10 Reasons to NOT Quit Facebook

Last week, Dan at Rocket.ly posted Top Ten Reasons you Should Quit Facebook , in light of Facebook’s latest changes. His post makes some good points – definitely stuff to think about.

Yesterday, however, I started seeing people I know tweeting the link to Dan’s article, and saying “I might delete my account too.” Again – all fine and good, but that made me think: what about your organization’s Facebook Page? Will they delete that, too?

I’m not sure deleting your Profile or Page is the answer. So, I tweeted “come on people – why should you NOT quit facebook?” and received some excellent replies back. With that question in mind, and with some of the great answers tweeted back by some of YOU, I give you …

10 Reasons to NOT Quit Faceook (at least, not yet):

  1. Your customers are using Facebook. Librarians – walk around your library and see what people are doing. I’m guessing you’ll see lots of Facebook users. Maybe you should still be one, too.
  2. Your community is on Facebook. Quick, go to Facebook and do a search for your city. Narrow the search down to People. Most likely, down at the bottom of that search results page, it says “Over 500 results.” That means you just maxed out your search. Lots of people in your community use Facebook. In fact, Edison Research just released a report showing that 41% of Americans use Facebook. Translation – that’s 41% of your community. That you can reach. For free.
  3. Did I mention free marketing? Zbriceno says “… Keep FB ’cause all types of contact, events, photos, discussion posts, WORLDCAT book searching; one stop shop!” Your organization’s Facebook Page includes status updates, event calendars, comments, discussion boards, videos, pictures, instant messaging and private messaging. All ways to reach your community using Facebook (i.e., potentially 41% of your community) for free. Think about it.
  4. Teach proper privacy protocols. Instead of getting all “oh darn them, I’m gonna delete my account” – why not figure out the changes … then offer classes/blog posts/short screencast videos on how to manage Facebook privacy settings? For starters, make sure to check out Bobbi Newman’s post about that.
  5. Answer questions. From GinaMLS: “… to keep in touch w/users who are on FB and not looking at our websites.” Yes, your patrons can now visit your library online … without ever visiting your actual website. Kinda weird, huh? Are you there for them?
  6. Friend your customers. Friend those people you found in #2 above, and start interacting with them. Invite them to your fledgling “how to manage your Facebook privacy settings” class! Ask them if they care about privacy – it could start some good conversations.
  7. Say hi to your mom. Lots of people are on Facebook simply to connect with family. I talk to my sis, my mom and dad, my nieces and nephews, and even a cousin or two via Facebook.
  8. Don’t stop with your Mom – connect with friends and colleagues too. Cyndi23 said “… because classmates.com charges u when facebook does same and more for free.” So teach people how to connect with friends, family … and those old classmates. I’m enjoying the weird blended mix of personal contacts, professional contacts, friends, and family. All commenting on the same thing at times.
  9. Start conversations. Your organization has the potential for lots of Facebook contacts – use them for conversations. Send out updates talking about your organization’s stuff. Ask questions. Get responses.
  10. Use Facebook tools to tell Facebook what you think. Go ahead – set up a Facebook Page or Group dedicated to the evilness of the new Facebook privacy changes (or better yet, “Like” one of the many pages that have already been created). People have been vocal with Facebook before, and have succeeded. They actually DO listen to their community (though they seem to apologize rather than ask permission …).

So most definitely yes – keep tabs on what Facebook is doing. For that matter, keep tabs on what all the major social networks that you use are doing – it’s your stuff they’re messing with, after all. But is it a reason to quit Facebook, when almost half of your community is using that tool? I’m not so sure about that.

Pic by Max-B

  • http://guardienne.blogspot.com Colleen S. Harris

    Agreed that folks should keep tabs on what facebook is doing and how it's handling their information. I do, however, think that there is a huge difference between maintaining an account for your organization and a personal account, and that the two should not be conflated when discussing the privacy implications of FB policies – they're rather like apples & oranges, don't you think?

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    You're right – they're different animals. But you need some sort of personal profile in order to have an organizational Page. So I think it's a bit messy (& I needed to get to 10, too :-) ).

