… And Facebook for All
At least, that’s what Mark Zuckerberg would want us all to think, wish and feel. I can understand that, a desire to make a website about as universal as possible. Once the site stopped being exclusive to collegians, the inevitable business model was to universalize it. And the site, today (although that will probably change), has about the best chance to become a truly universal web experience as any site.
So, are you on the biggest social media site on the planet? About 2.93 billion monthly active users are, as of 2022. But, wait, not so fast. Is that number truly accurate? Absolutely not. After all (and for different reasons), my husband and I each have more than one account. Do you? Even if you don’t, I bet you’ve got at least one friend who does, and probably lots more.
And that is perfectly all right, and is absolutely permitted by the site (although they’d like to change that). And they are trying to….
Facebook also pushes for users to go with their correct names. Why? Because if you can hide behind a username, you might flame people more than if you can’t. Real names also (in theory) help to eliminate duplicates. But in all honesty, how many guys named Mike Brown do you know? I can think of two I’ve known in my life and that figure is probably more like four or five.
Even middle names might not fix such a duplication issue. There are probably several men with the name of Michael David Brown in the world.
Also, though, another use for real names is better marketing. If you Anglicize your name, then an advertiser might miss that you’re Hispanic, and incorrectly market to you.
Not So Fast On Those Real Names
We have all seen names which are not quite so perfectly right, though. How many of us have seen married women using a middle name of something like Was(whatever their maiden name was)? Hence Susan Davis might call herself Susan WasSmith Davis. It’s not a perfect solution, and you don’t really have to do that, anyway. Still, there are plenty of people who do.
Others might place a nickname within the middle name field. Robert Bob Brady, or Richard Dick Daily. But again, they might not have to. The more common nicknames are already going to come up in a search, even though, in both of these examples, the nickname starts with a letter different from the full name.
Still others may try to use stage names, but Facebook would rather you just created a fan page or had someone do so for you. This is not just to nicely help you keep your personal and professional lives separate. It’s also to market to your fan base better.
No Real Name, No, I Mean it, Facebook!
Then there are people who have damned good reasons for never using their real names, such as people escaping domestic violence. Facebook has gotten better and more sensitive when it comes to such needs.
The site’s main purpose (in case you’re just coming into the light after a few years on a desert island), is to sell advertising. Its offshoot purpose is to connect people, of all stripes, for free. But it’s those connections which sell the advertising.
There’s a lot else to it, at least on a general basis. But it’s still a valuable business tool for any Social Media Marketing Campaign.
But never forget: you’re the product that Facebook is selling.
The Best Parts of the Site for Social Media Marketing
Facebook’s main virtues, when it comes to your business, can currently be divided into three basic areas:
- Personal pages and peripheral connections to same
- Company pages and groups and peripheral connections thereto, and,
- Offsite connections back to the site
By “peripherals”, I mean all the extra stuff that goes along with the site experience, and not computer hardware peripherals.
The Concept of Universalish Reach at Facebook
Beyond just the sheer numbers, Facebook is extremely good at putting people together who are similar. You always get friend suggestions, yes? Those people tend to either have friends in common with you, or they have some other characteristic in common with you. That ‘in common’ bit might be home town. Or it might be favorite sports team. Another possible connection could be where you work.
Now, let’s face it: if you work in a huge Fortune 50 company, then you’ll have tons of coworkers. And the chances are beyond good that you won’t know everyone. You may not even know everyone in your office building or even on your floor.
So sometimes when a friend request arises, it may feel like a mystery. Hence – look for a commonality.
Clutches of People
But let’s get back to the people you do connect with. It’s perfectly natural to hang out with the people you went to high school with, or who love the same sports team you do. You might feel more comfortable with fellow cancer survivors. Or you might want to set up a political echo chamber. Another thing you might want to do is spend time with people in the same profession as you.
But no matter what, we people tend to group together. It’s a natural tendency. We’ve been gathering together since before there was a Homo sapiens species.
Facebook just exploits that. Really, really well.
And if antitrust cases go one way, they might not in the future. But we don’t know that yet.