hey facebookHey Facebook…we need to talk. It’s me, Tara. We used to be friends, but lately I’m not so sure.

We met towards the end of my college career. You came around and lured me in with your Facebook-y ways. I have to admit, when I first found out that everyone was jumping ship from My-(what was that site called again?), I wasn’t so sure. But as soon as I landed on your site, you had me at Hello. I suppose that’s probably a similar story for many of your other 1.5 billion users.

But our relationship didn’t stop just there. I started my career in public relations soon after we met which was primarily focused on securing publicity through long awaited magazine and newspaper publications for my employers. But once again, I found myself drawn to you, only this time for professional reasons. See when I posted about my employer on Facebook, the immediate feedback and gratification was exhilarating. In fact, I thought leveraging Facebook on behalf of my employer was so fun that I decided to jump head first into a career solely rooted in social media. In a way, you could say that your company gave me my social media job. Really, I’m sure this position wouldn’t have existed without you.

And here’s where it started to go wrong. I begged and pleaded with you during my time working for the man for a way to set my business apart on your site. I had this huge budget to work with and truly and honestly would have invested any amount of money to make my business page stand out from the rest. But this didn’t exist. Every single page looked the same and included a similar ability to grow and retain a following on Facebook. I didn’t even complain much about the ridiculous voting rules for contests (which have since been changed). I simply adapted and instead spent my enormous budget with third party vendors to host specialized applications and promotions that complied with your rules. Again, all I really wanted was to help my brand stand out on your site. You threw me a bone with the cover photo and timeline addition in 2012, but you still always left me wanting more.

I’ve since left the corporate world and have now embarked on a new journey as a momaprenuer and small business owner. Now that I’m on the other side of the table, I find myself more disappointed in our friendship than ever. I’ve worked hard, I mean really hard, to attract each and every one of my 2,064 fans. These are people who willingly took action to “like” my page with the premise of being able to see content from my brand. It is just mind boggling to try to understand why you are now preventing these very people from being able to connect with me in the way they originally intended.

It seems to me, you have taken away functionality from the little guys who cannot spend exorbitant amounts of money with you to reach their existing fans, just so you can charge a premium to large businesses for something that should already exist through your site – the ability to connect with others (you know, that thing that your entire business model is founded upon).

Rather than stomping on the little guys to try to make a buck, why don’t you focus on providing more paid opportunities for the big guys to set their business page apart on your site? If the big guys are paying more, I completely get that they should get more in return. I can assure you there are other ways of generating revenue that don’t include hindering the ability for small business owners to connect with the audience they work so hard to attract through word-of-mouth and grass roots marketing.

I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that my frustration with you is beyond measurable. I really want to like you, but I think our relationship may be coming to a point of no return. There are other social media sites that are just doing it for me more these days. I thought you might be THE ONE to adapt to the times and retain your following, but I can assure you that your uncomprehendible Facebook Fan Page rules are driving small business owners away in droves.  Sure I do still make a token post once or a week on my business page, but every time I do, I find myself feeling reminiscent of the old days when I felt that exhilarating excitement every time I used your platform. Believe me when I say, that excitement is long gone and has left behind only frustration, questions and a yearning for a social media network that can meet my needs as a small business owner.

So, it’s not goodbye yet, but who knows what the future may hold. For a company that has done so much right, surely you can find a remedy to this issue that I know is weighing heavily on so many other small business owners.

Sincerely,

an_open_letter_to_facebook_from_a_small_business_owner