For many reasons, I’ve never been much of a friend of Facebook’s. And this sentiment has only increased lately, as news from and about FB in the last few weeks has been a steady stream of evidence as to why one shouldn’t trust the company or its $4-billion, 26-year-old CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. More on that in a moment, and it is troubling. But it’s not a good reason to tar all social media with the same brush.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Yes, the red flags being waved about Facebook are a strong signal that those who have been thinking about dipping their toe in the social media pool have all the more reason to leave FB alone for a while. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it means that it’s therefore that much easier to decide to focus your social media efforts elsewhere, and especially on platforms where the rules of the game are clear and not changing every few weeks.
If you think of LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs as they’re most commonly used, it’s as public channels open to the world. And if you use them as such, you’ll never find yourself in a situation increasingly common to users of Facebook, in which you unhappily discover that something you thought you were communicating to a private audience is now accessible to everyone in Google’s search results. With LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs, everyone understands the #1 ground rule: This is for public consumption.
Of course, you could use Facebook in the same professional way that most use LinkedIn and many use Twitter, but that would be a bit like donning your best suit to wear to your kid’s soccer game in the rain. Not only will people look at you funny, but your best efforts to stay professional likely will just send you home in a muddy suit.