I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how people really need to start their own personal fan pages on Facebook to be really effective. I’ve been pretty good about holding my tongue, but darn it all, I just can’t hold it in any longer.
I think fan pages for people are really, really stupid.
Now understand, I am not saying that fan pages on Facebook are stupid. I am not saying that a fan page for a book, an entity, a school, or sleep is stupid. Well, ok, maybe a fan page for sleep is *kind of* stupid. But there will never be a Margie Clayman fan page on Facebook. I don’t care how famous you are or how many followers you have on Twitter. The concept of a fan page for a person kind of makes me get a headache.
Well, here are some thoughts. You tell me if you agree or not.
Isn’t your profile on Facebook kind of a fan page already?
Let’s talk about a personal page on Facebook as it exists right now (it’s likely to change in the next five minutes or so, of course). OK so, you have your bio information. You have pictures of you, your family, your pets, foods you’ve eaten, clothes you’ve bought, and maybe some random anteaters you’ve seen. You have links to your blog site, probably mentions of where people can find you elsewhere in the online world, and you have friends. Oh so many friends.
What else could you want in a “fan” page? I’m all for changing Facebook’s name to Fanbook, in fact. Think about it for an instant. Aren’t we sort of assuming people we friend on Facebook are fans? Who but fans would put up with some much information about, well, us?
“I need to be myself. I’m creating a fan page.”
I’ve seen this a lot over my tenure in Facebook world, and I have to say I don’t really understand this line of thinking. The rationale is that your personal page is for people you’re really close to and then your fan page is for the drivel. I meant, the fans. Your acquaintances.
I have a few problems with this. First of all, if you create a fan page and close off your personal page, that’s just going to raise questions. What are they saying on their personal very public no privacy Facebook page that they aren’t willing to say out in the open? Second of all, why is that person part of their personal profile but I’m just limited to fandom?
More disconcerting is this thought that if you “lock down” your Facebook profile, you actually have privacy. I worry for people who post extremely personal things on their Facebook pages. That status update about how much you hate your job can be shared. It can be copied and pasted. It can show up in someone’s “ticker.” If your concern is privacy, the best path is to avoid saying anything that could be embarrassing. A fan page will not help you in this endeavor, nor will a million lock-downs on your Facebook account.
Fan pages are by nature 1-way communication channels
If you are a “fan” of someone or something on Facebook, the page is really all about them. You are merely a fan, a bystander, an innocent marauder in a world that is not really yours. What fun is that? How is that web 2.0? Especially if you’re a fan of a *person* who is doing status updates about how important being human is? Doesn’t that make ya scratch your head a little bit? It confuses the heck out of me.
I highly prefer the way things work on my personal page. I post things with the understanding that everything is up for conversation or even debate, so long as it remains somewhat civil. And decent. I want to invite people to converse with me in more than 140 characters. I don’t want to feel like Moses coming down the mountain, ready to deliver my next status update to my adoring masses. Yeck.
Fans versus Friends
Even though the word “friend” is used rather loosely these days, isn’t it more comforting to think that you have 500 friends versus 500 fans? Maybe that’s just me, but having “fans” makes people seem so distant to me. Oh, I’m just a fan. I’m here to adore you. If we’re friends, I feel more open to conversing with you, and assume you feel the same way about me and the rest of the poor plebeians you’re deigning to friend. The doors are open. And even if we aren’t, I can feel like we’re on even ground.
Am I way off base here? Obviously each to his or her own, but I just don’t understand this concept of “fan pages” for individuals.
What am I missing?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/subcow/280962961/ via Creative Commons