• Kate

Let me choose to opt in

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Facebook: THE social media network that you MUST be on if you run a business.

Please note this is not a post attacking Facebook (I'm aware of legal stuff and I'm not stupid so, hi Facebook lawyers *waves politely*), this is strictly my annoyance with businesses that aggressively market and strategise using the largest social media platform available today.

Firstly, ironically, I have shared this post on Facebook but what you will notice is that I don't aggressively market (full stop) on social media, there is a reason for it - as a reluctant recipient of aggressive following techniques I refuse to do it.

We all have skills to share, we all have ideas and inspiration and we all have a right to show the world our wares but this drive to develop a cult following on social media platforms like Facebook shits me to tears.

The number of page follow requests I receive and groups I get randomly inserted into is ridiculous and bloody annoying.

I've always wondered how people get to be member of 352 squillion groups and now I get it - because people get jolted into random shit we don't need or want.

Believe me, I get businesses are trying to gain exposure and clients and sometimes the algorithms and equations that promote and filter news feeds messes shit up. I understand that businesses are buying into the belief that to be seen and shared is to be realised. And yeah, seeing your post, meme, quote, blog post, article, shared and continue to be shared, is exciting but for the love of my sanity stop sending every random post liker a page follow request!

Firstly, how do you even manage it? Between seeing to my family's needs, developing content, studying, running circles, being a person, and actually running my business I don't have time (or a desire) to sit there studying analytics and sending every post liker a page follow request. Hell, I don't even post regularly (yes, I understand the risk of not gaining "exposure" - heaven forbid!).

And then, dare I mention how bloody annoying it is? I like a post because it's relevant, catchy, shareworthy, funny, or thought provoking, I don't like a post to guarantee that the author continues to appear in my news feed, and I definitely don't like the posts that say, "to make sure you keep seeing my work click like". If I want to follow a page I will take the time, and make the effort to source the originator, visit their page and press the thumbs up.

I have to be honest, if you're cruising for a page like through a request I will most likely actively avoid your page - can anyone say counterproductive?

To me, sending someone a request like that feels fear based. It screams, "I'm scared you will miss my content and I need to have all the people follow me!” It also smacks of aggression.

Let's digress for a second. Do you know what cold calling is? In case you answered no, it's an outdated marking technique where a room full of people are employed, given lists of phone numbers and scripts to read about a product no one wants. They then proceed to call you, usually at the most inopportune times like when you're eating or on the toilet, to tell you of an amazing product or opportunity that you can't afford to miss. These phone calls usually end with either the hangup technique or the "get fucked" technique. If you're old enough to remember life with landline phones this technique was rife and usually occurred during the family dinner. Annoying, right? Aggressive, right?

And now we have people doing the same thing on Facebook.

It's an outdated technique for a reason! Statistically you are less, yes less, likely to garner meaningful engagement from these in your face methods.

Personally I find that most of social media, (hi lawyers, just so you know I'm not stating this solely about Facebook or its intended purpose but as a result of interactions from end users *waves politely*) a cesspool of "look at me" ego chest thumping and so many pages are falling into the same trap.

Please don't take this as an I'm better than you statement because I am not and I don't want to be. This is a comment from an end user who has received over a dozen requests to like pages in the last week alone based solely on the fact that I liked one post for each of those pages, shared by a larger page.

The message through this rambling of frustration: If I want to like your page I will, otherwise leave me alone!

Moving on, let me provide you with another example of aggressive techniques being counter productive and even harmful to a business...

Group requests and group chats. The wonders of connectivity give us the opportunity to gather, en masse, in shared spaces - it can be a beautiful thing. Aaand then it can't be.

I've experienced being randomly, and without permission, inserted into groups and group chats. No message, no, oh by the way I thought... Nope, just a big old discovery in my notification that it's happened, followed by an audible what the fuck?!

Don't, people. Just don't. I've unfriended people because of it. In fact one "friend" inserted me five times into the same group that I repeatedly removed myself from (gone was the opportunity to remove myself permanently) only for me to get jack of it and the repeated like invite that I, with the speed of a hippo under attack, clicked unfriend with the "don't fucking piss me off" determination only seen in crazed lunatics.

As for the group chat, 150 people, all dumped in a group chat so the business could market an event - yeah unfollow, unlike.

Can't say either were a smart choice for retaining their customers...

I realise that many people probably don't go to the same extremes as me, I like to keep things clean and simple; I actually cull my like pages and groups regularly; my friends too. This helps me keep things manageable, my husband subscribes to the principle: A cluttered space is a cluttered mind. I like this, it makes sense to me.

When we are being constantly bombarded, manipulated, and plagued with request to like this or follow that, energetically we are being pelleted and pelted. It wears us down. It reinforces the unconscious liker (the person who likes something as an automatic response) merely to keep everyone happy.

How does this impact? It strengthen the "good person" myth, the people pleaser, and the one who likes everyone and everything, without actual consideration or choice.

It strengthens the fearful, the ones who send the requests out of fear of not being seen, witnessed, shared and liked.

Sure, there are times when sending these requests is genuinely wishing to spread abundantly but I challenge people to evaluate why they are sending them.

It means we don't opt in. This is crucial in my mind because when we opt in we make a choice. We are flexing our decision making muscles, we are saying yes and equally, no.

We talk about rape culture (stay with me, it'll make sense) being prolific. This means that our ability to say no, and mean it, is suppressed. This requires action for us to undo this programmed suppression of our no and our ability to express it and have it honoured.

It may seem far fetched but in a way it isn't, when we are aggressively marketed to through sending page invites, and dumping people into groups without permission or consideration we continue to attempt to overpower. This feeds the beast.

Voluntarily opting in is gentle and respectful and is filled with trust. Isn't that the kind of business and society we want to cultivate?

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