Stop Me from Deleting My Facebook Account!

I have a problem, and I need your help. Facebook is driving my crazy. I know there are lots and lots of people who love it. But for me, it has become more work than I think it’s worth. I am seriously considering deleting my account.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/EricHood, Image #7206932

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/EricHood

Julian Smith has a brilliant and funny video that summarizes “25 Things I Hate About Facebook.” But here are my top four:

  1. I don’t like having an additional inbox. People send me private Facebook messages, and they languish, because I don’t check my inbox often.
  2. Rarely, are these messages from family or friends. Instead, these messages tend to be sales pitches or messages from people who don’t bother to use my email address, even though it is clearly displayed on my profile.
  3. I don’t like all the myriad invitations to pages, groups, games, etc. Yes, I know about managing notifications and have turned off as many as I can. But I still get too many. Call it what you will, but these “invitations” are just a euphemism for spam.
  4. I don’t like having to confirm people who want to friend me. The truth is that I accept everyone. So, this just becomes another little time suck in my daily routine.

My friend Anne Jackson deleted her account for similar reasons. (I SO admire her courage.) I was about to follow suit when I decided to check Google Analytics.

As it turns out, Facebook accounts for about 5% of my blog traffic. That’s not a huge amount, I admit. But I hate to kiss any traffic source goodbye. I wondered if there might be another alternative.

That’s when I discovered Facebook “fan pages.” Though I am uncomfortable with that term, I think it would solve most of the problems I outlined above:

  • I wouldn’t have a Facebook inbox.
  • I wouldn’t get any more sales pitches—at least on Facebook.
  • I wouldn’t receive invitations to stuff I don’t care about.
  • I wouldn’t have to confirm fans.

So here is my plan. I intend to create the fan page and then “unfriend” everyone on my regular profile account except my family and real friends—you know, humans I actually know and interact with outside of Facebook.

Before I do this, I still have a few problems I need to solve. This is where you come in. Do you know the answer to these questions? (I will number these for easy reference in your comments.)

  1. Is there a way to convert my “friends” into “fans”?
  2. If not, how do I send a message to all my friends that I am unfriending them and they will have to become a fan to continue to see my updates?
  3. Can I redirect my Twitter feed onto my fan page rather than my profile page?
  4. Can my current Facebook URL (facebook.com/michaelhyatt) point to my fan page rather than my profile page?

So, before I do any of the things I am proposing and then regret doing it, I thought I would ask for your feedback. Thanks in advance for stopping me from deleting my Facebook account.

Questions: What am I missing? What else should I consider? Can you answer any of my specific questions?
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  • http://www.silentmornings.blogspot.com Lizaroonie

    Mike – seems you are addressing two issues.
    1. Friends/Family
    2. ROI

    If you're looking at ROI, then I would not recommend Fan Page (I too hate the term) b/c I don't believe most people read the updates and there is no notification. The "fan" must instigate the communication. There is a site Involver.com that has a way to tweak your fan page, but I still don't think it's like the interaction you get via Twitter updating your FB.

    How about using a different eMail address and adding another FB account that is exclusive to your "real" friends/associates and family and keeping your current FB. You can disable the "write something" box translating to people only being able to leave comments in your status updates.

    On your Wall, state that you don't respond to FB Mail, ergo any invites to reply to an eMessage or an invitation to join this that, will be ignored. Turn off alerts from FB and then you have no idea what is stacking up in the FB eMail. Every week, do a global delete all.

    I think for those not on Twitter, or who do not follow your updates on Twitter, that they are more likely to see you on FB.

    Social networking does need to be tamed, but if your primary intention is sending people to your Blog, etc., then it really isn't "social" networking, but "business" networking. With that lens, I do believe that you will loose having a "personal" connection – or developing a "sense" of intimacy with your friends list if you go exclusively to the Fan page.

    You could do a "GROUP" but again, there is no intimate connection or two-way communication. Messaging all members is very much a monologue. You don't know if anyone read your message. Unless people are truly engaged on a "discussion board" you will not have the type of connection that currently makes you approachable on FB and your blog (via comments). Plus, the discussions must be instigated and monitored which is what you're trying to avoid.

    My two cents. Or, maybe it was four.

  • Rachel

    I can't answer your questions Mike, but I have the same issues. Inbox that I have to go to in order to respond. Can't respond from the notification in my regular email account.

    How to convert friends to fans.

    Getting promotional stuff I don't like.

    Otherwise, I'm a big Facebook Fan. The benefits outweigh the hassles.

    Rachel

  • http://www.kimmirich.wordpress.com Kimmi

    I, too, am not all that big on the FB. I do not like the flowers, the this, the that, which is sent to me and fear a virus if I click on to them. I realize I'm a little late here, but others set up a fan club for me, although I forget it was there.

    Aside, I thought of you today. I was enjoying some beautiful weather traveln' the back roads of my state, and I happened upon a sign in front a small-town church. It said, " Get off of Facebook and get into God's Book."

    It was one of those WOW moments for me. I was out enjoyn' His creations, instead of man's creations. It put a lot into perspective for me, my values and where my values should be placed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thejeffbrown Jeff Brown

    1. & 2. No way to directly convert friends into fans.

    However, have you considered creating an Event on your fan page surrounding, say, the switch to this new page? Upon creating this event, you'll be allowed to update all of your Profile Friends as part of the 4 or 5 step process. There's no Select All when viewing all of your friends, but assuming you don't have them broken down into too many sub categories, it shouldn't take too long.

    Start by selecting one of your Friend filters. As soon as you do that, you're given the "Select All" option. Then, select your next Friend filter and repeat the process. By they way, these "Updates" don't land in the Inboxes of your friends, but appear in the upper right hand corner of their home pages along with Friend Requests.

