You’d think that doesn’t need a how-to… I get a lot of connection requests from people I don’t know. I’m not an “open networker.” I believe your LinkedIn connections should be people you really know and at least mostly trust.
I’ve been in job interviews where people were “impressed” by someone I was connected to. I’ve been in job interviews where they noticed I was connected to a few people they knew… they wanted to know more about how I knew them.
If you add randoms, there exists the possibility that these randoms work against you when potential partners, connections, or hiring managers dig in deeper. I add people carefully and I remove people if they prove themselves to be not so good.
Because you wouldn’t want to be seen at a cocktail party hanging out with the guy everybody knows is a jerk.
That means when you add me on LinkedIn, unless we JUST met and I know why you’re adding me, please include a blurb.
Are you a recruiter adding me? Tell me about the job you have. I don’t add every recruiter.
Are you a friend of a friend? Why are you adding me? Do we make sense in each other’s networks?
Are you my competitor? I’d really love to know why you’re adding me.
Imagine we’re networking in real life. Tell me more.
How can I help you? How can you help me? Let’s connect! 🙂
One thing I always advise clients on is separating personal and business on Social Media. Most sites are personal. I wouldn’t invite clients to my personal Facebook account but they are welcome to follow our Facebook Business Page, Twitter, LinkedIn Company Page, etc… I also don’t add friends or personal contacts to LinkedIn (unless there’s business overlap).
I don’t give business contacts my personal phone number or personal email address. I don’t have friends contact me at my business phone or email. These seem obvious but the same is true for social media.
I really do try to keep the two separate. I recommend that. Not everybody is your friend. And that’s OK!
And remember when posts are public.
Tweets are public. LinkedIn posts can be public or just for your LinkedIn connections. Facebook posts have a variety of options but the short version would be: your post on Facebook is likely public or just for your Facebook friends.
All of my Facebook posts (except a couple… over 10 years) are friends only. This is my private, social world. This is my mostly inner circle of people I trust. Every time I post, I eyeball the privacy setting. Will this post be public or just for friends? I check to make sure.
You hear more and more that people Google each other. I do. You might also. They want to see what they can learn about you without asking. Let’s see their tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, maybe even Instagram. Heck, they might have Pinterest if people are still doing that. Business associates might look for a personal website. Personal contacts might try to learn more about your work or business. Expect this!
Here is someone who seems to think his post is non-public.
I landed on a guy’s Facebook wall after he replied to a comment on a Facebook page we both like. His first public post was a picture of a wall of tools. It might have been his cover photo. But the photo had a caption that I could also see.
“I realized that the old photo was visible to prospective employers and while I’m an adult and cool they’re likely not.”
He insults his potential employers. And they will see this. If they check Facebook for someone with his name (and then recognise his face from his profile photo), they can go to his wall like I did. The first post they will see is this one… declaring them uncool and possibly immature.
As I moved through his public pictures and posts on his wall, I think I found the image that concerned him. But it was also there and public, probably a former cover photo. I think he didn’t realise that all cover photos are public and making something a new cover photo doesn’t change the privacy settings on the old one.
I’m not a jerk so I sent a FB message to let him know posts and images he seems to think are private are actually public. I’m glad he thought about his privacy but execution matters.
And your email mailing list too.
I do business with someone who is very religious. He has an email mailing list for his business (which is medical and non-religious). The last time I saw him, he was telling me that he was thinking about sending an email to the mailing list about his church. I said absolutely NOT.
I had a frank talk with him about why we don’t overlap business and personal, especially religion, politics, etc… I told him he wouldn’t want to join my mailing list to hear my ideas and then get an email with a very politically liberal message. Oooo, that sunk in, he saw my point.
I suggested another mailing list for the religious stuff. People can opt in if they are from his church (and his customers) or just interested. Or have cards at the front that people can take if they are interested. But don’t email me this. I will leave the email list and miss your exciting business announcements.
Consider post privacy. Consider your audience. Check carefully. Don’t friend everybody! These are my suggestions.
Cousin Joyce died years ago. And we weren’t friends before her death. But at some point, she found me on Facebook and tried to add me. I didn’t respond.
