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Buy Facebook friends. December 7, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Has it really come to this? Our friend Ben was horrified to see a comment in our spam folder offering to let us buy Facebook “fans”. Mind you, our friend Ben has never been on Facebook, not because I wouldn’t enjoy seeing what’s on there, but because they won’t let you on unless you join, and I refuse to give them the satisfaction of adding me to their 750-plus-million strong roster. That smacks of power-grabbing blackmail to me. But even I know that you have friends on Facebook, not fans. (I, um, think. If you can have fans and friends, someone please let me know!) 

But I’m straying from the point here, or maybe not. Facebook has become so powerful that it’s no longer just a social network, it’s considered an essential outreach tool for businesses. Perhaps a desperate teen would buy friends for their Facebook page to look more popular. But I suspect that the real market for bought friends/fans/whatever is businesses seeking to prove to investors and advertisers that they have a huge following.

This of course goes for authors trying to attract publishers, artists and craftspeople trying to get into galleries, musicians looking for bookings and recording deals, and on and on. If you can show that you have bazillion friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, views on your blog and YouTube videos, etc., you are also showing that you have a marketable platform. When someone offers you a deal, they do so in the confidence that you’ll be bringing your following with you, a ready-made market for your products.

Normally, building a following takes a tremendous amount of hard work, time, and originality. But gee, now you can just buy one ready-made! Still, this is obviously gonna cost you.

Our friend Ben has a better idea: Steal a page from Facebook’s playbook. Refuse to allow anyone to buy your products unless they friend you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, sign up to get your e-mails, etc. This would naturally be more effective if you were, say, L.L. Bean or Wal*Mart. But it has broader applications. What if you couldn’t get an appointment with your doctor unless you had to friend, follow, etc.? Or even hope to get into the college of your choice, or get a job, or go to a concert, or buy groceries, unless…

Of course, once everyone had huge followings, maybe they’d lose their market value. And maybe then we’d return to a place where quality, originality and talent were what mattered, not marketing platform. Our friend Ben can dream…



1. Alan from Roberts Roost - December 7, 2011

FB has become the norm (you know, the fat guy at the bar on CHEERS) Everyone has it, and overuses it. It reaches a lot of people, and as a mass market tool it has another 5 years. I’m not hip enough to know the next best thing, still trying to workout fb in a nontraditional format. I think it will devolve into something like the post, or maybe what email is becomming, just another way to group connect. Dont think you missed much by not being on fb.

I think you’re right, Alan. I once read a fascinating analysis of the social network scene, and it said that social networks were created by kids as a way to reach each other, and the minute they were co-opted by parents, businesses, and etc., the kids would move on to a new network and the formerly hot site would become passe. (Remember MySpace?) Facebook’s about due…

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