  • http://ashuping.net Andrew Shuping

    David these are all good reasons, but to me it reads more like reasons for the library to retain a presence on Facebook vs. as an individual. And that's a big difference to me.

    I'm one of those that has weighed whether or not to delete my personal account, because I don't like the changes. I don't like the fact that Facebook isn't listening to their community 1st and yes I disagree with point number 10. This is at least the 3rd time people have called them out on privacy and yet they keep making changes against the users wishes…they aren't listening or aren't caring. If they were they'd get that people aren't happy about these changes they keep making.

    With a library presence, I'm less concerned with what information is being shared because the entire page is in the open. I expect and want to interact with the public and share information. There are some strong reasons to keep a library presence around on Facebook for many of the reasons listed above…but as an individual…other factors weigh in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/disobedientlibrarian Dana Longley

    I think as you rightly point out, this is a real opportunity for librarians and other educators to push out/promote the idea of privacy literacy. Any social tool will contain or have the potential to contain at least elements of Facebook's (ab)uses of personal information. People need to be far more aware of this and use these tools wisely, rather than just unplugging from them. But most people don't know to even think of this, let alone how to evaluate an interface to locate how the company is using their information. Kudos for a great post!

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Andrew – very similar to what Colleen said, so I'll ask both of you – how will you have an organizational presence without a personal account? If I deleted my FB account, the library's fb Page would be deleted, too.

    I really do get the privacy concerns, and concerns about how fb tends to “push the envelope” a bit too far. But as far as I can tell, you need a real, non-phony personal account in order to have the org Page…

  • http://guardienne.blogspot.com Colleen S. Harris

    David – you're absolutely right; you have to have the personal to maintain an org account. And that's unavoidable. I don't have a good solution for that, I was merely pointing out that the reasons for an organization to maintain a Facebook presence are very different than that for an individual. I think your post is spot on, but it highlights the problems with conflating an organization with an individual, which the current FB setup forces you to do.

  • http://ashuping.net Andrew Shuping

    True…which is a completely different problem. If need be I'd do one of 2 things:
    1) create a personal account that was locked down as much as possible, no pictures, no information, no friending, etc. Just strictly as a way to access the library page.

    2) create an account for my “librarian” presence only. Instead of locking it down make it as open as possible for anyone from the larger community to find me. I wouldn't post about personal life and I'd still be careful about what information I share and what applications/content interacts with me. The issues with this of course is that the boundaries can blur between work and personal, so it's not really ideal

    Neither of these would be perfect solutions, but it's the best I can think of.

  • Suzi W.


    THANK YOU for posting this.

    The main reason I am on FB is to stay connected with friends and family, many of whom are in the “weddings/funerals” category. With the younger generations moving more and more to “texting” rather than calling on their cell phones, and communicating primarily online, FB is the place to stay in touch.

    As a librarian, I feel like I'm the one in their network to say, hey, take a look at your privacy settings. And people thank me for posting stuff, especially when I give “go to this page, and click on this item” clear instructions.

    And like you said, our patrons are using Facebook, if we don't know how to use it, how to pay attention to privacy ins and outs, how can we help them?

    In Dan's article, one of the reasons for deleting his account was that FB owned your content. I don't put a lot of my own content on FB. That's what blogs are for. I never saw FB as a way to push my career forward, for me it never was a forum for professional pursuit.

    Thanks for writing a positive, professional post on a very hot topic.

    xo, Suzi W.

  • Christine

    I have a personal FB account that is very locked down, and I follow changes with FB pretty closely so that my account (and those of my friends and family) can remain as private as possible too. When FB changes something…I will alert my friends via FB.

    I also help manage a fan page for our organization. We created a personal profile for the position name/job title, and linked the fan page to that account. Technically, the person is real…but the actual individual with that role might change over time. That account is much more open, and used for marketing and community building.

    As stated in many other replies…I consider it my responsibility to keep up with the changes in ANY social networking site. As a librarian, I easily have the tools to do so.