OK, Facebook might not know that she is dead. But Facebook knows that her last post was in 2011. At least the last one I can see. I don’t remember when she died. I had no contact with this family for decades.
So why would Facebook put in my mobile feed DAILY that I should respond to Joyce’s friend request? I know she’s dead. Facebook would know she is someone who hasn’t logged in probably for 7 years. Hasn’t logged in! Hasn’t posted. Hasn’t read a message. Hasn’t pressed LIKE.
As a UX chick, I’m trying to figure out what is the advantage to Facebook to do this. It’s clearly not advantageous to the user to be pushed the same friend request many times a day. I can’t see how that doesn’t piss people off (rather than endear them to any of this). Does Facebook have data that says a user that hasn’t logged in or posted in 7 years is likely to become more active when Debbie friends them? Or any one friend adds them?
A week ago, I hit my breaking point with Facebook. I was tired of everything except the part where I stay in touch with friends and support them.
Tired of the news, what’s going on in the USA. Tired of people’s commentary on it. Tired of my OWN commentary on it. Tired of the troll, bot, and no-empathy comments. Tired of the hate and negativity.
And being high empathy, worn out from dealing with all of it. Wearing it all.
Tired of the ads. Tired of the UX of Facebook. Tired of how hard it makes it to see the things I want to see. Tired of their loose definition of chronology. There’s more but I think you get the point.
So I decided I was done.
I decided that my best interaction with Facebook would be to remove the political pages I was followed (yes, NONE were Russian, thank you). Hide the walls of my most political friends even though I still like them. And come back once a week to check on people, support them, comment on their world, be social. But not post anymore.
I started a private Instagram for friends looking to continue following my travel adventures, the new place I’m living in, and the puppies.
I thought about how we used to survive hearing from friends every few months. Or just the big annual Christmas “how our family is” letter. And we did OK! We didn’t have to interact with every thought and photo. And we didn’t have to SHARE every thought and photo.
How was my week?
Every time I thought about reading Facebook, I asked myself what I could be doing right now (instead) for Ptype. And did it. I got so much done it was wonderful. So rewarding.
The first few days, I thought about checking Facebook a lot. After 2 or 3 days, I wasn’t thinking about it. I was thinking OK now what can I do for my biz. While this is probably not an accurate number, I feel like I got 80 hours back in my week.
And I spent that week without sadness, fear, worry, and everything that goes with politics in the USA (depending upon which side of the ideological civil war you’re on). I was productive and proud. Even if you are happy with American politics right now, a FB break can really put time back in your life.
I recommend this highly. None of us needs the ego boost of thinking everybody is interested in all of our thoughts, locations, and doings. Most of us could post less, some of us, a lot less.
And you get all that time and headspace back in your life. You can use Facebook for what it claims to be: connecting people. I can do that once a week for maybe an hour. Read everything from top friends from the week. Then log out again.
In early 2017, I wanted to be more anonymous on Facebook when replying to public posts or to comments friends made. I wasn’t feeling a lot of social media trust outside my own circle but couldn’t convince myself to reply to NOTHING. I treat Facebook as my personal world, almost a diary, so I don’t want biz associates or strangers just finding me there (even though I don’t post publicly).
So I changed my Facebook name to my first and middle name. I figured that would make me more anonymous. Someone in the SF area appears to have that as her full name, so hopefully I’m harder to find. I still had a female name, just not my real last name.
I found that strangers continued to treat me the same. When posting something liberal-leaning, the typical non-liberal response was that I was just a stupid person. I was overemotional (even when making a totally factual argument). I write too much! I just can’t focus! They used every insult in the book to try to distract from any decent point I might make.
I noticed that none of them ever wanted to take my ideas or arguments head on.
And one day I got a LinkedIn request.
A friend of a friend (a stranger to me) somehow put 2 and 2 together. He didn’t send a Facebook request. He sent a LinkedIn request… which connects what I thought was my more private, personal world with my more public, business world. Ugh.
So I changed my name again in October 2017.
