Today, I heard the news that Facebook is now allowing business page administrators to send individual invitations to their friends to “like” their pages, and I have to admit – I was less than thrilled to hear this.
I understand that Facebook, like most “free” services, has to incorporate ads into its platform in order to sustain itself, so when they came out with their sidebar ads, I begrudgingly complied. I don’t mind the ads because, bottom line, I don’t have to click them if I don’t want to. And when they started to allow people to “suggest” business pages to friends, I didn’t mind, because again, I don’t have to “like” it.
Some may argue that the same holds true for the individual invitations – “if you don’t like it, don’t ‘like’ it!” But I disagree – a personal invitation from a “friend,” even if just an acquaintance, is much more high-pressure than a simple “suggestion” hanging out on my sidebar, and I have the suspicion that I’m going to now have to “like” every local business page that is crammed into my notifications, if only for the fear of being the one friend who wasn’t supportive of their marketing efforts.
Not only do I find this new development personally annoying, I think it’s just one more step in Facebook’s road to total marketing overload. Once a place that relied on recommendations in a social marketplace, it’s becoming more and more like a crowded flea market, with everyone hawking their wares.
Unfortunately, I’ll probably still have to stick with Facebook for the time being, but I don’t have to “like” it. Besides, I heard somewhere that Google + is looking pretty good…