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  • Natasha

    This is a little off the subject, but since you brought it up … I have multiple admins for our non-profit's Facebook page for just that reason: if, for some reason, your account is deleted, either accidentally or intentionally, your business page is deleted as well if you are the only admin. I have read stories about Facebook deleting personal accounts without notifying the owner if someone files a report.

    I highly recommend choosing someone that you trust, whether inside the organization or outside, or create another account as a backup admin.

  • chadmissildine

    So Good David. I role with a personal page and run a page for LifeChurch.tv, which allows some incredible online community for our organization. I've found it very helpful to have the two avenues to post things. I'm currently learning how to utilize the list features on FB and am able to help manage the page much more effectively through this feature. thanks for the article!

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Good reminder about multiple places to post things. And as an aside – I LOVE Lifechurch.tv! I have your You Version bible app on my iphone, and use it most Sundays. You guys rock. Just sayin.

  • http://woodyevans.com/ Woody

    Any wall between personal and professional is untenable! I'm working on an article and presentation about FB now, tentatively called “Why Librarians Should Stay the Hell Away from Facebook,” and I mean that. Hang out on FB all you like as “you” or as some fractured personomic shadow of “yourself” if you like, but when some poor emo girl gets on your library's 'professional' profile and starts talking self-harm symbolism in Twilight, you (as an individual librarian — in consultation with wizened minds on committees?) have a semi-personal / semi-professional problem: do you engage with this person and reach out (personally), or do you ignore what could be her 'plea for help'?

    Sticky stuff.

    Fear of weird hypotheticals isn't a good reason to stay off of FB, but the inherent gooiness of personal/professional personomics that it engenders is at least a serious reason.

    For that reason (and many others), I just can't take Facebook seriously.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Woody – you'd treat her the same way you would if she did that at the reference desk. Why would it be any different online?

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  • http://twitter.com/JeffatSCC Jeff Karlsen

    I think the impulse behind the “quit Facebook” stance is a principled one, which “there's still something in it for us” doesn't really counter. Teaching people to avoid the pitfalls is not necessarily something we can do competently; a potential problem in number 4 in your list is that you could teach how to manage Facebook privacy settings, and then Facebook will go ahead and change them. The problem isn't so much that Facebook privacy settings are increasingly complex and trending toward the public as that Facebook has for many people established itself as essentially untrustworthy and unethical. (Not that I'm quitting.)

  • http://woodyevans.com/ Woody

    David — I'm going to dodge your excellent question, and instead suggest that what happens in Real Life at the ref desk is usually framed with the social checks (inhibitions?) that frame other interactions in Real Life. So it's *less likely* to happen at the ref desk… though it does happen.

    I write about a weird MySpace incident in 2004 at a military base in my book _Building Library 3.0_. Since it's no fun for anyone when the virtual/real bleedover causes folks on the edge to sometimes go over the edge, it makes sense to me to minimize needless opportunities for disaster…

  • http://www.slideaway.ca/ jamEs harris

    When I read that article yesterday I was pretty stupified by the sentiment. I begrudge Facebook as much as the next guy, but would I give up that network? No way. I don't use Facebook the same way I used to, it's now more a syndication platform for me to let others know what I'm doing online. I essentially moved on to Twitter as my primary social media interaction, but still published my content to Facebook. The reality is Facebook has a very different network of users, all of whom could possibly generate leads for my business. Loads of people I know just use Facebook to contact me instead of email, phone or text. Getting rid of that would be like shooting yourself in the foot.

  • noshawna

    I see I sparked some thought yesterday; kudos to you for not losing your mind and taking the content seriously (even if you wouldn't openly admit it). Not bad for a troll with a social experiment agenda, eh?

    It's very clear that your bias has convoluted your perception about this topic. You're speaking too close to home. This should be titled “Top 10 reasons my library in Topeka, KS should not quit FaceBook.”

