Celebrating 10 years of Facebook, it is interesting to see how uses have changed over the past decade.
While more and more articles are written giving clues on how to use Facebook for business, including it in a pertinent digital strategy, insisting upon its necessity and the “huge possibilities” it brings both to brands and individuals concerned with their personal branding, some people have yet decided to secure their account in order to keep it personal.
Some people are on Facebook every minute of every hour. They keep track of all their friends’ moves, read every notification, eventually search their friends’ profiles to look up for more friends. They live to increase their number of “friends” mostly to increase their audience. Andy Warhol had seen right…
There is another category that is more surprising. They’re the ones who use Facebook only for personal matters, who secure their account and go with the highest privacy settings. Check their wall, their friends, their pictures, you won’t access anything. The ultimate move being to simply go on a Facebook detox that eventually ends up in deleting the account. Mind you: they’re not “old” users. Not the ones getting paranoid about big data centers stocking their personal information. The truth is: those people are usually very connected, some even work in social media.
I know what I’m talking about: I’m one of them. Send me a friendship request, if I don’t know you, I’ll simply delete it. Try to have a look at my pictures, my posts, my friends list, you’ll only access the “about” section and the cover and profile pictures. Become my friend: if you don’t belong to “close friends” and “family” lists, you won’t get anything more.
Am I one of those oldies? No. Am I disconnected? Not at all, in fact I’m connected most of the time, either from my laptop or my iPhone. I do actually work in social media. And yes: Facebook is a tool I use every day to administer my clients’ pages. I belong to those people who know how to use Facebook, even advise others on how to do it better, but personally only use it – apart from administering pages – to stay in touch with their relatives.
People find it surprising: “What? You only have about 200 friends?” Yes, I do. Worse: every once in a while I try to reduce this number and get very proud whenever I get below 200. Not so long ago, I went all the way down to 149. What an achievement! Still, I keep receiving friend requests from people I have nothing to share with, people I haven’t seen in years (“Remember? We were in high school together”), even people I have never really met.
Digging deeper, there are various reasons to this. First: I use on a daily basis at least five social networks (no counting my clients’). Among these, Facebook is the one dedicated to close relatives as well as Instagram and Snapchat; LinkedIn is for work (here again, I do not accept all requests and invite my students to do so, but this is another story), Twitter is for personal branding, so opened to all. I also have a personal website linking to all my social media accounts, blogs and professional website. Knowing this, the question is not why don’t I open Facebook to all but why should I…
Look around you and you’ll see I’m far from being the only one in this situation. Some people create two Facebook profiles to distinguish both private and personal lives. Some simply pretend not to use their account – but they do… I, like a good number of social media strategists having chosen the same path, say the simple truth: originally, Facebook was meant to keep in touch with your friends. Are you my friend..?
Audrey Rochas is a digital strategy consultant. A digital native, she launched her first website in 2000 and has stuck to the web industry. A serial globe-trotter, she travels as much as possible to find new ideas and challenges. Tweet her at @trendsetting.