Deeper problems for Facebook

Beyond the headlinable items, Facebook is in for a deep bruising from reputation hits mainly from the people that have brought many to drink from the Facebook fountain: its network of consultants.

Take our friend, Mari Smith. Mari and I shared the stage at an unconference session on Facebook for Business in Seattle in 2007. We’ve both been blowing the Facebook horn ever since. Mari has educated and enriched so many people about the potentials of Facebook, and many of her fans are making realities of dreams. Anybody that’s ever spent more than a few moments with Mari sees Facebook in new and exciting ways. She’s also enlightened thousands on the merits of the feature that now leaves that bit of wisdom painfully empty to all but a small percentage (the Facebook affluent). Mari is a wonderful person. Solid, and she certainly would not treat people the way Facebook has. This conflict is why there is a deeper problem.

As a consultant, your clients are expecting you to know the best solutions from the best companies. You and your clients expect these companies to be morally compatible with you. There are a huge number of great people who consult and recommend Facebook. However, Facebook is tipping a moral scale. In order for consultants to continue to recommend Facebook, we will have to idealistically be divorced of Facebook. We will have to table Facebook as questionable while, for the time being, recommend Facebook while identifying the risk.

The risk in doing anything with Facebook is suddenly high. They’re a wild card.

This will hold true unless Facebook’s reputation becomes a liability instead of an asset. If we get to a point where people regard Facebook negatively, a business won’t want a Facebook badge on its website.

We want Facebook to get it together. Maybe you’d like to participate in a boycott next Friday, May 28 via Facebook Free Friday. Facebook is a great tool, but it can’t continue with these outrageous and repeated changes. Facebook’s story keeps repeating: “oh crap, we didn’t know this meant so much to you. Here, we’ll put this band-aid right here and make it feel better… because we care. Really.”

Do you feel Facebook is now high risk? Comfortable with Facebook?

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