Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Facebook Ugly

When I joined Facebook just about 3 years ago (wow, 3 years!), I had low expectations for what kind of experience I'd have at this website.  I'd heard lots of stories, of course.  For the last 3 years my experience of "connecting" with people there has been mostly positive.  I've enjoyed finding old friends I'd lost touch with as well as being found.  The half-brother I hadn't known existed even found me there.  Eyes on Life enjoys a presence there too with a page all its own.  Come visit and like it! 

Truly negative experiences had missed me but I'd read of others' hits in groups I joined.  I read them with interest, hoping that I wouldn't be blocked or spammed or defamed or any of the other ways people have discovered on Facebook to throw their childish tantrums or act out their very adult rages.  Part of connecting with people includes dealing with the darker side of humanity.  Up until last week, the worst that had occurred to me was unwanted friend requests from college guys in Liberia or Nigeria.

Occasionally, I search out fan pages at Facebook and "like" them.  It's fun to see that other people have similar interests or passions and how they express them.  Last week, I found a fan page on a subject of interest and liked it.  When I posted a message, I inadvertently stepped on the page's administrator's ego by sharing some information about dvds available for sale related to the page's subject.  I did not know that the fan page wasn't a true fan page but a page for the administrator's business of selling dvds related to the page's subject on ebay.  I do not shop at ebay. My perusal of the page had not gone far enough, I discovered, after receiving a very snarky response to my post.  When I went to the page, I learned that the administrator had deleted my post, so I responded to his response with a series of questions regarding the product he was selling.  They were genuine questions of things I wanted to know, but he apparently thought otherwise.  Rather than giving me the benefit of the doubt or any kind of courtesy, he summarily blocked me from the page.

Which was his right, of course.  However, he also lost a potential customer along with all my Facebook friends.  Is that any way to do business?

I've not been a persona non grata before.  It's not a comfortable feeling.  At the same time, I see the page's administrator's response as more his problem than mine.  I had not badmouthed his product or the page.  I had not posted obscene material.  I had followed all of Facebook's rules of behavior.  If he had sent me a message explaining that his fan page was really a business page and he did not welcome posts about his competitors, I would have understood and agreed with his decision to remove my post.  I would have welcomed that kind of respectful response.  He also would have generated a LOT of goodwill by allowing me to re-post my message without mentioning his competition and allowing me to participate at the page.

On the other hand, if the administrator had been completely honest about the nature of his page, I would not have made the mistake I made.  Every page has an "About" section.  There was nothing in his "About" section about selling DVDs or about his business.  The messages about his business were posts on the page's Timeline and very easy to miss.  This kind of shadiness makes me think that maybe I wouldn't want to do business with him anyway.

I'll continue to peruse Facebook for fan pages -- real fan pages.  I've already found others that I've "liked."  I may think twice about writing posts or participating at the pages, though.  At least for a while.....  Facebook ugly like my experience with that fan page may be mild ugly compared to some of the rages there, but it's still ugly. 


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