I changed it to a name a human could possibly have but unlikely. 🙂 My first name is a common noun. My last name is a location. This isn’t my name but it would be like if my name were Trees Tucson. My profile photo is not of a human. So I should be really anonymous now, which is great for potential collisions with people who disagree politically.
But something I didn’t expect happened.
When I posted liberal-leaning commentary to public pages’ posts or to friend’s posts, I noticed two key things that were different from when my name on Facebook was Debbie:
1) Non-liberal-leaning people told me I was a Russian troll. This made me worried about what their fake news is telling them about Russian trolls. Most of what I read said that Russian trolls are NOT liberal-leaning. I have also learned that real Russian troll accounts tend to look like hot, young, female millennials with female names. I have a non-name and a non-human photo.
But to them, whatever my commentary, opinions, or points were were just fake news. They should be ignored. I’m a Russian troll!
2) Random people had way less empathy. For example, I posted to one public page post about having recently had an unexpected allergy attack. Every person who commented under mine said I was a liar and it couldn’t have happened. Never happened.
I wasn’t expecting to hear that the allergy attack I definitely had never happened. I wasn’t posting for sympathy. I was posting as a warning to others that something most of us thought harmless could initiate an allergy attack. But the people who commented went beyond not believing me to insults and declaring me non-real. I deleted my comment.
Bonus: a real life, long time friend told me my name looked so disgusting to him that when it comes up on the page, he wants to look away. Well that’s interesting! You KNOW it’s me. Yes, the name is weird. But I didn’t think anybody would have that huge a reaction to a common noun plus a town name. I told him I plan to keep the name.
So now what?
It’s an interesting thing for me to consider. I “dehumanized” myself by using a fake name and a non-human picture. I was then treated as not real. A liar. A fake.
Yes, I’m a human typing words into Facebook comments. I’m real! But when people saw the fake name, it was like they didn’t have to listen. They didn’t have to care.
When people agreed with me, the treatment was no different before or during my new name. They listened and cared. But when they didn’t agree, I wasn’t a person. I was fake news. It’s been interesting to watch and experience.
I plan to keep my ridiculous name because I’d rather be anonymous than cared about. I can go without the empathy of strangers. You can say I’m just bringing it on myself but I’m only noticing the change (mostly) from people who have different political opinions. Even strangers “on my side” haven’t changed how they respond to me.
The response to yesterday’s OKCupid announcement that they will get rid of usernames and move to real names has been met with nearly 100% negativity from former and current users (including me).
The company edited their original blog post announcement to make slight changes to try to calm the villagers with torches. Some people started noticing they couldn’t even get to the screen to delete their account unless they gave a “real” name. Some users noticed OKCupid took ANYTHING for a real name. Which begs the question, “If I can put UX as my first name and Chick as my last name, what have they really accomplished?”
The people commenting on the blog post had more reasons why this decision is bad than I blogged about yesterday. They had many excellent, important points such as what if your lifestyle is a bit alternative and you don’t want friends, family, co-workers, bosses finding you on OKCupid with your real name and everything you’re into. What about LGBTQ people, especially who may be in the closet. Why force them to use real names?
Sadly, many people told stories of being stalked and harassed (online AND in person) from what people got from their profiles now (without real names). They were justifiably afraid for their safety if their real first or last name were added to what they are already putting out there. And a few people linked to articles about times when other social sites tried force people to use real names and how that backfired or got undone.
OKCupid doesn’t seem to know who is responsible for this.
As soon as I saw the announcement yesterday, I emailed OKCupid to complain about their poor choice. Disaster for safety, bad for creativity. I received an email back saying they will share my feedback with their developers.
Wait. You made a policy change. It probably came from Product, possibly UX. I’m suggesting it’s a bad policy. And you will tell developers?
This is either the saddest form email this month OR even the support teams don’t understand who makes policy or feature changes.
And as a UX professional, I HOPE you are not sending customer feedback directly to developers or engineering teams. Sure, someone can summarise key things we’re hearing this week or month for engineering. But don’t send it to them like it’s a bug. And don’t send them every comment everybody makes.
I saw one comment that this was a good thing.
