Unintended advantages

I’m getting dozens of emails asking for my script. See, there’s a ton of people who WANT to be deleted from Facebook. So far Facebook has been denying them, saying it’s impossible to delete everything you’ve ever done from Facebook. Well, if you go over to Rodney Rumford’s blog you can see that’s totally hogwash. Facebook CAN totally delete you from Facebook IF IT WANTS!

Well, I will talk to the developers about that later today. Suw makes the same point in a Seesmic video, by the way.

Me? My account is still down and haven’t heard back from Facebook yet. Since it’s just about 7 a.m. here in California, I expect it’ll be a few more hours before I hear back.

Facebook claims it is a “utility.” Well, I like how Kara Swisher put it. Hint: “utilities” have due process and don’t just shut down someone’s account without a warning. You should see the comments on my last post. Some people didn’t even knowingly break the rules and never got a good answer for why their accounts were shut down.

Oh, and Jimmy Wales (the guy who founded Wikipedia) wrote me and said, about my attempts to get my own social data back: “This is the kind of thing that I would consider to be a *benefit to our customers* rather than a *threat to our business*.”

Anyway, it’s interesting being in the middle of a Twitter storm. Hundreds of messages about this issue have been written since I first posted last night.

Trying out the new Facebook ads

Bill Erickson noticed a General Motors ad that had my name and picture associated to it. Yeah, I love my Saturn so I joined their fan page. It’ll be interesting to see how companies and people use these ads and whether these turn off Facebook users or not.

One thing that pisses me off? Facebook is making a ton of money on these ads yet I don’t get anything for basically endorsing products.

We’re such suckers for going along with this scheme.

Where the hell is Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook?

It’s just totally amazing to me how badly Facebook is handling the PR around its new Beacon system.

This story is NOT going away. Even if this particular story goes away, there’s a bad taste in our mouths because Facebook tried to do something that clearly wasn’t for the users. When David Weinberger, one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto, says that you have a real PR problem.

Yet when I look at TechMeme I don’t see ONE SINGLE INTERVIEW that Mark Zuckerberg, or top executives at Facebook, have given ANYONE.

Hell, don’t like me or other bloggers? Then give a press conference with professional press.

ANYTHING would be better than the way that Facebook is handling this.

This is what happens when a startup gets a controlling PR belief system. Steve Jobs can pull that off. Not many companies can.

Facebook’s PR machinery is hiding its head in the sand and hoping this story goes away.

Hint: it’s not.

Do the press conference. Admit you screwed up. Take your shots. Look into the camera and say you’re sorry.

Crisis PR hint: don’t answer company bashing with text messages. Do it in video and with live events. Have the CEO do it.

Or don’t. It’s your reputation, not mine that’s at stake here.

Or, maybe, Zuckerberg is about to get fired from his CEO job? That’s the gesture that’s being communicated to the world by not appearing in person and doing a press conference.

It’s amazing to see how fast Zuckerberg’s stock is falling in the conversation networks I’m hanging out in.

"I love Fake Steve Jobs" and Facebook's PR crisis

Here’s my Fake Steve Jobs story (Fake Steve Jobs is a blog that pretends it’s written by Apple CEO/co-founder Steve Jobs. It got popular this year and recently it was revealed that a Forbes Magazine employee is its author).

Last week I was getting an iced latte at the new Peets in Half Moon Bay. I was wearing a Blogger T-shirt. Old school. There a lady came up to me and asked “is that the Fake Steve Jobs T-shirt?”

I remembered that FSJ published his blog on Blogger and figured the Blogger logo was confusing this lady who assumed it was FSJ’s logo. Blogger, as you know, is the blog service from Google which was started by Evan Williams, er, evhead.

Anyway, I explained to her that the logo wasn’t really Fake Steve Jobs, but rather the tool he published with. Demonstrates that there’s a lot of brand power in Fake Steve Jobs.

As she walked away she said “I love Fake Steve Jobs.”

Truth be told I love FSJ too. Why?


1. He’s funny, even when he attacks me.
2. Everytime he links he sends boatloads of traffic. I don’t know why I love that, but it makes me happy to see that Fake Steve Jobs has boatloads more readers than Valleywag does (Valleywag says they have tons of traffic, but they don’t click on anything. I’ve been on both sites dozens of times and FSJ’s audience clicks at 20x the rate that Valleywag’s does).
3. He’s been talking about me looking for a job lately which brings a big smile to my face although someone shoot me if I ever take a CEO job. That doesn’t sound fun to me at all. Lucrative, yes, but not fun and I simply wouldn’t be good at that.
4. He’s a lot better writer than I am.
5. He’s a lot better speaker than I am.
6. He has a cool job at a big business magazine (Forbes).

I wish I could get FSJ on my show. Something fun would be to do a little debate about something. Remember, the guy who writes Fake Steve Jobs is actually a Forbes magazine employee, Daniel Lyons. He was the guy who wrote a cover article back in 2005 about how blogs sucked. Everyone who thinks Daniel is such a great blogger should go back and read that article and compare his beliefs back then with FSJ today. Oh, sorry, that’s not funny.

I wonder if Daniel still feels the same way about blogs attacking brand value now that he uses a blog to attack other people, companies, and things?

Or, we could be more professional and debate industry topics like the state of Apple’s brand value or whether the Amazon Kindle is well designed or not.

Hmmm, maybe we should just do a panel session at a conference and debate about how much value Facebook is going to destroy due to horrible PR? That might be entertaining.

Facebook has the most controlling PR department outside of Apple and it sure is in the middle of a PR crisis right now.

I feel ambivalent about the troubles Facebook is having right now. Personally I’m having lots of trouble with Facebook but Facebook doesn’t care about people who have more than 5,000 friends unless they can figure out a way to monetize us. Everytime I look at Facebook I am reminded of how little Facebook cares about me. So, I care less and less about Facebook every day.

My phone number is on my Facebook entry. Interesting that Facebook could use me to answer the community’s concerns. I’d give them hours of video time on my show. But they only seem interested in talking to big-brand journalists and I’m not interested enough to pull out my Fast Company business cards to get them to pay attention. They should invite 40 bloggers who are lower on the TechMeme leaderboard than me and just have a conversation about the mess they are in. But they’ll never do that because they are so damn controlling about what they say and who they say it to.

For completeness, here’s Facebook’s official answer to the latest troubles with its Beacon advertising scheme.

Anyway, that was a really long entry to say that I’d rather read Fake Steve Jobs than log into Facebook lately. At least with FSJ I get entertained as I get bashed. With Facebook I just am reminded that there’s more than 1,000 people that I can’t help because of Facebook’s lame scalability issues. MySpace or upstart Zude are sure looking better and better. Just get that OpenSocial platform done and let’s get on with it!