    3. As Joel mentioned previously, Involver.com might be a good (free) solution to direct your tweets to your new Fan Page. Let us know if and when you find out about how Don Miller's were set up.

    4. This step will require Facebook support help.

    To reiterate, as fmckinnon states, "Updates" are not pushed through to the Facebook e-mail inboxes of your fans and therefore may not get viewed as often. But to clarify, "Updates" are generally created from an event your wanting to get the word out about to your Fans. These have nothing to do with your status updates. Status updates DO indeed show up in the news feeds of fans.

    I oversee Fan Pages for five of our middle Tennessee radio stations. The only thing I don't like about Fan Pages, is the inability to send information to Facebook e-mail inboxes (as a Group Page DOES allow you to do). However, as you said, you don't like receiving Facebook e-mail anyway and it's probably safe to say your fans don't either. This may make the "Update" feature (again, related to updates of events) more attractive to you as it's a softer sell.

    Whether you update your Status manually or via Twitter, your fans will see it in their news feeds. Hope this helps.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for such detailed input, Jeff. I have certainly learned a lot in the last few days.

      As it turns out, Facebook tech support migrated all of my friends to my fan page. Also, I can post to my fan page by using PeopleBrowser, which seems like a great solution.

      Thanks.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thejeffbrown Jeff Brown

        Great news about the migration. That's huge. So glad they made it easy for you.

        How do you like PeopleBrowsr overall? The two or three times I've tried it, it just overwhelmed me.

        Sidenote: Looking forward to partnering to bring Donald Miller to Nashville.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    I wouldn't worry about blog traffic from Facebook so much. Most of it is probably from people who would visit anyway, they just use Facebook as a convenient jumping spot.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    i'll manage your fb account for you for free

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. But I think it is important to manage it personally—just to keep it real.

  • http://reneethebookangel.com Renee

    Aloha, I found this article helpful — and I have yet to create either a page or a group. :) http://mashable.com/2009/05/27/facebook-page-vs-g

    Trust you'll find an easy peasy solution.

  • maxi8

    The fact that you had to ask the question … is your answer.

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  • Annonymous

    I agree with everything you have said here!
    Some of my friends send invitations to gatherings by posting on each other's Facebook walls, and I get so many friend requests from people I know of – not people I actually know and I can't deny them because I don't want to be rude!
    Then there's the group invitations, page suggestions, application requests, quizzes and tagged photos/notes.
    Also, Facebook chat is very annoying, it always logs in whenever I just innocently want to check my page for new messages and next thing you know I've got a bunch of people talking me and 30mins of my time is chewed up!
    and I can't delete it because my friends are pro-Facebook, they won't use any other social networks or e-mail for that matter.
    Anyway, you should look at this site by the way: http://asocial.ws/

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  • Clent

    My issue is a little different. I went to secure a URL for my bus 'page' and it attached to my personal account. I want to switch URL /SanDiegoFlash from personal to bus 'page' Any suggestions? Thanks.

  • http://nathangilmer.com Nathan GIlmer

    Have you tried http://www.lite.facebook.com? That is my solution. Its Facebook without all the crap. Wall, Pictures, Videos, and Inbox. Thats it. I love it.

  • Lisa

    I created a profile for the company I work for, and then created a Fan Page. We would now like to get rid of the profile….and just keep the Fan Page. I went in to my account (Profile) to deactivate…but once I did that, it deactivated my fan page…because they are tied to one another.

    What should I do? We want to keep a company page…not a profile. Is there a way?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You need to have both. You can make the profile private, so that no one can find it except people you specifically friend. Your fan page will, of course, be private. Use your company name or brand on the fan page.

      If you had a lot of fans or friends, Facebook may be able to help you get them back; I don't know. Thanks.

  • http://ronstroope.com Ron

    If you have a fan page don't you distance yourself from being social and reacting with those who follow you? I mean, it is called "social networking" for a reason. Not trying to be snarky, just wondering.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Ron, have you been to my fan page? I interact with people there ALL the time. The beauty of it—and the reason why I switched to a fan page—is that it is public. I don't have to approve people to be my friends. In that sense, it is more like Twitter. Thanks.

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  • Nicole

    How did you get facebook support to transfer your friends to fans?

  • She1whitewolf

    Then how will we contact you???? You have brought alot of families and lost friends together! The only thing that I do not like is having to give all ur info to play the games! I won’t play them because of that reason. I have 43 pending game requests, I will not play, don’t feel the need to disclose info to play!!! Please keep up the good work! What would you be doing if it weren’t for working on facebook????? Thanks, you have helped me more than u know! I am physically disabled and facebook is my link to the world!! LM-Georgia

  • Hellopreeti

    i think some one is hakking my facebook account…unwanted comments and pictures are coming in my profile……and in on my name my frends got some pictures….someone help me….

  • Hemantstar1988

    my facebook profile friend request block for 2 months & not be start so plz help me hemantstar1988@gmail.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000312149157 Cathy Pullins

    How did you resolve this?  Did you actually follow through and delete your friends?  

    I feel too open and exposed but I see the merit in that too?  I have learned first hand that people want the 2 way interaction.  For instance our client Erica P has 5,000 friends and 2,000 followers on her profile page and 996 likes.  They want the give and take of interaction but we can’t do EVERYTHING!  I just discovered groups.  Can that be the answer?  I am having the same issue — I just started with FB personally but people want to come to my personal page not my Fan Page.I think problem may flow from the original intention to be a real friends thing then it became a common interest thing.  There needs to be a fresh new from of facebook.  (I will call my software engineering son.  ;-)