One person thought real names were good because then married men trying to date would be outed. Well… would they? If John Smith says he’s single (or married and poly), how do you know that’s not true? How do you know that the married part is true but the poly part would be news to his wife?
You can Google me all you want but you will NOT find anything public about the man in my life. Not his name, not his picture. You wouldn’t know if I’m married or not. If I live with him or not. So a real name is not an assurance of honesty or a definite trail to solid info.
How could this have been avoided?
This is where cross-functional teams have to have discussions. And IMO, this is where UX has to fight a battle. Don’t back down on this one.
If Product comes to you and says hey, some of our usernames are really stupid. Some are offensive. Let’s ban usernames! In that case, UX should push back against Product and say OK, we have a problem we have to solve but that’s not the only solution and it may not be the right one. UX should then brainstorm different solutions AND their possible reactions and outcomes.
UX should have the “right” and power to ask, “Are stupid usernames really a problem? Tell us more about how annoying, sexual, or “bad” usernames are a problem for our customers.” Product might say some people are offended by some of these names. Sure but OKCupid is definitely not in the business of applying morals to users… the site asks if you would like certain types of sex in graphic detail!
Perhaps data shows that people with the “worst” usernames commit the most harassment. OK but there are things in place for bad users no matter what their username is. Tell me more about how the USERNAME itself is a problem that has to be solved.
UX should push Product for whether or not this is a real problem. We don’t want to make changes or apply “solutions” to non problems. If UX thinks this is a problem, then we get to work on solutions.
Mini customer journey maps could help here.
Where are the problems? Where are opportunities to serve target audiences? Here are some scenarios I made up that could be turned into journey maps adding the emotions at different moments.
- Sharon is signing up for our dating site. We ask her for her real name. Sharon remembers the time a guy she met on Match found out where she worked and showed up there a few times before he gave up. Sharon doesn’t want to use her real name. She gives a fake one (username “problem” not “solved”) or customer lost (she decides not to sign up).
- This is Dave’s first time on a dating website. He’s pretty shy and it’s important that he lets everybody know how much he loves Studio Ghibli. He really hopes to find a partner who shares his passion. OKCupid tells him he can’t name himself Totoro1970 and he has to be Dave. Dave feels like he has less of a chance to find a special someone. How will he stand out in search results with all the other Daves? Dave questions if he should continue on this site or use the others ones his friends are talking about.
- Anne is already a member but got an email saying she has to use her real name. Anne doesn’t care. She uses Facebook Login for everything. Her real name is everywhere. Sure, why not be honest and exposed here too. Anne doesn’t care or think about it much. She just goes along with it.
- Pat has been going through some changes the last few years. Pat’s finally feeling more open about the things Pat’s into. Pat wants a “they” pronoun and is getting more comfortable with their preferences and needs. OKCupid seems like a good place to find other people who might be into the same things. Pat would NOT want an ex or employer to find out about their other life, their private life. Pat sees the form asking for a real name and stops, shocked. Can Pat join this site when their real name would be right there for anybody to see? Is this searchable on Google? When people see Pat’s name, will they then find them on Facebook or LinkedIn? If their boss is also on OKCupid, could the boss find this profile and see all the questions Pat might answer about how they like sex? Pat closes their browser and needs to think about this some more. Customer lost.
UX should be able to demonstrate that this might not really be a problem.
Many of the people commenting on the announcement said they LOVE seeing bad or disgusting usernames because that tells them to avoid that person without even looking at the profile. I’d agree! Usernames are creative but also fantastic warning signs. I will immediately block someone who picked a name like “DaddySpankU69” (I made that up but plenty like that are out there) because he has told me everything about him I need to know.
If this really is a problem, UX will have solutions. But the solution might not be “no usernames ever again.” Perhaps it’s like custom license plates. Some words and strings are banned. OKCupid has enough data to know all of the “offensive” strings and their variations. Maybe nobody can use 69. Nobody can say “Daddy.” I have no idea what the rules are but you can keep usernames and just give them rules if there appears to be a problem with certain types of usernames.
