By Stefanie Hahn
The letter X hasn’t fared too well in the dot-com era. Once the mark of secret pirate treasures and “sign here if you would please” contracts, it has been relegated to second-class status ever since Microsoft introduced Windows95 as the letter you looked for when you want to make things go away.
Facebook also selected the X as the “go away” letter. If you are using Facebook for business, this X can be really, really bad.
If you have never seen the X on Facebook, it hides in the upper right corner of every post made by your friends (and the pages you like). You don’t see it unless you hover over the post – it is pretty stealthy.
When you click the X on any Facebook post the system automatically presents you with a few different options:
Hide this post
Hide all from [USER]
Hide all from [APPLICATION] *if it was posted from a third party site like YouTube
I can tell you from personal experience that making the decision between the first two is very hard sometimes. I can think of a few occasions where I clicked the X thinking I was going to just hide a post – and then made a split-second decision to just hide the user instead. If this happens to you, the best social media strategy in the world won’t get you very far.
So why do I hide users? The number one reason is because they post too much. Just like we don’t like that guy at the barbecue who can’t stop talking, we don’t want our Facebook news feed slam-packed with updates from one person. So think about whether you are posting or over-posting and what everyone else may think. As an aside, you may want to start thinking about whether your twitter account needs to update Facebook anymore – the speed and frequency with which we use twitter may cause our Facebook friends distress!
The other reason I hide users on Facebook is because they post the same thing. I think it is great if you tell me something once…maybe twice…but if you keep posting it (or different iterations of it) over and over again forget it – I am going to have to let you go.
Finally, the third reason I hide users is because they play games. Not that I have any problem with you playing Farmville , BeJeweled Blitz or Mafia Wars, but know that if it keeps junking up my news feed I am going to let it go. Usually in this case I try to hide the game first (remember the “Hide all from [APPLICATION]” option) but if you keep playing different things all the time then it will be sayonara for you.
So think carefully about whether you are putting yourself at risk for the X treatment, especially if your social media strategy relies upon you building social capital with your Facebook sphere. If you think you may be getting close, consider varying your posts (even if you are saying the same thing find a different way – video, photo, etc. to say it) and maybe finding new outlets for the same information.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Malvern, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.