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Facebook Theatre: A Living Hell

Losing Face(book)

Okay, Facebook has changed the way we operate on a daily basis and I have, along with other professionals, taken advantage of converting my personal profile to a "page" for a company, figuring, "Oh cool, my friends will become my fans!"

Yet it has cut me off my integration—rather than expanded it with my friends. Now I don't seem to be able to write on friends' walls and have even lost "friend news" on my wall. Now when I seek to share any inspirations on my Facebook page, I am sent to my "business dashboard" and have no way other than "cutting and pasting" the URL I wish to share. Wow. Nothing like being sent back four years in technology Facebook.

From Mashable to Trashable

A recent post on Mashable had this so well documented, I wanted to pass this along to anyone considering making the same mistake and living through this hell.

Maybe, I'll be lucky enough to get the same courtesy from Facebook as Christina Warren did. Facebook, are you listening?

Christina wrote it so well, here is the excerpt I am sharing with my Fast Company readers and followers so you don't make the same hellish mistake (and if Facebook will help me like they did Christina, I'll tell the world as well).

Here is the great intro that sets the stage:

"Users who want to migrate from a traditional Facebook Profile to a Facebook Page might want to think twice, or even thrice, before making the leap. The new tool is intended to help brands, local business, organizations or public figures create a new Facebook page while still bringing their friends (ie, fans) along with them.
"It's great that Facebook is offering users this tool, but those interested in the migration should proceed with extreme caution. I unintentionally committed Facebook suicide earlier this afternoon when I participated in the process myself. What I had hoped would be a way for me to create a fan page and then re-establish a new personal account has instead turned into a bit of a technical, and social media-induced nightmare."


I could only compare this to what it must be like to visit Charlie Sheen's mind and tracking his logic. But really, why would Facebook mess with their brand (which is only a portal to one's friends and colleagues)? Christine further elaborated on getting caught in this labyrinthine hell hole.

"I understood that I would lose photos, wall posts and messages. What I didn't anticipate was the loss of my username (a name I had to fight to get in the great Facebook Username Race of 2009) and that any applications associated with my account (including games) would now have major issues working. "The real trouble, however, came when I attempted to re-create a personal profile page."

Look Facebook, if you're going to introduce something to businesses that exist to earn money and not "experience new things"—then it would great to provide a video that explained this migration in simple terms so the implications were totally clear.

Christine mentioned three areas I thought would be clear for anyone using Facebook so they could save face and not dip their toe into this hell hole of lava-infused misery.

"The first problem was that I could not longer associate myself with any networks or e-mail addresses in use by the other account. That meant I couldn't show that I work at Mashable and I couldn't add my cell phone to my new profile. Removing those e-mails and networks from the Business Account was that workaround, but it creates more of a problem in maintaining separate pages.
"Second, and this is the real issue in my case, I can't even send friend requests to half of my friend or even some family members because Facebook thinks that I'm spamming people I don't actually know. I can't do anything to convince them that I do know said individuals and instead will have to harangue my friends and family to add the new me as a friend.
"Third, even though I can switch between acting as the Christina Warren that is my personal profile and the Christina Warren that is a fan, because all of my social accounts are linked to a now defunct personal account, I have to reset every tool I have used that integrates with Facebook. I was under the impression that as a Page, I could still like a share content to that page's feed without having a problem. Not only can I not do that, if I want to like or share content on my personal account, I need to be logged into a totally different setup."

Don't Try This at Home

If LinkedIn did this, businesses would stone the company into not being idiotic. LinkedIn has been raising their game a LOT these days, especially with their LinkedIn Today page which I love and use. Gives me a great snapshot before my day starts.

Now, I am—in my Facebook world—back in my teens when we moved to a new neighborhood, feeling disconnected, not being sure who is who and most of all, wondering who I am and how I get anyone to notice, or care.

To anyone at facebook reading this, this is hell.

Recipient of over 320 national and international design and branding recognitions and awards, David Brier is an award-winning brand identity designer, author, and branding expert. His firm's work has won the admiration of peers and organizations but has, more importantly, helped clients jump-start their brands in new and innovative ways, even (and especially) when they've failed in previous brand makeovers. Most recently, David's celebrated work for Botanical Bakery was selected for the 2010 Communication Arts Design Annual and will be featured in "The Big Book of Packaging."

Since you've read this far, you can request a Free copy of "The Lucky Brand" eBook.

