What do Facebook and a Micromanager have in common?

This week’s guest blog post is written by Lynette Sawyer, an emerging Millenial with a passion for HR, Design and creating engaging workplaces. This week Lynette weighs in on the changes Facebook announced.. and a new angle to consider.


So, what do Facebook and a Micro-Manager have in common?

No, it’s note a joke, but could be one! This week at F8, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg presented the new changes coming to the social network, which welcomed – let’s say a less than “like”-able result.  The new changes have not only taken users aback but also led many to already quit Facebook. As for the hesitation, this comes to the changes in the functionalities of ‘timeline’ and ‘open graph’. ‘Timeline’ will now be more like the “story of your life”, displaying collections of past updates, stories, pictures and applications you have used. ‘Open Graph’ will make things “stickier” – utilizing various facebook tools (like timeline) to see what your friends are doing: watching a movie or searching UNICEF – making social much more personal and being engrained in every facet of your like down to the last detail!

So where are the commonalities?

Let’s take a look at the definition of Micro-Manager: Dictionary.com defines micromanagement as “management or control with excessive attention to minor details”. The online dictionary Encarta defines micromanagement as “attention to small details in management: control of a person or a situation by paying extreme attention to small details”. The notion of micromanagement can be extended to any social context where one person takes a bully approach, in the level of control and influence over the members of a group.

Facebook is really trying to achieve the be-all and end-all of social media. The new features of Facebook are mimicking that of Micro-Managers. Not only do they want to know every last detail of your life, but the roll out of the changes, without your input seems a bit bullish, like they are controlling how you want to experience your social network.

What happened to the old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”


1 Comment

  1. Karin Wills on October 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Perhaps Mr. Zuckerberg is following Mr. Jobs approach:You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.Interview with Inc. Magazine for its “The Entrepreneur of the Decade Award”
    Here is the thing about Facebook and the changes they have made gradually over the past 18 months: they need to bring in revenue (remember that stuff) and to support the free services that users have available from Facebook. The business model says-well revenue will come from the pockets of corporations. Which means advertising. 

    Advertising in the “social” world means customized, targeted to individuals style of advertising, engage those customers! In order to do that they need to get as much detail about you as they possibly can, so they can target the advertising to you. And that is the psychology behind the Facebook changes. It is about the money. They don’t want to control ‘you’, they just want to control where you spend your money-oh wait, okay they want to control you 🙂 Seriously though-it is about the money-it is about market share-it is about locking in consumers to a brand. It is that simple. 

    Mr. Jobs vision of the products he envisioned and ultimately guided to production was that in addition to making money-that those products would make a “ding in the universe” and that it opened up access to a world of knowledge, sharing and collaboration beyond what we had available to use before. Mr. Zuckerberg may have had such a vision at one point but his product is not as tangible as Mr. Jobs’ products so he has to find another way to bring in the revenue piece. And that means corralling the way users experience it in a much tighter way than the products of Mr. Jobs vision.  Mr. Jobs developed a pretty solid corral with iTunes and with the way Apple products are sold to customers and Mr. Zuckerberg is seeking to do something similar.

    Users have a choice-they don’t have to keep a Facebook account. However, all social networks will at the end of the day opt for corporate advertising revenue to keep and grow their business. Which means that if you participate in these networks you need to consider what you say on them, what options you choose, what privacy settings you use. You can by being careful minimize how much advertising/branding you receive. 

    Social networks within organizations have a similar purpose-it is about the revenue at the end of the accounting year but the route is a little more circuitous-we use internal social networks to share knowledge, improve customer service experience, provide training and development opportunities, improve communications, collaborate on projects, etc. So in a way we are branding employees-we get them engaged, focussed on how they can use those networks to improve how they work, how they collaborate etc. We use social networks to attract and search for the right people to ask them to consider joining our organizations, we use those externally so while we are looking for new employees that will bring their competencies and skills to our workplace we are also advertising our brand. 

    And all of it-is at the end of the accounting cycle-about the profit margin. But, users have choices. Choose what you put on any social network carefully. What are you willing to have *everybody* know? What choices do you make when you are setting up or upgrading the settings on your social network accounts? What contact information do you want available to anyone, anytime? And most of all-if a social network is not working for you-close the account.