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Facebook: it’s own worst enemy

This article What Happens When You Break Up With Facebook: Nothing by Evie Nagy gave me a chuckle. Recently I engaged in a conversation, not about marketing on Facebook but rather the psychological behavior shift of people and how they’re shifting their view of Facebook. The once sought-after invite only platform that required a .edu address toc be a part of and acquired a whopping 96 million dollars at the box offices just to understand the “big idea” behind Mark Zuckerberg’s creation has lost it’s clout. With social players like Instagram and Pinterest allowing users more control over their platforms there’s an obvious shift in usership. But is it more?

Is it more psychological than that? Do people view the platform differently than they once did? Is it merely a site we now visit to find out more about a person, company or brand? Similar to the way the phone book was used a few centuries ago?

Or is it simply the fact we’ve all over saturated our Facebook accounts and don’t have the time or patience (nor the gall to delete some folks) to curate our experience on this platform so it’s easier to use another learning from our Facebook mistakes? Or is it simply because Facebook has forgotten about the user? Lost its reason for being and forgot the values it once held? Forcing ads into feeds and choosing what will and will not be shown in a person’s feed.

Perhaps it’s a bit of all three.

Psychologically, people have shifted not only their physical behavior on the site but their perception of the site. Similar to the diminish of the iconic phonebook—which Google happily replaced—there was a psychological shift of the user. Most people found the phonebook to be inefficient and cumbersome compared to a simple Internet search. Similarly today users have other social platforms that are suiting their needs so they are using Facebook differently. Instead of a social experience it’s becoming more of a referencing tool. People see the outlet as a resource for more information about friends, family, companies, and brands rather than a tool for interaction, because they can’t control the interactions.

Curation is needed and craved. With the abundance of information, advertisements, and content being created and churned through the Internet channels faster than the click of a mouse people are gravitating to sites and tools they have control over. Users love Instagram because they aren’t force fed advertisements and see everything their followed accounts post. Facebook shot itself in the foot when they changed their algorithm alternating what users were accustomed to seeing in their feeds.

Another important psychological shift has occurred in the past few years. Because Facebook was one of the first big social networks to span the globe users are likely to have added (friended) people they didn’t think through i.e. a previous boss, THAT co-worker, and old high school friend and now either their feeds are inundated with Candy Crush Saga invites and ads from companies they have no interest in or they simply don’t feel comfortable sharing a post. Yet most don’t have the time or energy to go through their friends list of 800 and curate what they see or who they want to share their thoughts and feelings with.

Facebook has lost touch with its reason for being. Facebook was founded on bringing people together. Giving them a simple way to connect. Today Facebook seems to be focusing on the bottom line rather than the user. With their push towards advertisements, recent privacy policy changes to their messenger and manipulation of what content it displayed in feeds, they’ve abandoned their values. Facebook's brand value five states: Facebook was created to make the world more open and connected, not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do. But they are not delivering on this promise because they are not allowing for true connection across all users and companies.

It's no doubt that social media and the way people use, behave, and portray these platforms is evolving and will continue to do so. Businesses should look at the reasons Facebook has lost the faith of the user and as a result psychologically changed their behaviors both physically and mentally.

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