    Look, your 10 ten reasons to stay on Facebook are largely 10 good reasons for a person to QUIT facebook. The blog link you posted has it dead on, and many of your reasons pretty much mimic these same reasons, just repackaged as “good” from a marketer's perspective. (I know you claim to be a librarian and not a marketer, but this shouldn't take a person long to delineate how they are one-in-the-same from your context.) Like I said yesterday..it is precisely the marketing and privacy-issues related that are going to render all those marketing efforts useless when there is the inevitable mass-exodus from Facebook. Clearly, this is already happening; and with good cause.

    So let me hit each of your points directly.
    1) So your argument is essentially “Everyone (40 or so percent at least) is using FB, so you should too.” The peer-pressure-band-wagon angle…nice….but weak. By that logic, then we should also take this into account: More than 94 million Americans (40 percent) age 12 and older have tried marijuana at least once, according to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). So I'd better get with the times and TOKE UP! Ummm…yeah…I don't think so.
    2) Ya, your community (full of sex offenders and scum) are on FB targeting and looking for victims. Associating to these communities nullifies any attempts to stay private. Great…now the whole town can see pictures of my 2 year old daughter. Awesome. This FB thing is kick-a*s.
    3) Free marketing. I've worked for DoubleClick (now Google), the world's largest internet advertiser the world has ever seen to date. Let me assure you that this “free” marketing has a direct and absurd cost associated to it, and for the first time in history..the CONSUMER fronts the bill. We pay for this free inundation in terms of ISP costs that increase to handle the amount of spam, pop-ups, ad space etc. Awesome…you get spammed to death and you get to pay for it too. Sweet. This is getting better. On top of it, now the advertiser has access to your account history, demographic information, sites visited etc. None of these things play out well for the consumer..only for the publisher. Where's the benefit to that? I didn't even get into the unscrupulous advertisers and what they can and have done with your private information…we won't go there…yet.
    4) Teach proper privacy protocols. One BIG problem with that: NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR IT FROM YOU. Take for example Shawna Coronado; I attempted to show her how dangerous certain aspects of her own SM use has been, and she flipped out and deleted me. Her reasons for doing this were simple: She wants to engineer her SM experience and her own branding, which doesn't conform well to taking advice when she, after all, has a reputation to adhere to. Discussing perceived “negatives” of SM can therefore not be tolerated in any shape or form by her (by her own admittance via email to me). This is extremely short-sighted and quite lame. Even you, for example..couldn't see past your personal bias and SM agenda (yesterday) enough to look at a possible point of view that differed from your own as –at minimum – potentially thought provoking. It ended up being a pissing contest. (I admit I stirred the pot at first, and you could never recover seeing past the grammatical discussion…but that was part of my assignment. You allowed me to drag you down to my level, and on YOUR site.) The point: Simple…..most people a) don't have the basic technical knowledge of this technology to even recognize it's potential hazards..EVEN WHEN you point them out and b) they likely don’t want to told how their joining a Mafia or taking some stupid-as-hell quiz jeopardizes their own personal security. It makes them look dumb. People don’t like to be made to look dumb.
    5) This point is pure librarian bias. Not much of a point to most people here. Should business have a “store” front on FB? Sure…but it's likely just a popularity contest. “I'm a fan of In-n-Out burger…COOL MAN.” OK..but how often does one actually go to a major chain's FB site to see what they're about or to ask questions? This is only helpful to those very small mom-n-pop shops…and for only a short time more before most people kick FB to the curb. Too little too late if you're not already there…and this can also be seen as a huge negative if the person in charge of your marketing-via-FB only uses his/her own personal experience to take on the new SM position they acquired. They then blast people with status updates that are completely irrelevant and end up driving away customers. No one wants to be annoyed with Mafia War updates any more than they want to see Clear Choice Dental talking constantly about teeth whitening updates.
    6) If a company that I am trying to keep private from started interacting with me directly asking me “how do you feel about privacy (and never mind that I invaded it in order to ask you this)” … this should speak for itself.
    7) Say hi to Mom? You must've been digging hard to put this up. 1) my mom, and many moms, don't have nearly enough technical aptitude to be on FB in the first place 2) most people don't want their mom's sharing the same space as the people they go and engage in debauchery with. 3) NOTHING can beat out a personal visit or phone call. The problem with FB is…you actually lose touch with many of these people in terms of “Well, I see she updated that she went to the store today and bought some apples…do I really need to call? I already know what she's up to.” Complacency and false-relationship-building go hand-in-hand with FB and other SM sites. Many an article about this…and anyone who's actually used it can attest to similar experiences.
    8) This was the actual point of FB…to keep up with people you normally wouldn't have or have access to. But your reasons 1-7 so far completely undermine this idea.
    9) Start conversations…so I get a status update from McDonalds asking me how I like the new Angus burger…awesome use of my time. I think I've (as did you) already covered this in point 6. This would be clearly more annoying than useful to most people. Sure..there's some lonely people out there dying for ANY contact…this would be great for those uber-lonely people. Sad…
    10) So let me get this straight…you're saying that if people hate the privacy concerns that “liking” something has, we should go out and “like” everything that is said that is against “liking” and give up our privacy to the sites that say we also hate “liking”? C'mon David. Are you serious? Secondly; FACEBOOK IS NOT LISTENING. It's obvious. Do more research and you'll find a huge and rising trend against this site. So I see you thought a lot about my “prediction”. You have earned many points with this critic for posting this. Now THAT’S what I'm talking about David. That being said, you will have a much greater impact if you can see through your lens of personal perspective and write an article that has more than your small niche community in mind. But props none-the-less. (<– just poking fun at your fragmented style of writing..it’s cute 😉

