Saturday, May 31, 2008

Think twice before getting serious with Facebook

This is another post inspired in some way by Robert Scoble. He wrote a post and uploaded a recorded conversation with a guy who was kicked out from Facebook without a real reason. There are several comments that are valid and set the real situation - all the people are certain that people should not be banished like that while one of the comments done by Mike (no last name or a link unfortunately) points out properly that besides the fact that this is not right, Facebook owners and editors will not lose sleep over it nor this fact (which definitely is not the first occasion) will be a front page news piece. So far so good/bad … what is kind of important here, though?

These type of social networks must have some kind of spam prevention services or tools that really work, that is for sure. What the real deal for me is can be described like that – these type of managed /hosted publicly available and monitored/explored hosted social networks cannot be really trusted and used for serious business or important personal activities. They can get you down at any point. Absolutely. Sometimes (as in this case) without any real reason. They can always shut you down with the simple explanation that they do not like you. Since you “are not paying” anything, you cannot complain.

I do not want to diminish the value Facebook brings to the online community nor do I think it is useless. On the contrary, almost all WordFrame personnel have Facebook accounts and we also have a WordFrame group there. What I would like to point out is that one should have more than just warning lights lit when he/she plans to use Facebook for serious and important business or personal stuff.

There are at least a dozen companies that will help you create the proper business social network (WordFrame is one of them, (sorry, could not resist the bragging)). Some of the companies have business social networking tools for free, others have great offers for the software, plus the hosting or the maintenance after that. The software apps are different in type, functionality and usability - at least a couple are open source, some built on java, some on php, some on .NET/C# . The most important part here is that one can have a contract with any of these companies, and if anything happens – there is someone to take the responsibility.

Well, too bad for that guy, I really feel sorry for him, but he was supposed to think twice when he trusted an online social networking solution which clearly states that it cannot be blamed for almost anything when it comes to their free services.

Probably, it is high time for the people that need social media apps or social networking software tools online and they are planning to use them heavily, to realize that there is no free lunch. If you are cheap enough not to even pay for the hosting of a free application that will do similar things – well, please do not complain in such a loud voice. If you want to do some serious work, both business and/or personal – be careful and expect to be treated differently compared to the way the paid solutions will treat you.

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