In my day job, I am the backup for our social media coordinator, and my husband handles all social media for a university. Despite this, I don’t generally post much here about social media.
However, a new trend on Facebook has led me to make this post.
Is Facebook becoming more about ads and products than interacting with friends?
I don’t mean the traditional ads on the side of the page that FB has been running for a few years. I mean using a page itself as an ad, and getting thousands of people to “share” or “like” as a contest.
A few weeks ago, a photo of a child’s jumper came up on my newsfeed. While I don’t have children, I’m 29 and many of my friends are starting families. It was some “Share this photo to win!” contest. I didn’t think much about it and moved on.
Until I saw it again. And again. And again, until the same photo, all from different friends, was consuming my newsfeed. Slightly annoyed at this point, I attempted to hide or block the page itself, only to find that hiding or blocking pages is not an option (someone let me know if there is a way around this). The only options I had were to hide the photo every time, hide the friend from appearing in my newsfeed entirely, or unfriend around two dozen people.
I liked reading many other things from these friends and I enjoyed keeping in touch, so I didn’t feel unfriending or hiding them was the best route. Plus, it wasn’t like one friend was doing it repeatedly – it was at least 20 or more people posting it one or two times each.
There are other contests from pages on Facebook – “Like this page and tell them so-in-so sent you!” and “Vote for my baby’s photo and I’ll win!” I’ve noticed these contests tend to happen more with smaller businesses, though lately I have seen a few from well-known brands as well.
The child’s jumper photo faded out (though I still see it every now and then), but it’s still happening with tons of other “share this to win!” contests – vacations, photo sessions, jewelry – you name it. While no doubt “share it to win it” is a good marketing promotion for that particular brand, photos and links to these often get in the way if I simply want to catch up with friends.
I don’t think it will happen overnight, but I can clearly see Facebook going the way of MySpace in a few years if this isn’t cleared up. Think about it: People stopped using MySpace because it became annoying and unable to use with jumping photos, unusable layouts, etc. I can already see Facebook going down this path.
I’ve been using Facebook since 2005; when colleges had to be selected for it. At the time, I preferred it over MySpace for it’s crispy-clean “basic” appeal. Unless it gets back to that appeal that made it stand out in the first place, people will inevitably lose interest, just as with MySpace.
What do you think? Have you ever had a page take over your newsfeed as described above? Do you think Facebook is on it’s way out or here forever? Leave your comments below.
[I should note that this post isn’t meant to offend anyone who shares photos or participates in page contests. I don’t think anyone doing so is wrong, but I do believe Facebook should have an option to block pages].