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Just killed a troll. Move along, people :-)

  • Derrell Durrett

    If I understand the bulk of your reasons correctly (having also scanned the comments), they largely hinge on the idea that I should keep my account so my organization has a presence.

    If I'm an individual, without an organization to create a presence for, though, there is very little left that applies to me that I cannot get through more traditional peer-to-peer communications tools (like email or Google groups, etc.).

    If I'm a person concerned about the mining of my data and my friends' data, and I feel that being on Facebook presents only danger of that data being exposed, then I'm likely to leave Facebook.

    If enough people do that, there's no longer an argument for your organization to be there.

    Personally, I don't give a fig what Facebook thinks it can mine from my profile, because I know I'm not particularly profitable. But if enough friends leave, I won't see any reason to stick around.

  • johnnydurango

    This only further confirms the need to leave Facebook, like so many are already doing. Clearly, this author has a bias based on a very small community and clearly did not do his research. Looks to me like it wad tough for him to actually get 10 reasons. Your mom? Lol…good one. 1 out of 4 stars for effort.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Thanks for sharing!

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  • Sam Kome

    Well put, I agree – it is a principled stance and I did delete (not disable) it.
    I want information services I will use to conform at least roughly with the ALA code of ethics. Facebook fails 3 & 4. I advise anyone to lock FB down and carefully decide what they'll share via it, given its track record and profit motives.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Sam – your stance is a fine one – everyone differs on this! But a question and a comment for you:

    “information services” ?? I don't think of Facebook as an information service, but more of a social connector/alternative to the telephone/writing a letter/keeping up with people I wouldn't otherwise ever see type of thing. I suppose there ARE info feeds (ie., my blog feeds through twitter to fb). How do you see it as an info service?

    And a comment – “profit motives” – yep. FB's a business, and their goal is to make money. Just like grocery stores, your bank, and Google… but you wouldn't stop using those businesses (well ok, maybe Google). I agree with watching FB because of their track record (I state that in #10 above). But probably not with the profit motive thing.

    But either way – thanks for the comment. Different viewpoints are welcome.

  • http://www.carleenhuxley.com carleen

    Hi David

    Thanks for your post. There is a lot of negative flying around the web about Facebook right now and it's nice to someone highlighting the potential positives. But I have to admit that I still have reservations.

    We actually use a “dummy” account for our fan page (We have five other staff members that are admins too just in case FB does delete). So far FB hasn't noticed. I agree that there are good reasons to keep a fan page for a library, but on a more personal level, it's starting to become a principle, ethical thing for me too. I think there's a false sense that they actually listen to us when we complain. They'll change one thing that we don't like (like the thing about making our friend list hidden), yet a few months later they'll come back with another “opt out” set of changes. To me, that's not really listening, which makes me skeptical of their business model, distrust them, therefor consider deactivation.