Add New Comment


  • akstout18

    Hi David I was beginning to think you don't respond to blog posts. Thanks following up. Sure lots of users didn't understand what was going to happen when they hit the magical convert button, but I seriously doubt the majority of them go around calling themselves experts. Calling oneself an expert has always been funny to me, but if that floats your boat, more power to ya.

    The quote from Inside Facebook says that there was also a technical issue that arose where profiles did not convert correctly which was due to an API glitch. I believe I acknowledged that in the last paragraph of my initial comment. For the people that issue effected, I feel sorry because their issue was not a result of their own lack of understanding.

    I hold Facebook fully responsible for the technical issues. However, for people who just don't know how to navigate a true Facebook Business Account I feel no sympathy.

    I cannot tell you how many newly converted Pages I have logged into this past week to help troubleshoot, and the problems were not due to technical issues and lack of information, but rather user error and down right inability to navigate anything different than what they were use to. In my opinion, if you don't fully understand what you are getting yourself into, if you have any doubts, don't push the button until you are more educated.

  • David Brier

    Thanks for your response AK.

    I agree that one should know before they go. This is a principle I apply to my work and personal life. But the above post exposed an incident where I "shot first and asked questions later."

    So, I presented it once I saw there was a more broad epidemic. That's the simplicity of the post, nothing more nothing less. End of story.

    FYI: Being deemed an expert is Fast Company's protocol and based on my branding experience, my book, my articles and over 30 years of designing, creating and managing award-winning brand solutions that have made our clients very, very happy: global, national, regional and local.

    That's as much as I will say about that. Geez.

  • akstout18

    I must have misread that this page said "Expert" Blog at the top.

    If people simply take the time to read all information presented before rushing into things there wouldn't be nearly as many "catastrophes."

    I'm not sure how Facebook could have possibly made the implications of the conversion process anymore clear. The Facebook Help Section states:

    "Be aware that when you convert your profile to a Page, your profile pictures will be transferred, and all of your friends will be automatically added as people who like your Page. No other content will be carried over to your new Page, so be sure to save any important content before beginning your migration. The account associated with the profile you previously maintained will be converted to a business account, which will be the sole admin of your new Page."

    The term "business account" in the last sentence is hyper-linked so that if there is any confusion as to what in the world a business account is, you don't have to try to dream up its meaning on your own - you simply click on the link to read:

    "Business accounts are designed for individuals who only want to use the site to administer Pages and their ad campaigns. For this reason, business accounts do not have the same functionality as personal accounts. Business accounts have limited access to information on the site. An individual with a business account can view all the Pages and Facebook Ads that they have created, however they will not be able to view the profiles of users on the site or other content on the site that does not live on the Pages they administer. In addition, business accounts cannot be found in search and cannot send or receive friend requests."

    In my opinion, the issue you explained as well as the issue that Christina from Mashable confessed to is simply a result of a lack of reading comprehension and you both should be embarrassed to deem yourself experts.

    This is not to say Facebook is without fault. There have been panic-inducing delays in "Friends" converting over to "Likers" and there is a very serious problem of the custom URL's not transferring over and the Page not being able to be found altogether. Those issues are not a result of misunderstanding but of some serious bugs that will hopefully be worked out sooner rather than later.

  • David Brier


    After I wrote my response below, I happened upon this which I believe proves the entire point of this post and this exercise:

    Following Problems with Profile to Business Page Migrations, Facebook Introduces Appeals Process
    April 6th, 2011
    By Josh Constine

    Last week, Facebook released a tool allowing users who had created a personal profile for a business venture to convert that profile into a Page and change their friends into fans. However, some users didn’t fully understand the consequences of conversion while others had their profile deleted but no new Page created due to a technical issue. To help repair the damages from these issues, Facebook has created a Profile to Business Page Migration Appeal that users can fill out to apply to have the conversion reversed and their profile restored.

    Here's the link:

  • David Brier


    Thank you for your comments.

    There is also the issue of not being able to access and respond to friends comments without going in circles, being routed to admin ad campaign pages, rather than merely being able to respond to threads. Did you know that from reading the text you recite above?

    If you want to go down the road of critiquing experts as experts, that's one game I simply don't play.

    I am an expert in branding and a user of social tools. As a user and business person, I felt it an important point to mention so others don't make the same mistake.

    I think that alone makes this post relevant and meaningful to Fast Company readers.

    Thanks for taking as much time to address some of the issues as to criticize Christina and me as experts.