Katie Hellmuth Martin's blog


To Friend or Unfriend. Or Ignore. That is the Facebook Question.

What if you have too many friends in Facebook? A tough problem, right? But what if you maxed out at 5,000, and/or what if you were sad that you weren't keeping up with what your true friends are doing in their home towns? You would need to scale back in some Facebook friendships, and essentially, unfriend some people. If you're a person with a lot of street cred online, and you were reading this article on whether or not to create a Facebook Fan Page for yourself, then the next step you should be thinking about is how to handle your current collection of friends.

Why Do We Have Friends on Facebook?
If we are in college or high school, we are really just keeping up with our actual friends on Facebook - looking at their pictures, commenting on their funny videos, throwing snowballs at them, etc. If we are making our way in the world today, it takes everything we've got, and yes, we are using Facebook to network, sell product, sell services, and more. But with the 5,000 friend limit, which does really squash your chances of using Facebook for fun because you have so many networking types in your feed, you will want to reconsider why you are accepting friends.

Reasons to Accept Friends

  • You really want to know what they are doing, what events they are having, etc.
  • You want them to know what you are doing. You can assume they are going to be watching every move that you make, or you can decide to put a little bit of effort into them when they post a thought-provoking status update, release a video, post a link, etc.
  • They have sent you a little note with their friend request

Reasons to Ignore Friend Requests

  • You look at your mutual friends, and the mutual friends are all big time Facebook users who are more interested in having high friend numbers, than in the quality of what you are saying.
  • You have no idea who the person is, and you have no mutual friends. This person did not tell you why they have requested to be your friend.

How to Unfriend Current Friends to Make Room for New Friends
If you need to scale down your list, and you need to delete some friends in order to make room for new friends who you for either personal or professional reasons, you need to quietly unfriend people who are not helping your professional cause, nor are they contributing to daily doses of random happy things. There is no need to make an announcement that you are doing this, but before you do it, and if you have made a Fan Page for your business that you would like them to continue to follow, create a campaign for yourself.

How to Move Friends to be Fans
While you can't technically click a person to be a "fan" instead of a "friend", you can persuade your current friends to also become fans. Little do they know you may soon be cleaning house, and they will suddenly stop seeing your status updates, but that's ok.

  • Write about your new Fan Page on your blog, and link to it.
  • Put a "Find us on Facebook" graphic on every page of your website or blog. If you're not an "us", then make a "Find me on Facebook", but chances are, it takes some kind of community to do what you do, so consider sticking with "us".
  • Update your Facebook status to let your friends know you have a Fan page, and you will be posting lots of goodies to it, like helpful links, sales, etc.
  • Update your Facebook status a few times, to really give those who you will be unfriending a clear chance to know where to find you.

Lastly, keep in mind that this is all a work in progress. Facebook is always introducing new features and changing the rules. So what may have been a great strategy 6 months ago, may not apply today.

Friend and Follower Management: When you are too popular for yourself on Facebook

What to do when you've got too many Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Sigh...too many people are following me! Chances are, you are thinking this because you have followed or friended most of those people back, and you don't really know who most of them are.

The NOT Going Out of Business Sale!

Fish Eddy's NOT Going Out of Business SaleI spotted this storefront while reading our local daily newspaper, AMNY. Maybe you've seen this in your town, but around here, there are plenty of "Recession Lunch Special!" signs on many restaurant windows. But this sale takes the cake from Fish Eddys: "The NOT Going Out of Business Sale!" And its sister, the "Chase Bank NOT Coming Soon Sale". Big chain drugstores and banks are gobbling up prime real estate on parts of Broadway that run through neighborhoods, thus enticing landlords to hike the rent on boutiques and local restaurants, causing them to not renew leases. So to see this ad campaign is fantastic!

Photos by Rolando Pujol

Entrepreneur Day (as a holiday) - Who's With Me??

So, my husband and I are going to a wedding over Valentine's Day weekend, and I made the plane reservations for Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Working for myself means that I'm on my own schedule, pretty much, so I could have stayed until Monday morning, which is what I sometimes do when visiting friends or family. My hubby, however, is on a film job, so most likely needed to be back.

Neither of us realized that Monday is a holiday. It was my mom who reminded me: "Why don't you stay the extra day? It's a holiday!" Holiday? Does that affect me?

Ever since becoming a full fledged entrepreneur, and working for myself, paying my own health insurance, paying into my own IRA with no 'matching program', I look at Monday holidays as quiet days, days to get things done. Come to think of it, before I broke out on my own, I used Monday holidays to develop my business, and relished in the day not have to go to the day job.

That said, it is for the mental health of all of us, that we must take a day or a week off! Perhaps if there was an official Entrepreneur Day, we would remember to shut everything off and just be on vacation for a minute. It's not like we need government approval for this. We won't be paying into it as a paid holiday. All we really need is for all of us to stop working on one day. Stop emailing each other for one day (although I'd miss everyone). And maybe if Macy's or Sleepy's had a big sale in the name of Entrepreneur Day, that would also recognize it, like they do for Columbus Day and President's Day.


Even Google Has Website Malfunction

Just when you thought your website was the only one flaking out, and just when you wanted to strangle your website developer (be kind to us! ;) ), Google went and had its own website malfunction. If you were searching last Saturday morning, January 31st, 2009, then you most likely saw these blaring words in red: "This site may harm your computer"

I know I did, and of course I thought I had clicked on a malicious website, even though I was doing a search for a very legit topic (as opposed to searches for celebrities that can very likely lead to fake websites that crash your browser). But, the problem was simple, and caused by human error at Google. In their words:

Google flags search results with the message "This site may harm your computer" if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We maintain a list of such sites through both manual and automated methods. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to come up with criteria for maintaining this list, and to provide simple processes for webmasters to remove their site from the list.

We periodically update that list and released one such update to the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of '/' was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and '/' expands to all URLs. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file. Since we push these updates in a staggered and rolling fashion, the errors began appearing between 6:27 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and began disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m., so the duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.

Interesting isn't it, that one tiny character, the / , caused a world-wide error on a Saturday morning. So just when you think you're the only one to make a mistake, it can happen to anyone.


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