Way back in 2014, Brutal Pixie made a decision to bail out of Facebook. In the years that followed, we also bailed out of Instagram and Snap. We prefer not to use WhatsApp, because Facebook owns it, but some of our clients overseas find it easier to use. So right now, we’re sucking that up.
At the time of this edit (October 2019) we’re only on two social media platforms: LinkedIn and Twitter. Pretty soon, Twitter is going to join the pile of burning social media platforms.
Why have we progressively removed ourselves from social media?
It’s a good question, and one that seems to baffle people. In the age of Digital Marketing, it seems frankly ridiculous to leave social.
But here’s why:
Social media is designed to control how you feel and how you think. The feed is not an impartial feed. Neither Facebook nor Twitter just allow your feed to exist as it is. Negative content is prioritised. The interfaces are designed to create aggression, depression, and reactive behaviours.
Here’s a video of the psychologist and long-time technology supporter, Sam Vaknin, to blow your mind:
Plus, in a B2B business like ours, you’re not reaching new prospects. You’re not supporting existing clients. You’re pretty much just shouting into the void and wondering why it’s unsuccessful.
We would much rather speak directly to our prospects and buyers, which we do every single day via email. And you know what? They love what we send, and it generates sales.
Facebook is a morally bankrupt company and we refuse to have anything to do with it.
If you’re one of those people who are angry and shouting into the social media void about any of the following behaviours:
- your posts not getting any reach
- your Facebook Lives not notifying your followers
- you getting booted out of your Live sessions because you asked people to share your content
- having to pay for any kind of visibility
- Facebook’s epic failures at data security or privacy
- Facebook’s persistently unethical behaviours in relation to its platform and your information
- Facebook allowing extremely violent material to be spread like a virus, apparently without knowing
- Zuckerberg’s recent comments about the fact that they’ll never ban political ads, even if they’re full of false information
- Facebook getting cosy into bed with the Chinese Communist Party, whose social credit system should be enough to make you delete everything you have with any company who shares your information with them
… or anything else, then if you remain on the platform then you are a willing participant in any of their bullshit.
So stop complaining. Take action. Or own the fact that you are a participant.
We’re not willing participants. So we put our actions where our mouths are.
Below is the original post that we wrote when we first left Facebook.
For us, though, we are progressively removing our business information from big tech platforms that have questionable ethics. And that includes Google.
If you’re interested in learning about that side of our business, go and subscribe to The Next Five Years.
The original post we wrote when we left Facebook in 2014:
At Brutal Pixie we no longer provide support for the Facebook social network. We decided it’s not a good cultural fit for us. When we communicated this to our customers, we received nothing but support.
This is what happens when your decisions are values-driven.
Huh? Facebook? Cultural fit?
You might be wondering, How can a social network be any sort of cultural fit?
If you have worked with Brutal Pixie, you’ll know we work hard to align your company values to your messaging. By ‘messaging’ we mean everything from what you say to where you say it.
When you have a strong sense of the values and culture of your business, it allows you to make effective decisions about what is important. Your values guide your decisions about the channels you are in, the methods you use, the words you choose. It can also help you to decide what you will support, and be able to express why.
You have to play to your strengths
We do not specialise in social media — hundreds of other people do that. They are, in fact, a dime a dozen. Marketers do it. Social media people do it. SEO people do it. They are at every networking event, every meet up. Every business is told OMG SOCIAL MEDIA everywhere they turn.
Unfortunately, ‘social media’ to people means ‘Facebook’ most of the time. There are a vast number of social networks, and they all have their own audiences, purposes, and formats.
Brutal Pixie is a content studio. We don’t do your social media. We are publishing advisors, helping you to create and leverage content over the long-term. This means we can help you to work out whether you need what all those Guruz are telling you.
Here are some things people said:
“Good on you!”
“This is great. You know my skepticism about social media anyway.”
“Good on you guys! Great conviction and I really enjoyed reading your reasons. I am also pleased that, even though you won’t be doing it, you are happy to point people in the direction of those that may be able to assist them. This is a sign of greatness and empathetic acquiescence.”
Colour me surprised! Support was one thing that we did not expect. It’s an extremely good lesson, however. When you work from a value-oriented perspective, people will support you. Even if your decision is not a popular one.
Business has not been negatively affected
When you remove a channel, you worry that your business will be negatively affected. Ours hasn’t been. Referrals still come through, people still connect with us, it’s business as usual.
The only difference is that we now have more time for things that support our vision and direction. And the relationship that we already had have gotten stronger.
Part of the reason for this is that our action says: No, we won’t do things that our values do not support. Yes, we will fight for what we think is right.
It also says, This is our decision, and we will still help you with whatever your decision is.
It’s vital to remember you cannot impose your direction on other people. What you can do is help them find someone suitable.
Here is the full text of what we sent to people
Brutal Pixie will no longer provide support for the Facebook social network, effective 1 October 2014. Facebook is not a good cultural fit for us.
We understand that many people expect that a content strategy organisation will include social media. We are happy to refer you to specialists in the field, will consult on frameworks, and will project manage your social media channels.
The thing we are moving away from is hands-on content posting, review, interaction, or support.
It important for us to tell you that we are removing Facebook immediately because it is not a good cultural fit for us.
At Brutal Pixie, we pride ourselves on upholding some key cultural values. Of most relevance here are:
- Be Accountable
- Live Well
As a business, Facebook runs against the grain for us. Here are our top reasons why.
- As a company, its handling of private data is an issue that has been of reportable concern since 2011. It is still a problem, having most recently peaked with its newish messenger application
- Facebook ran emotional contagion experiments on the public, without transparency or overt consent, for a project that was funded by more than one study for the USA military
- Facebook is a vehicle that enables increasingly authoritarian regimes to abuse human rights more easily
- The network is not completely transparent about the “service providers” to which it gives your information, and which may be used to “conduct and publish research”. Their data use policy is here.
Facebook does not default to transparency; it is not completely accountable. The company communicates poorly. On the people side, the negative impacts of the network on people’s lives are significant enough to warrantdetailed studies.
Living well, to us, is about being supported, connected, communicating well, enjoying life. This also means being non-violent. We do not support military actions of any kind, or human rights abuses in whatever form they take. It is a principle that we feel is vital to uphold.
The decision to remove this B2B service is not one we have taken lightly. Therefore, I encourage you to call me and chat if you have any concerns or queries. I can be reached on [redacted — number changed].
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