    I taught two classes last months, one for faculty/staff, another for students to inform them how to use their privacy settings. I actually use our dummy account when doing the presentation and have created other dummy accounts that I friend so I can show them how to apply the settings. I realize this is against the rules but they haven't exactly adhered to my standards either. The other thing you can do is simple create the profile and just never use, not friend people or put any information on there. So, in short, I think it's perfectly possible for librarians to deactivate their accounts if they want to, but still keep their library fan page.

  • Sam Kome

    A service that stores and transmits information – broad sense. I agree that FB's focus is on connectivity and I'm grateful for the work they've done and the effect they've had advancing FOAF concepts. And yes, even though an early adopter/fanboy of Google my use is very limited. I absolutely have cancelled bank accounts over (lack of) information security, I avoid grocery store affinity/loyalty programs, etc. IMO it's a modern addition to personal hygiene – watching where my data is sticking out : )

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    That admin thing – I'm honestly not sure what happens when the original admin of a Page deletes his/her account – because that person is the actual owner of the page, no matter how many other admins there are, and FB treats them differently from other admins. Anyone else know what happens?

  • vdowdirector

    Well, you get creative. :-)

  • ruby roo

    The problem with #4 is the privacy options are so complicated and change so often it is next to impossible to keep up with it, even if you are pretty tech savvy. And because you are automatically opted into everything, it could be weeks or months, before you find out (if you ever do) that you've “chosen” to share your data. Also when the founder of Facebook proclaims privacy no longer matters, it doesn't' inspire much hope in me.

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  • LynneW

    David, we just created our Facebook page and used “business” for the type, as that was what most libraries we checked used. There is no requirement to have a personal account for that option.

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  • carey

    #10 “Use Facebook tools to tell Facebook what you think.” would be easier if Facebook wasn't blocking users from posting articles about privacy concerns with their service. Last week myself and 2 facebook friends tried to post a link to 3 different articles warning people about privacy changes to facebook, and FB blocked all 3 attempts. Two of us got a pop up alert, stating that there was information I was trying to post that wouldn't be allowed by FB “users.” The other one posted the link, but it was removed within minutes and disappeared from his wall.

  • http://michaelkpate.com Michael K Pate

    I signed up for Facebook the very day they opened it up to non-college students so I have been an advocate and supporter for years. As satisfying as it would be to just delete the account in the wake of Facebook's attitude, I really don't want to give up the connections I maintain through it. But what I did do was comb through the privacy settings and turn most of them up to the most restrictive level. I am not leaving but I am perfectly willing to make myself less valuable to have as a member.

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  • Craig Portwood

    I quit today. Facebook has been nothing but a waste of my time.

  • http://www.tka.net Lea@Palm Beach Private Schools

    Yeah, What a good post. Well I loved using facebook because it's my way to communicate with my friends, classmates and colleagues aside from cellphones. In my case I am online everyday and spend most of my time checking my fb.. posting videos, posting on walls and so on.. I must say I am an Facebook Addict.. :))

  • http://www.tka.net Lea@Palm Beach Private Schools

    Yeah, What a good post. Well I loved using facebook because it's my way to communicate with my friends, classmates and colleagues aside from cellphones. In my case I am online everyday and spend most of my time checking my fb.. posting videos, posting on walls and so on.. I must say I am an Facebook Addict.. :))

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  • http://twitter.com/bgbs Ben Bibik

    Sure, for you company or brand it makes sense. But for an individual its not good, because its easy to screw up by publishing something about yourself which you will regret forever. Employers, your mom, and everyone else use facebook to learn what kind of jerk you are. Internet made it ridiculously easy to portray your stupidity.

  • Taco

    You Sir, are a tool.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Says someone who just spent time reading this post, creating a fake name and email address, and leaving a comment. Who’s the tool again?

  • Imarobocopa

    deactivate it