“If I see one more post of Farmville I swear I will burn your crops”

But it's such a cute little duck...

No, I don’t really mean that.  It’s a Facebook page (press “like” if you agree!!!!!!!).

We talked today in class about some of the issues that make social media marketing a little scary, and one of them was the increasing number of security concerns on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.  One student (thanks Lisa!) has posted a recent New York Times article that discusses viruses and other harmful social media activities.

Another issue that I think is just as worrisome is the increasing number of Facebook sites that ask you to go to an external website, and sometimes even enter personal information, if you want to “like” something.  Some of them are fairly harmless, like the sites that take you to a place where you can sign up for a daily inspirational quote (which seems reasonable, considering you liked the inspiration that got you there in the first place).  But there are other sites, and I’m not posting links for these, which say things like “you won’t believe what a girl found in her McDonald’s Happy Meal!!!!! (apparently, multiple exclamation points are necessary to get your attention).  When you click on that one, you have to click “verify” and then “share” to get to the information.  I really don’t want to know what happens behind the scenes while I’m clicking on these things.

What does this mean to our social media marketing?  Part of it, I think, has to do with the fact that some social media activities, like playing games and posting a page where you collected people who wanted to see if a poodle with a tinfoil hat could get more fans than Glenn Beck started out innocently but then exploded in popularity really, really quickly.  When people start seeing things happen really, really quickly online, it doesn’t take a huge leap to realize that there are people with something to sell who will try and take advantage. 

People are naturally trusting, and millions will jump right into the social media waters without thinking too hard about the consequences.  What could be so bad about playing Farmville?  Not a lot…unless you start to get addicted enough that you need to start buying Facebook credits or signing up for subscriptions to things in order to keep playing.  What could be bad about “liking” a Facebook page?  Nothing…unless it’s a hoax, like the guy named Woody who said he needed to collect 500,000 Facebook fans to get Wendy’s hamburgers for life.  There was no guy named Woody, it was all set up by Wendy’s.  Talk about Happy Meals…the backlash for Wendy’s has cost them a lot of friends, both virtual and actual.

Of course, we all know that community arts organizations would NEVER, ever, in a Million Years do anything like that.  I want to think it’s because we have scruples, but it may be because we aren’t smart enough, or that we don’t have the resources to deal with even a positive reponse, much less a negative one.  But here’s why we should care.  If people start getting so jaded about social media that they stop liking things, it decreases our chances of being successful.  At what point do people just reach “like” burnout and refuse to like anything else?  At what point do they stop relying on social media at all?  I already have one friend (still my friend in real life) who has deactivated her Facebook page because of security concerns (Gerri, click if you “like” this).   

Here’s my question for the day.  Do you have security concerns on social media?  How are you dealing with them?  And most importantly, how can nonprofits shield themselves from the backlash and the problems?

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About Ellen Rosewall

I am Professor and Chair of Arts Management and author of Arts Management: Uniting Arts and Audiences in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 2013). I believe that arts and culture are undergoing a profound change in the 21st century, and I love talking with people about how we continue to bring arts to our communities and individuals give the brave new world of social media, technology and economic changes. Join the conversation!
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9 Responses to “If I see one more post of Farmville I swear I will burn your crops”

  1. Margaret Burton says:

    Am I worried about security on Facebook? Absolutely. I keep my privacy options on the most restrictive settings. I generally don’t join groups unless I know the moderator OR have ties with a national company or organization. I do not press “Like” for random quote pages. I don’t play Farmville. I’ve also learned not to join the pages where you click to donate to charity. I just don’t like giving out that much information, because I hate receiving the follow-up marketing in my FB Message Inbox.

    On the other hand, I do join many local and national arts org’s group pages, and enjoy hearing from them! I also follow a few celebrities, performing artists and radio shows. 🙂

  2. Jean Wentz says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Margaret.

  3. Robyn Perrin says:

    As you’ve alluded, there is an enormous generational gap in terms of expectation of privacy. While there are always individual exceptions, Generation Y and Gen Z/Net Gen see some compensation of privacy a necessary price to pay for full online engagement in all its glory.

    Do hope that future posts will touch on intellectual property issues regarding facebook and other social media sites. This is an ever-evolving area.

  4. melyssak says:

    Like they always say Curiosity Killed the Cat…sometimes its hard not to click on those things because you want to know what the heck could possibly be in her happy meal, but once you get to that next step and they need your permission to continue, that nice red flag goes up and I walk away. There is nothing on facebook that can’t be found on another site or be answered in a search engine with far less commitment and information sharing.
    Its scary though to think that one hoax page could ruin it for all of the honest people, organizations and businesses who are using social media for the greater good.

  5. Gerri says:

    I am the “real life friend” to whom Ellen refers 😉

    Actually, I deactivated my account for a LOT of reasons (one being that I already spend too much time online as it is, another being that I didn’t want to have to read manuals to learn how to protect my privacy…Ellen: get your birth year off your profile!!) but the clincher being I was annoyed having to deal with Friend requests from people I had not seen in 30 years and could not care less about.

    Either I am much beloved in the hearts of many OR (more likely) there are a LOT of people out there with nothing better to do than search the names of every single person with whom they’ve ever had an encounter. People say “just ignore them” but then I end up feeling rude. And ignoring people can have real world consequences.

    So anyway, when I deactivated my account, I had to walk through many steps, including a page that demanded to know why I was leaving. I answered “None of your beeswax.” After that page, I was presented with a screen headed “Are you SURE you want to deactivate? Your 57 friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with you. ” And sure enough, there were the profile pictures of my friends captioned like “Ellen will miss you. Send Ellen a message.” It was truly heartbreaking to know Ellen and I would now lose contact (except for the 22 emails we send back and forth every day) but I hit “Confirm” anyway.

    Turns out I am not dead but merely sleeping. When I wanted to send my nephew congrats on his new baby, I merely entered my login and password, and it was like I’d never left. If a person REALLY wants to cut it off, they have to search through the Help section for “delete account.” Then I suppose you’re truly dead.

  6. You know; all you really have to do is copy and past what you like from that like button quote and put it in your status (that is if you really like it)! What happens if you click on the like button on your blog. You see my face not a good thing. 😦
    As for the Non-Profit issue blogs through their websites and add donate buttons. Market themselves through other blogs etc. etc. ect. ———> off to check my privacy settings! Nice Post! Thank you….

  7. lizzweier says:

    I actually have been thinking about how Facebook has become too involved lately. Meaning it requires too much of my time if I really want to keep up with every single site I’ve decided to “like”. It used to be I wrote all of my favorite TV shows, books and music in my profile so my friends could see what we have in common. Now all of the things I listed are liked to their fan pages so not only do I get feedback everytime something is posted on these pages but updates too. How do I find time in the day to check all of that and digest the info? It really seems silly that I have to keep up with the fact I “like” Diet Coke and all of the latest news! I feel like it has all slowly spinning out of control. Is Facebook a social networking site for work and/or play? It is merging and I can’t keep up!! (i don’t really want too!)

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