal with, so I am not bashing them for the fact that it did take a long time.
But there’s another point to be made, especially for those of you who are business owners.
As a coach and trainer, I deal quite a bit with small to mid-size businesses. Here is what I recommend: don’t have all your business tied up in social media and reliant upon social media. You have to own your own database. Also, you must have a repository of your events and your communication methods that does not rely upon Facebook or any other social media.
You can take advantage of social media outlets and utilize those to develop and maintain relationships with your tribe, but be very, very cautious.
For example I don’t use the event planner function of Facebook. I had several events during this two-week period, and they went on without a hitch because I have my own database for events and contact management – one that is backed up regularly. I use Infusionsoft, so I have my own method of communicating with people.
The other element that was quite interesting is this: the humility associated with it.
In two weeks of being offline, I only had a handful of people who reached out to me via other methods (email, telephone, or text) to ask where I was. The rest, I assume, either didn’t notice or didn’t care.
Back in the day, prior to social media, a friend was a friend. A friend was someone who, if you were at a grocery store walking down the aisle and that person was walking the other way down the aisle, by the time you made eye contact with that person, you knew who they were exactly. And they knew who you were precisely. A friend was not just somebody you met a few years ago, sat next to at a trade show or a conference, swapped business cards with, and became “friends” on social media.
We use the term “friend” a lot more loosely than in previous times. If you believe everyone on your friend list is truly your friend, I would suggest you revisit the concept of what it really means to be a friend.
I hope you found this lesson valuable. It’s very simple, really…
1. Use social media but don’t build your business on it.
Own your database. Own your content.
2. Take the time to invest in true friendships.
Build and invest in solid relationships. Tools come and go, but real relationships span the test of time and build a solid business and rewarding life.