Realizing Your Influence On The Social Media Scene, And Using It Correctly

The big names in Social Media such as Mashable and TechCrunch especially, (due to the recent clusterf*** with AOL & Michael Arrington) have great influence over what sites we visit, what apps we use, and mostly what startups and apps we even know about.

If you ask anyone, they’ll tell you that these sites are mostly/partly responsible for at least half of the well-known startups’ success. Startups will tell you that if it wasn’t for TechCrunch, they would be a failed startup. Brands go crazy to get plugged on these sites. Sending flowers to the TechCrunch HQ? Come on; this is making everyone desperate and it’s sometimes sickening. One mention on Mashable or TechCrunch and millions of people are shooting over to your new startup to check it out.

So you’ve got all of this traffic to your startup. Sure, these Social Media giants are giving you millions of page views, but are they really causing these sites success? Most of the time, yes. The only thing these giants can’t do is make up the users mind about signing up. But, those users wouldn’t be there in the first place. So yes, these sites are mostly responsible.

Enough with the introduction. I’m writing this after a small annoyance I came across today. I threw out a couple ranting Tweets about Mashable and how they need to stop dictating influence where and when they don’t need to. That’s a general statement, but you will see what I mean as you read.

Tons! More after the break. The incident, the solution and how we lost:

The Minuscule Facebook Incident

Sarah Kessler, a writer for Social Media giant, Mashable—thought it would be awesome to write a ‘How-To’ post about how you can use the new Facebook features to view who has unfriended you in the past.

“In addition to showing users a timeline of their activity on the site throughout the years, it turns out that Facebook’s new Timeline profile provides a rundown of which friends they’ve lost.”

Right when I saw this, I knew the incident I’m going to explain, was inevitable.

Here is how she intended we do it:

  • 1. Enable the new Facebook timeline.
  • 2. Pick a year in the timeline and locate the “Friends” box.
  • 3. Click on “Made X New Friends.”
  • 4. Scroll through the list. Where you see an “Add Friend” box, you know that you are no longer friends with that person. If you haven’t unfriended them, they’ve unfriended you.
“4. Scroll through the list. Where you see an “Add Friend” box, you know that you are no longer friends with that person. If you haven’t unfriended them, they’ve unfriended you.” This is the part I have a problem with. Now you know how it works. You’ll need to know, to continue reading.

By writing this article—she wasn’t just giving us a cool little tip to take on and maybe go for it—she was canceling herself out, the second she hit publish. There was something much bigger (yet still minuscule) going on here that she didn’t realize.

Facebook’s Quick Retort / Solution

After all, this was, to Facebook, a bug. There was no hacking involved, no tricks. She was merely pointing us in a slightly hidden direction to make us aware of what potentially could seem like a small hack, to be able to view who has unfriended you.

Facebook doesn’t want you have access to that information. Sure they give it out almost subliminally, but that wasn’t their intention.

They came in just a day or two later, and fixed the problem. But they did much more than that, and it’s not good.

“Facebook users noticed an odd feature of the new Timeline profiles last week that allowed them to see who had unfriended them throughout the years. That “bug” has now been fixed.”

Now We Lose

Since Facebook believed that was a bug—instead of making it just a little harder to find (who has unfriended you)—they completely removed the problem, and a valuable piece of information. (that we are for sure, entitled to)

I showed you how it works, above. What Facebook did, was, they completely removed the friends (all listings) with the ‘Add Friend’ button next to it. That’s too much when it comes to ‘solving’ a problem or ‘fixing a bug.’

Now we cannot find everyone that friended us in the past. We lose because Facebook decided to correct something that didn’t need to be corrected. It’s not like we are going to kill whoever unfriended us. I’m curious why Facebook wont give out that information.

Point Your Influence Elsewhere!

I’m sure most of you are smart enough to realize the problem here. Sarah Kessler wrote about this awesome way to find people who have unfriended you. Facebook came and immediately ripped that function out and more.

All because of that post. These Social Media Giants, have so much influence over the scene, that Facebook, a huge company, got immediate wind of this ‘functionality,’ and jumped on the chance to deprive us of it. This is just one small problem I have with large company’s influence. It’s simply pointed in the wrong direction. Sure, most people were glad to be able to know such a thing, but it doesn’t matter now, does it?

We need to find another source that doesn’t have such a loud voice to get corruptible information like this. I don’t think a news site is going to be that outlet. I also don’t know what could be.

Readers: What other source could we use for information like this? In what way could we receive this information without it being corruptible?

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