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My 60,000 Facebook subscribers are driving me crazy.


Stashed in: Conversations, Facebook!, Teh Internets, Social Media, Etiquette!, Extraordinary People, Cognitive Bias

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Katherine Goldstein had no choice -- she was among the "public figures" Facebook promoted for people to subscribe to.

She sees it as a work hazard:

When you write online, you have to take nutty commenters, Internet haters, and creeps in stride as an occupational hazard. When those people are seamlessly mixed in next to your aunt and your friends from high school, it’s harder for everyone to take.

She's not the only one who's finding her Facebook subscribers challenging:

Liz Heron, the social media editor at the New York Times, has more than 250,000 subscribers. Like many I spoke to, she was an early adopter. Heron, though, is an exception in that she characterizes her experiences with Subscribe as generally positive. She has found some effective, if time-consuming, strategies for dealing with her huge subscriber base. Heron has created and posted her own comment-moderation policy, and 15 minutes after posting each update, she does a sweep to delete inappropriate comments. She also spends time engaging her smart and thoughtful subscribers. Due to her conscientiousness, Heron estimates that 85 percent of the comments she gets are on-topic.

While it’s great that Heron has found successful methods for managing her subscribers, the amount of time and effort she’s put in seem unreasonable. Though Facebook needs to improve its spam detection and comment moderation tools, the problems with Subscribe are more nuanced than they might appear. The comments I’m getting are coming from real people with a different sense of Facebook etiquette, not spambots or a few bad apples spewing porn. As Heron notes, the majority of the problematic comments she gets are “cheesy come-ons,” not outright offensive remarks.

"Facebook etiquette" really has brought down the level of discourse.

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