Facebook ads. They are really way out there. How does Facebook think I have children? Or I’m plus sized? Or really, how do they think ANYTHING about me? Why do the ads sometimes feel so irrelevant and poorly targeted?
This can be answered by visiting the Ad Preferences page. Here you will see the hundreds if not thousands of things Facebook has decided you’re into. I have no idea how some of these end up here. Some are real doozies!
Apologies to people from Suriname but I don’t even know where that is!
OH BOY. Someone doesn’t know me AT ALL. X those out as fast as possible! And there is no way I clicked on an ad related to pregnancy. NO WAY. On desktop, hover over the box and click the top right X to try to tell Facebook you are NOT interested in this stuff.
These are all way off and look at that drop list… I have hundreds more I have to X out, one by one. No mass way to say get rid of all of these.
You can also click on one of these topics to see what kinds of ads Facebook WOULD serve you.
Here you can see targeted ads in action. I have allowed Facebook to know I like a band/musical project called Ayreon. Here are the ads I MIGHT see because these other musicians are targeting people who like Ayreon:
But it might not be bands. The ads could be for products. The ads could be propaganda aimed at people with certain interests.
You can clean this up.
I still don’t know why Facebook only showed me bra ads for weeks. I’m not into boobs! But for everything else, you can go into Ad Preferences and attempt to clean up what you’re not interested in. Please note that you will need to do this often as Facebook constantly assigns you bizarre interests seemingly randomly.
Facebook tries day and night to get you to like pages, join groups, and attend or create events. It tries to guess what you might be into based on what’s close to you and what your friends like.
As a UX chick, I would love to know how it decides that one friend’s interests should be 90% of what I’m shown, especially when I have no behaviours that would tell Facebook his interests match mine.
I’m Not Vegan
Let’s start with that. I eat animal products in nearly every meal of the day. I’m far from vegan and since I find that the more Paleo I go, the better I function, I’m unlikely to be vegan any time ever.
I follow multiple Paleo pages on Facebook for recipe ideas. I follow no vegan pages. I have never attended a vegan event other than one vegan friend’s annual vegan birthday dinner. Facebook would see me invited to other vegan events and declining them nearly the moment I’m invited. Friend doesn’t invite me anymore at my request.
I’m not in any vegan groups. I’m in very few groups and none are remotely about vegans. One is about D23 members (Disney fans). One is people who went to the same summer camp I did when I was very little.
Every time Facebook suggests a vegan thing to me, I “x” it out as soon as I see it.
I’m also not single. I’ve been in a relationship since April 2012, and Facebook knows that. So it has no reason to show me dating sites. It used to show me engagement rings but appears to have given up. 🙂
I am for animal rights and improving their situations but am not connected to any of those on Facebook. Most of the things I’m connected to on Facebook are related to Walt Disney World since that’s a main obsession for me. I don’t think you could eat vegan there if you wanted to.
About once a month, I post to Facebook about a negative run-in I had with a vegan person or vegan article I read. If Facebook is parsing for sentiment, they’d know I’m not into it. If Facebook isn’t parsing for sentiment, and assumed I am into vegan stuff because I mentioned it, then they will also assume that vocal conservatives are into Obama and abortions. Which would be unfortunate for those people. Plus I write very often about Disney… where are those links or suggestions from Facebook?
So having established that, how much should Facebook try to get me to engage with vegan things on Facebook?
Most Of Facebook’s Suggested Pages, Groups, and Events For Me Are Vegan
I have many Facebook friends into a variety of things. One friend is very into Catholic prayers and pages. I don’t get shown those.
I have friends who genuinely like GOP presidential candidates. I’m not shown those as suggested pages.
One local friend mostly posts about Black Lives Matter, protests, and Oakland “dyke” events. I’m not shown those as suggested things.
I have one local vegan friend. He’s into ALL these things. Here are some of the Vegan pages and groups Facebook pushes on me daily:
- Vegan Aquafaba (whatever that is)
- Vegan Singles Around The Globe (not single)
- Santa Cruz Vegans (not in Santa Cruz)
- Naughty Vegan Humour (are these red meat jokes?)
