An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) from a Fellow Business Owner and Long Time Customer

 

Dear Mark,

I've been with you since the beginning. Well that is, as soon as I heard about you from a friend in high school and as soon as I received my college email .edu address (in fact minutes later I signed up).  You still had that silhouette of what I can only guess was you. What you did was/is genius. I've been with you through many many ups and the occasional (albeit rare) downs.  You've added pictures (my favorite feature by far obviously), more colleges, high schools and eventually everyone.  You've added business pages and status updates and messaging making AIM obsolete. Like I said genius.

You've built your business on word of mouth and used the very platform you created to do just that! Should I say it again? GENIUS! As such a genius I absolutely think you need to be paid for this and I'm sure there are all sorts of analysts working for you telling you how to allow Facebook to make money. I tip my metaphorical hat to you sir.

The background: I've been through a few jobs and (sometimes much to my chagrin) the world has known about my progression because of my "About" updates.  In two of the sales jobs I've had, it seemed that I jumped on the bandwagon at the height of the industry's success, only to watch it nose dive once I joined (my own fault for not doing enough market research first- what can I say? I felt young and entitled then, much like the woman that wrote a letter to her CEO at Yelp).  Once I finally got my head on straight and realized how hard you have to work for your success in life, I decided to start my own business doing what I love, which requires some of the hardest work out there (the starting your business part-not photography).  I fear that partly because of Facebook, I may have started my own small business at one of the worst times.

The issue: As a Facebook customer, I used to spend HOURS on the site. I pushed off papers and homework unintentionally and was completely addicted like many of my peers.  Now?  I see the same repeated content over and over and shut it off pretty fast out of boredom.   You show me the same friend's updates even though I have over 1000 from my 10+ years on Facebook. I almost never see updates from pages that I have chosen to like so that I can see their updates.  Most recently I noticed the first update I've ever seen from Gerard Butler (a serious heart throb of mine) and I liked his page three years ago!

I've read that you have taken surveys from Facebook users and they all say they want to see more updates of the friends they like and no sales promotions.  Perfectly understandable! I don't want to be sold to either and obviously would rather see my boyfriend's updates than someone I can't even remember from college.  What's funny is... I'm still being sold to, you're just getting paid for it now.

As a small business owner: I rely on word of mouth, as you did. I fully understand that you've created a service- I want to use it- I should pay for it. The problem is, the way you've gone about setting up the algorithms goes against everything Facebook started to achieve, a network.  As a user, if I like a page, I want to see it's content.  I wouldn't have liked the page if I didn't want to see it, much like following on Instagram (another company you own).  I will gladly pay you money to show my posts and promotions to people that haven't liked my page, but when my own mother who is on Facebook more than she'll admit (sorry mom) says "that didn't come up!" I'm saddened. If the first ten people that see my post don't like it I'm suddenly penalized and no one else will see it.  I'm talking about posts of photographs, not posts that are coupons or are trying to sell something- again, I'll gladly pay for those.

Further, I have paid for promoting my posts, and they have shown up in my own newsfeed more than four times.  Are you counting each of these times as a new customer reach? It's me! And when I see "sponsored" under a page's ad, I know they've paid for me to see it.  Maybe I'm crazy, but because I see "sponsored", I want to like it even less.

On a side note from a fellow photographer: "I don't think people want to see is the repetitive Walmart ads, or giant store ads, that flood their page. Where as small business ads are less intrusive, and appeal more to them."

I needed to express my opinions, I hope you know that I'm not alone in this. 

Frustrated,

Meredith

P.S. The ironic part? I'll likely have to pay for a Facebook ad if I have any hope of you ever seeing this.