Facebook Schmacebook

Ever hear anyone say “I hate Facebook, it’s shit” and then proceed to check it every hour your with them? Or ever been sat with someone in a bar, park, meeting etc and they are sat mindlessly scrolling though their phone instead of engaging in coversation? It’s no secret that Facebook has taken over everyones lives, to the point where now, if you don’t have it, you are seen as an outcast. So around November/December last year I decided I had had enough of Facebook and got rid of it (sort of).

I’ve been promoting things on Facebook since I was 15. It started with Myspace, where I used to promote my own music, events and magazine I used to run. (if anyone is interested in seeing my first bits of graphic design, before I even knew how to use photoshop or indesign check it out here for a laugh http://issuu.com/beeplucas). Like everyone else at the time, I jumped off the sinking ship that was Myspace and hopped onto the Facebook ship with everyone else I knew. It was great, everyone loved it, and it truly sucked me in. It was a great place to promote my events and promote my design work, and for a while I got fairly regular work just from people simply Facebook messaging me.

In about 2012, me and Damon Stead set up our design collective ‘Rag and Bone’ to host art events, release clothing and all sorts of other stuff we ended up doing. So we set up, what Facebook calls, a ‘page’. This was great, you got people to ‘like’ the ‘page’ and then you could interact directly with them. At a point we even explored having our products for sale directly from our ‘page’. However after 3/4 weeks of our start up we hit about 400 likes or so, then it all changed. All of a sudden, around the same time Mr. Zuckerberg put Facebook on the stock market, Facebook changed the rules. Now you had to get your users to click a little box, almost hidden, saying they wanted you to have your notifications and updates on their timeline. This was all well and good, we posted out the details of how to do this, but obviously, little people saw it, because you had to have the tick box selected already to see our updates!

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So that cut our social reach from that page almost in half and we actually set up a real Facebook page as if we were a person, that way people could always see our updates. However there were a couple of problems with that, a) For this we had to call ourselves Rag N Bone (which meant we were harder to search for) because you have to have a ‘real name so we couldn’t be  Rag and Bone Collective, but apparently Rag N Bone, is a real name, so that was okay with Facebook. b) People had to send a friend request to see your page which people just don’t want to do, they just want to click like, because that’s the world we live in now, two clicks is too many. So that sort of sucked and we got banned a couple of time for adding too many people at a time.

I also had a page for Lucas Jubb Graphic Design & Illustration, which I heavily neglected because of hard it had become to interact with my followers and just to make it worse. Facebook changed again. This time it was even worse, now in order to reach your followers you had to start paying! For those that don’t have a business or a Facebook page you may not know this but in order to reach everyone who likes you page you have to ‘promote’ your post buy using the magic of money. Awesome! So now, on top of having to get people to tick a hidden box asking for notifications, you know have to pay in order to reach your followers (It works on a percentage but I aren’t 100% what the number is)

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I still have a page for Lucas Jubb Graphic Design and Illustration however at the moments its only there for the sake of it, I average around 7 likes per post on 340 followers, and on a good day I might get 10 likes. So that’s that. Facebook for small business suck now because its become a money game. More money you have, the more you can promote your business on social media. Great.

I have, in fact, deleted my personal Facebook page. There is no more Lucas Jubb on Facebook (unless theres the one from San Diego, don’t add him!) , and it feels great. Once I decided I was going to get rid of Facebook I had a week build up. In this week I spent time posting out links to my twitter page, Facebook design page, google+ (don’t ask why) and I got instagram for the first time, so I managed to transfer most of my contacts onto other platforms. I was told by an illustrator in my studio that deleting my personal Facebook would be the worst decision I can make. I think he was wrong.

The problem is with Facebook now, it’s one big advertisement, and not even an advertisement for anything you’re interested in (or atleast this was the case for me). It just constantly wants you to buy things, click things, add things, join things, play things, and on and on and on and on. As a designer this was part of the problem with me, the Facebook news feed is so messy, it just became complicated to look at, and very un appealing.

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I found the more I used Facebook the less I more I just saw posts from the same people (baring in mind I had over 1000 ‘friends on there from when I used to promote events). And a lot of these people, were people I didn’t want to see updates from. For me I could see that the ship was sinking so I had to jump off, and it feels great. People have said to me, “Why don’t you just not go on Facebook but still have it?”, well because anyone who has ever used Facebook knows that it is the internets equivalent of crack, and if you have one, you have to check it. Wether you want to or not. It just happens. Time and time again, day after day. I still keep in contact with my friends but I just use my phone to talk to them them now, and any business contacts I have their emails, linkedin pages and twitter handles. Deleting Facebook has not effected my business at all. In fact I’d probably say I’m a solid 50% more productive without it.

I think Facebook is highly suffering from the choices it’s made and especially with small businesses. You need to look after the smaller people because these are the people who will put back in what they get out. Just letting the larger companies buy their way onto people timelines has clearly annoyed it’s users and it’s now starting to show, very clearly. The Facebook has always been a favourite with teenagers, however this demographic has fallen from 42% to 23% in just 12 months (Source:Forbes ) Overall Facebook has notice a 4.5% drop of users in the U.K. (1.4 million less people now use Facebook)

I don’t think anyone ever predicted how big Facebook would get, and I think a lot of people did the same as me and didn’t manage what pages they liked and who they followed so they ended up having shitty news feeds. I have a strict one strike policy on my social media pages for this reason now. Throwback Thursdays? Gone. Selfie? Gone. It’s just the way it has to be, this was I can treat my social media pages the way they are supposed to be used. Streams of interesting posts, articles and photographs from people and businesses you want to hear from. As a designer I work more than I probably should, and therefor I like to make the most of free time and relaxation time. I feel like the personal Facebook page was like wearing blinkers, and one you get rid of it, you realise how much better it is to just use your time on product things. 99.99% of my posts on instagram and twitter are for business purposes only, promoting what I do or people I work with.

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