- What Naughty Vegans Eat (I’m gonna guess it’s carbs and sugars)
- Worldwide Vegans
- Vegans in SF, Berkeley, and Oakland
- Vegans United (for or against what)
- Vegan Teens Sanctuary (um, not a teen)
- Vegan Cats (please don’t feed your carnivorous hunter a vegan diet, which these people do, which is inhumane to a cat’s natural self)
- Power To The Veg!
- Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses (since meringues are egg whites, I’m going to assume a lot of misses there)
These Aren’t Ads or Sponsored
These aren’t ads or sponsored posts where the page owner asks Facebook to promote something to fans’ friends. These are just every day right column Facebook suggestions.
You’d think that if the Vegan Teens wanted to advertise, they’d go for people in their stated age group (13-21). They wouldn’t look for 43 yr olds. That might be a bad idea. So these aren’t ads.
Distracting User Experience
It’s distracting to have Facebook suggesting so many pages, groups, and events that I will never be interested in. No it’s not a sign. I am not going vegan. I want animals treated way better but I still need to eat them to function well.
I would love to see how Facebook decides that one friend’s groups, likes, and events take precedence over anything else they can show me. I have other local friends. They have things they are into. I don’t seem to be getting those.
How many times has a post like this ended up in your news feed?
And then let’s say you share it. If you’re like me or my Facebook friends, by default, your shares and posts are set to “Friends Only.” That means this teacher will never see that you shared it.
What if you share one that was someone else’s share? The teacher might not see that if she’s just looking at how many shares her original post received. What if you pressed like on your friend’s share of it? The teacher won’t see that either.
Those students are not going to get the right info or data about how far this post really went.
Here’s How To Do This Right
Step 1: Write your message. Make sure you mention elementary age school kids, sexting, security, or safety. Could be middle school or high school. I saw one where the teacher had written that her school kids thought it was OK to post pictures of themselves in their bras and underwear.
Step 2: Come up with a probably-unique hashtag like #apr2015internetsafety. Ask people who share it to tag the picture with that hash tag. Side note: in case some freako uses that hashtag for NSFW stuff, teachers, make sure you are checking these things before showing them in class to students.
Step 3. Ask people who share it to make sure that their Facebook share is a PUBLIC post. The kids can only see public posts. They can’t see posts I made just to my Facebook friends. Shares have to be public.
Step 4: If the goal is really to see WHERE this post ends up geographically, ask people when sharing to post their location (generally) like city and state.
Step 5: If you want to teach kids how many people could see a post, have the people who share it also say how many Facebook friends and followers they have.
That means someone sharing it might create a public post that says, “San Francisco, CA. 300 friends, 60 followers. #apr2015internetsafety” The teacher can see how many likes and shares that got, and follow everything like a neural network.
Now you’re cooking with gas. Everything else just seems is a sharing black hole since the original teacher will have no real way to track it all down later. But if she can go to Facebook and look for her hashtag, then she can now collect some good/better data.
This image has been floating around this week:
I think that anything anybody can do to reach out to people who are hurting and unfortunately considering suicide can only be a good thing. It looks like Facebook carefully wrote a message that isn’t too emotional but lets someone know that friends are worried and there IS help out there.
But What’s Up With The Heart With The Question Mark?
I can’t help but wonder if that’s really the right imagery or icon considering the potentially grave situation. I imagine that you’d want an image that shows care, warmth, and some sort of “people care and we’re here for you.”
So why the question mark? I would hate for a depressed person to see a heart with a question mark and interpret it as “does anybody love you?”
How about just the blue heart. A blue heart is already a little sad.
And there is no question here so we don’t need a question mark. Everything is written as declarative sentences. Someone asked us to look at a post that made them concerned. Click to see that post.
The next screen asks the same question twice: What would you like to do? I’m not sure I want to ask a suicidal person what he or she wants to do. I think that second screen would be FINE without the twice-asked “what would you like to do?” Remove both instances of that question.
I’m glad Facebook is doing this, but I think the imagery and some of the copy could be better given the extremely delicate nature of the situation. This message might come as a surprise to someone who receives it, so how can it be warmer and softer?