Santa Barbara Business Network

Facebook Privacy Issues | Run or Pivot?

“Should You Be Leaving Facebook for Greener Pastures?”

With the alarming news regarding FACEBOOK and YOUR PRIVACY, many are wondering if they should run from using Facebook all together.

I came across a Facebook Live with Kim Garst, and it seemed like a nice short summary of  Facebook issues that would be of interest to small business owners, whom we serve through the Santa Barbara Business Network (SBBN).  However, as with ALL commentaries, it’s wise to verify information shared and if possible get input from others with expertise in the area of the topic.  Following some notes taken from Kim’s commentary are a few differing points provided by a local social media marketing specialist who has earned our trust and has demonstrated his expertise with impressive marketing results: Gabe Perea, owner of Gold Social Media.  Finally, I will provide my own take as both a small business owner and, put simply, a concerned individual.

Kim Garst is an online business strategist who helps people make money using social and digital media.  She went on Facebook and titled her discussion: “Should You Be Leaving Facebook for Greener Pastures?”   She believes there are many stories and speculations that are not true and are essentially causing more panic than necessary.  She believes that the Cambridge Analytica story is not true; information was not “scraped” or “stolen”; that when people installed the APP, the API gave that APP permission to pull information.  With every APP we use, we are giving away our Privacy Rights, not just with Facebook.

Kim’s suggestion to reduce risk to your privacy is as follows:  go into your SETTINGS and clean up your PROFILE.  Clean up what you don’t want people to have access to, including your interests and activities (i.e. data points).  She notes: “Every time we use ANY platform we are susceptible to third parties to ‘scrape’ information for their purposes.”   She says Facebook is in the hot seat, so we can expect them to address the concerns.

“As Business Owners, How Does it Impact Us?
How does it look like going forward?”

Kim states that Facebook was created to connect people and has enabled us to deliver content to the masses: “The opportunity given to us, as business owners, is tremendous. Where else can you connect with 2 billion people?  Facebook gives us an open platform to do this.”

Every business owner throughout history has had to spend advertising money.  Facebook enables business owners to get a lot of free advertising.  Even after Facebook has gone to a Pay-to-Play model, there is much opportunity through the use of their platform.

“Social Media and Online Space is ALWAYS SHIFTING”

Kim uses the example of Banner Ads.  Remember how popular they were? and effective!  Then after awhile, to use her phrase, “banner blindness” set in.
What works today, may not work tomorrow.  Expect CHANGE.

“You cannot be successful long-term if you don’t learn the art of the pivot”

Kim shares tips on algorithms, building better content, organic reach and the anticipated popularity for Instagram.

Bottom line:  No Greener Pastures, according to Kim Garst.

COMMENTS REGARDING KIM GARST VIDEO:

Gabe Perea, Gold Social Media:
Gabe agreed with a couple of her points but disagreed with another.

“Yes, having privacy online is a myth unless you’re using virtual private networks (VPNs) to mask your location and you never use an email or social media account that provides any actual information about yourself. Even then, it’s likely that Facebook can still gather information on you even if you don’t have an account.”

However, Gabe disagrees with Kim’s downplaying Facebook’s problems due to it being “a baby” or a “teenager” because it’s only 14 years old.  Social Media as a whole is a relatively new field, but the lines that are being crossed aren’t justified by social media being a relatively new industry.

“The employees at Facebook aren’t teenagers. It’s a group of adults working together. I don’t see how just because the company happens to be 14 years old that suddenly means the people who make up the company have a harder time telling right from wrong.”

How is Facebook able to gather so much data?

“Facebook takes advantage of human laziness. They know that the vast majority of people won’t read the terms to what they’re signing up for.  They know that most people expect their information to only be available to those they allow. That’s what I agree with Kim on: we give Facebook our information.”

With the recent Mark Zuckerberg hearing can we expect these privacy concerns to be over?

“This is not the first time Facebook has been in the spotlight due to privacy concerns, and we shouldn’t expect this to be the last.”

Is the solution to delete your Facebook account?

“Not unless you want to delete other social media platforms, such as Instagram which is owned by Facebook.  A good rule of thumb  is to assume every post, photo, and video you’ve ever posted will continue to exist somewhere.  Have you ever seen someone post a screenshot of a conversation they were having on social media? Assume that’s being done with your posts!  So, next time you want to post something take a minute and ask yourself if you’re comfortable with that post existing forever.”

Ask Yourself:  Are You comfortable with your post existing forever?

Gabe also recommends that we don’t believe every headline you see race across your newsfeed.  Take the extra couple of minutes to double verify it before you share it.

Check out the facts, before you share it.

Sandy Goe, Santa Barbara Business Network & Events with Purpose

Protect your privacy as much as possible. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each individual to minimize exploitation of their personal information.  Unfortunately, we will never be able to put Pandora back into the box and lock it, and pretend the abuse of our information never happened.  It did, and we are yet to know the full ramifications. The best we can do going forward is to take the proper precautions.  Be informed by tuning in with those who are focused in this area of technology, such as  Gold Social Media, Social Punch Marketing, and others.  For an ID Theft watchdog, consider Legal Shield’s ID Theft service.

Personally, I probably would be less inclined to be using Facebook if I did not own a small business.  Professionally, using Facebook is essential for small business owners to approach a level playing field with competitors and larger companies.

In the early 1980’s I worked as the Assistant Marketing Director for E.W. Hahn Corporation at two of their locations:  Santa Anita Fashion Park and La Cumbre Plaza, Santa Barbara.  This was BEFORE the personal computers, BEFORE Facebook or any social media.   During the pre-social media years, businesses had to consider these forms of advertising:

  • Daily Newspaper
  • Weekly Newspaper
  • Shopper
  • Telephone Directories
  • Direct Mail
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Transit
  • Local Magazine

The advantages were that people were reading newspapers daily and attentive to radio and TV to find out the latest news, sales and events.  Major disadvantages of some of these advertising vehicles were that you couldn’t really select your audience, your ad may not be read by those you were trying to reach, and for others they came with a high cost and variable ROI (return on your investment).

Today, with the world wide web, personal computers, smartphones, and social media gone wild, it’s time to embrace the reality of CHANGE, and make the best business decisions, considering your options.  I agree with Kim Garst that you must “learn the art of the pivot”.

Besides on-line marketing, regardless of technology progression or what culture we live in, we will always be human, with human needs, which includes personal interaction, face-to-face affirmation and big hugs!   Special events including workshops, conferences, meet-ups, parties, or just sharing a walk or a cup of coffee, will never be outdone by technology.

FACEBOOK PRIVACY ISSUES | RUN? or PIVOT?

Do your own evaluation and decide what’s best for YOU personally, and then for YOUR BUSINESS.

We have “experts” to help.  We share common challenges and have great connections!  Connect with us.

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