I think I had a meltdown on twitter today.
tweet #1 – "do people really understand the ramifications of constantly sending invites and questions via Facebook? There are ramifications. Major ones."
tweet #2 – "ramifications = I think less of you. I stop listening to you. Others do the same. Your online social network status relegates you to Spam."
I wonder how many people realize what Facebook is doing to their personal brand. I think most people who use Facebook and add applications or join events don’t realize that some of these applications actually notify your entire network, invite them to join or other semi-malicious tactics in an attempt to build traffic (and their databases).
There are two incidents that spurred this Blog posting, and my thinking about one’s Personal Brand and the negative impact it could face in the wake of these open applications. First, someone sent a "what are you doing for New Year’s" question, and then I got barraged by someone else with no less than invites to groups and events. I understand the kind of scrutiny I’m opening myself up to. Stuff like, "that’s what you get for having 1,330 ‘friends’." I’m fine with that, and I have no issue hitting the "ignore" button for invites or causes that don’t make sense to me. My concern is that the people who are sending these messages may not even really understand that they’re doing this. You know, pre-checked boxes that say things like, "notify my entire network" and other disloyal Marketing tactics.
Bottom line: this is building the Facebook application developer’s brand… and killing your personal brand. Whether you do it knowingly or are an unwilling accomplice, I see messages and invites from certain people and there’s a bad taste in my mouth.
I’ve read all about adjusting my security options so I don’t get these messages/invites, but that’s not the point either. I want the people who are "sending" them to be educated. I want them to know how badly it’s hurting their Personal Brand. I want them to better understand how these channels connect and what their online personal brand feels like to others.
When Tom Peters got all excited about the power of Personal Branding (nearly ten years ago), there was no way he could have seen how online social networks would change and enhance one’s ability to develop their Personal Brand. With the amount of Facebook spam floating around today, my guess is he’d be equally disgusted with what it could do to hurt one’s personal brand.