(An honest breakup from a marketer after a four-year relationship.)
I know we’ve known each other since 2006. Believe me, this is not an easy conversation to have. We’ve both been through a lot. I raised $750,000, you raised over $400,000,000, I have a small team of mostly volunteers, and you have over 1,200 employees worldwide. We both have made our share of brilliant and stupid decisions. The spotlight and our 15-plus minutes of fame have been good. You’ve gotten a few more national network shows than I have. That’s OK. I’ll be catching up soon.
I have to admit I started my relationship with you because of intense peer pressure and media hype. Everyone was doing you. And yes, I wanted to feel that connection, too. In the beginning, you were a fairly low- maintenance hookup. It was casual fun, a few applications, and goofy ways to gift and entertain others. Then you got way too social and now have hundreds of millions of others that you connect with, too. Some are respectable citizens, some are monkeys on the run from the St. Pete police, and some are creepy pedophiles. Maybe it’s my conservative values, but it feels sleazy to me.
OK, that lack of real intimacy was attractive at first. You never asked for more than my head shot, and my hip cellulite was not exposed. I enjoyed our time together.
Recently, things have changed. You look different. Our goals are miles apart. I need to focus on things that move my business dial. You are all over the place. I’m a design snob, and your environment is so Yellow Pages looking, and all those time-sucking, useless apps are starting to get on my last nerve.
I need a break. No checking in, no dialogue, no meeting new friends, and no small talk with old ones for at least six months. No wall talk, no pics, and absolutely no video, unless "60 Minutes" calls.
I’m leading a startup with a clear business mission. I’ve got limited resources and need to get solid ROI on every investment of time. I’ve got to stay laser focused on growing a sustainable venture, not share beer shots with a bunch of people I hardly know.
Don’t take this wrong. You are great for millions others out there. This is all about me. They are my issues.
Who am I seeing? Well, it’s complicated. There are few. LinkedIn seems to meet my needs, and Twitter gives me instant gratification. There also are a few blogs that I really value. I’m not committed to any one thing. You know that’s not my style. But this thing with you has got to take a serious break. It’s going nowhere. Call me selfish, but you do not bring me any traffic for time involved. It’s just freaking frustrating. In the past, I’ve been on the down-low about all of this, but I feel it’s my responsibility to tell my other friends, especially other startups and entrepreneurs. No one or business person should ever feel guilt about not being immersed or active in Facebook. When you are running a business, you must spend your time on things that matter and make a difference.
I’ve thought long and hard about this. I believe this is the best for me and my future. One more important thing: I’ve respected your privacy. I've not shared your personal data or where you buy your underwear. I trust you will do the same.
It’s been fun, but I’ve had enough. I’m officially taking a Facebook break for at least six full months. If you need me, you’ve got my Twitter handle and my phone number. Do you still use a phone?
Anyhow, ciao for now!
P.S. I’m serious as a heart attack. Social media is a wonderful thing, but every tool is not right for every business. (For a simple, straightforward starter guide to social media, check out this Social media Ta-Do list.) If your time is limited, like mine, leverage what brings you leads and helps build your brand. Save Facebook for when you’ve made lots of money, and you just want to kill some time.)
Karen Post, aka The Branding Diva®, is an international branding expert, consultant, and speaker. She has been featured in a broad range of media outlets, including Bloomberg TV and radio, CBS's "The Early Show," The New York Times, The New York Post, NPR, Fast Company, and The Boston Globe. She is also the author of Brand Turnaround (McGraw-Hill) and Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers' Minds (AMACOM).