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Ask Slashdot: Facebook, Twitter For Business, Is It Worth the Privacy Trade-Off? 158

cayenne8 writes "I've been a staunch advocate of NOT joining Facebook or Twitter or the other social networks to protect my privacy and to not voluntarily give all my personal information away to corporate America, or even the Government. However, I'm beginning to look into making money through various means on the side, one of them being photography/videography. With these mediums, being seen is critically important. Having a business facing site on Facebook/Google+ and even using Twitter can be great for self promotion, and can open up your business to a huge audience. If you were to open your FB and other social network accounts with business ONLY information, and keep your personal information (name, image, etc) off the Facebook account...will this keep your personal privacy still from them, or are their algorithms good enough to piece together who you are from the business only sites? Is the payoff worth the potential trade-off for generating potential customers for your business and guiding them to your primary website?"
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Ask Slashdot: Facebook, Twitter For Business, Is It Worth the Privacy Trade-Off?

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  • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:33PM (#42283097) Homepage

    See all those sites you visit with a facebook like button. Those images are usually served from facebook, not the site you're visiting.

    So, unless you're careful with your privacy settings, you are likely reporting a huge amount of your browsing to facebook.

    At the very least, I'd recommend logging out of facebook when you're done and trying to browse with 3rd party cookies disabled.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:55PM (#42283283) Homepage

    >>>Having a business facing site on Facebook/Google+ and even using Twitter can be great for self promotion, and can open up your business to a huge audience

    actually increases sales?

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @10:20PM (#42283427) Homepage Journal

    They already have or can gain easy access to all that information. The govt already has a ton of info on you, tax records, dmv, etc. Business do also (you prolly get junk mail every day addressed to you.) It's a fact of life, it sucks, but thinking you can erase or hide your digital or paper trail is foolish. If you want to protect privacy spend your time fighting to protect it, don't waste it trying to hide.

    Well, actually....after Katrina, I fell off a LOT of lists, and over the years, I've been pretty careful to not put my personal name out there again. I get very little junk snail mail. Over the past year, I've gotten a few. But moving around so much after the storm, addresses changed often, and I was lax in catching up most anything to those.

    Heck, even now, my car registration says out Parish, my drivers license say another one and another address, from the parish I currently live in right now.

    Registering for voting was a fun exercise, let me assure you that.


    No, I'm not invisible by any stretch of the imagination, but I also don't go out of my way to give information out to companies out there, I actually go out of my way to give disinfromaton whenever I can. Customer store cards, in some I'm a 98 yr old Hispanic lady name Sven, whose shopping habits HAVE to skew their system a bit, and most any time I fill out anything that isn't legal, I fudge the years and dates around, give out wrong or partially wrong names, etc. Anything that goes into a non-legal database usually has misguided information about me, but often to the correct address.

    It is funny to see some junk mail that arrives here that comes from the fscked up data I give them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @11:22PM (#42283777)

    For freelance yes social media is or can be a huge part of your networking, but for more established companies, this can often be just a big waste of energy and capital and time. There are lots of studies and anecdotes all over the place signing praise and scorn about social media for business, but if you look for numbers, the real hard numbers behind conversions and ROI for social media campaigns, they're either hard to find or embarrassingly bad.

    For example there was a widely publicized "case study" that the bloggers went nuts over a few years ago, one I like to keep around and show my bosses, etc. They compared walmart and target social media campaigns, call walmart dumb and said their campaign failed, called target smart and successful. But, both spent close to a million dollars on this crap and if you look at the actual numbers their cost per conversion was absurdly high and it would be quite a feat to say they achieved an ROI on those campaigns. Target, the "successful" one, spent $500,000 on their campaign and netted a glorious 7,100 members. Even a modest website can generate that kind of traffic in a month with minimal effort.

    Marketers love to go on about social media because of how successful it can be, and how low cost, but they always gloss over the time element. You have to be active and on it all the time to get anything out of it, what does that cost? It's time expensive, and that always goes directly back to money expensive, by labor or by your own opportunity cost, so it's just... well it's just expensive. It's like saying "hey do you want free energy, have some people turn the crank of this generator all day ... see free energy!" The only people who really get anything from it is the guy who sells the generator, or facebook.

    Basically it's good for people who have more time than money, and need customers, after that, it's really awful and burdensome and will usually cost you in the long run if you want to maintain it. Run a business not a social club. Get customers, not friends.

  • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:49AM (#42284439) Homepage Journal

    >>>Having a business facing site on Facebook/Google+ and even using Twitter can be great for self promotion, and can open up your business to a huge audience

    actually increases sales?

    That's a really good question.

    I've run a photography website [] for 9 years, promoting Vanuatu, a tiny but beautiful chain of islands in the South Pacific. Traffic has always been low but steady, and Google image search gives me a decent ranking for my decidedly niche category.

    In August, I got recruited to manage the Humans of Vanuatu [] Facebook page. The page is still tiny by global standards, but I get people visiting from around the world, a ton of positive feedback and a steadily increasing and solid fan base. I've been featured in an online culture magazine, and now have a regular series in a decent (4 color glossy) lifestyle magazine that focuses on the South Pacific. Three musicians have asked to use my work in their cover art, the local newspaper has offered me a regular feature and I've been solicited to shoot more weddings than I want to[*].

    In terms of actual revenue, the jury's still out. I have seen an uptick in website visits, but the vast majority of people prefer to wait for my daily posts. I haven't tried to leverage it much yet, but I've been asked to do an exhibition early next year, with the proceeds going to charity. If that goes well, then maybe I'll try selling prints or a book online.

    Best I can suggest at the moment is that a Facebook presence emphatically does increase your exposure, mostly because of what they call 'virality' - the fact that whenever someone Likes a photo of mine, all their friends see it too. This means that I get about ten times as many eyes as I have fans. Will this translate to money? Not sure yet. Why not Like my page [] and follow me to find out? 8^)

    [*] In fairness, I just loathe shooting weddings. So one would be too many.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @02:58AM (#42284663) Homepage

    I see lots of businesses investing in Facebook and Twitter. This is driven by the marketing departments, and especially the younger staff that wants to prove something. Maybe I'm an old geezer, but I am not convinced - in the businesses I am familiar with, I haven't seen any sort of believable results, and the marketing departments can't produce any numbers, only "trust us, we know what we're doing".

    Has anyone seen actual, solid numbers from any business that prove that these marketing channels were worth the investment? If so, for what type of business?

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