Entrepreneurs are often time and money poor, yet engage in a daily habit that diminishes both: Facebook.
With over 750 million active accounts, an astounding one in nine people in the world log on to Facebook, arguably the most addictive social media site. Studies reveal that Facebook makes us spend more, work less and generally, discourages us. In this, has Facebook become a liability for budding entrepreneurs?
Here are six reasons detailing how Facebook works against the determined entrepreneur.
1. Facebook is the ultimate time waster.
I joined Facebook in 2007, roughly eight years ago. On average I’d spend one hour on Facebook every weekday and an additional two on Saturday and Sunday, totalling 10 hours a week, or one of my average work days. That’s 4,160 hours over my Facebook life, equating to 173 days continuously, or 24 weeks, or six whole months of my life spent on Facebook.
Entrepreneurs are constantly time poor -- can you really afford six months of your life trawling through strangers' holiday snaps?
2. Facebook is a money pit.
In 2012 Facebook appealed to the government to sell shares of stock to the public. In the vicinity of $75 billion, Facebook’s “stocks” are the data that we input into our profiles. Facebook mines our information to sell companies who orchestrate invasive advertising campaigns.
What was once a fun fuss-free platform, Facebook is now littered with ads -- a virtual gold mine for the $200 billion company. In December 2013, Facebook launched video advertisements, making it an increasingly unsafe environment for the cash-strapped entrepreneur. Facebook makes far more money from us then we make from it, statistics show.
3. You won’t miss it.
Last month, the Huffington Post published "How to Quit Facebook Without Experiencing Withdrawal" suggesting that to elevate the anxiety of quitting Facebook, a person should seek solace on another channel.
Invest in a social-media platform that supports, not hinders, your entrepreneurial pursuits (my preference is Twitter). Entrepreneurs should spend their time on a platform that generates revenue, unearths contacts and cements their brand. The "garbage bag" mix found on a Facebook feed is not the forum to do this.
Facebook insists upon a 14-day cooling off period when a person deletes their account, perhaps relying on a moment of weakness for the user to withdraw their request by simply logging back in.
4. Personal profiles are no longer private.
In a controversial move last year, Facebook retired the option to suppress your name from being visible in searches. Facebook is increasingly removing users' rights to keep their information private, primarily through adding to the exhausting number of options available on the Privacy panel. The only way to keep your profile suppressed from a person is to block them.
In short, Facebook profits from you being an open book, and they don’t want you to close it. This system makes entrepreneurs vulnerable to scrutiny from potential employers, investors and colleagues who can easily access their personal Facebook profiles.
5. Facebook makes you less happy.
A recent study conducted by the Department of Behavioral Science at Utah Valley University found that Facebook makes us view our lives negatively. The study of 400 students concluded that “those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives."
When seeking motivation, entrepreneurs should look outside of Facebook. Social comparison, a byproduct of the Facebook experience, makes the user feel worse about their lives, according to one study. Entrepreneurs are emotionally rewarded through creating content and engaging in meaningful conversations online, rather than falling into the Facebook voyeur role.
6. You can’t trust Facebook.
This year, Facebook revealed its secret study of 689,000 users who did not give their consent. Facebook harvested users' News Feed interactions to develop a detailed report on “emotional contagion," the ability to manipulate a person’s emotions through Facebook. This is just one example of Facebook’s unethical use of the public’s information, and entrepreneurs who need to protect their intellectual property are not safe on this platform.
Remember, the moment we enter information into Facebook, it is no longer our own. Facebook is constantly updating its terms of service making entrepreneurs safe today, but not tomorrow.