Like millions of us I woke up today to the alarm on my smartphone and logged in to Facebook. There wasn’t a particular reason to do so but it’s always good to see if I’ve missed anything – be that a life event of a friend overseas, a particular news article or the latest funny cat meme.
But today was different. Today Facebook managed to p*ss me, and the rest of the internet, right off. Right at the top of the feed was a message that simply read “Good morning Daniel! Thanks for being here – enjoy Facebook today”. As one friend said “I hadn’t even had my f*cking coffee”.
But why did the internet “rage”, “rant” and “spew everywhere” because of this seemingly innocous post?
Well firstly it’s intrusive. Facebook is a platform that we use to stay connected with friends and family (79%) or reconnect with friends and family (78%), by the admission of Facebook’s own research. Facebook is neither friend nor family and at worst is a necessary evil – let’s face it there is a reason the younger generation are moving off it. You can’t just walk in to a person’s personal space and wave your hands in their face.
Secondly the post offers no value – and this is the most important point. It is just blatant advertising to encourage people to continue to use their platform. Facebook themselves, with their purchase of Instagram and subsequent sales pitch, tells brands and agencies to offer value in their posts to make it engaging. That value can be in the form of entertainment, utlity, new news, etc. In fact even if you pay for ads on Facebook they are starting to down weight visibility of those ads if they offer no value – or as Facebook put it, look like an ad. ‘Hey, look at me’ offers no value. And the fact that the post is saccharine just makes it all the more rage inducing. This post is an annoying kid in a supermarket tugging on your shirt sleeve trying to get your attention.
And finally the personalisation of it reminds us just how much data Facebook has on us, and we don’t like that. Getting a message from Facebook including our name and the time of day we’re accessing the platforms is niggling at best and creepy at worst. Relevance is key to the success of any post but this blanket personalisation with no value is just annoying.
That’s the one of the roles of the modern, digitally-savvy agency like FCB – ensuring the quality of content no matter its role. With this post Facebook went against everything it preaches and the result was almost inevitable. As @veronicafeverx posted: “Good evening, Hannah! Thanks for being here – enjoy Facebook tonight.” *logs off immediately*
– Dan West