I've been a fan of Facebook for a couple years. I think it's a great way to network with others and build your business.
I've used the site create my own groups, build a fan page, post videos, interact with family, friends and fans, and basically enjoyed its functionality.
I've always abided by their terms of service, even though thousands of people break the rules every day.
I'm a credible marketer with a 15-year history on the web. I've built dozens of sites, written best-sellers, speak all over the world and am respected in the industry. I've even written a 30-page report on how to use Facebook for business.
So what happened?
This morning, I logged into my account and was greeted by this message.
You have GOT to be kidding me.
Here's what happened...
I reached my 5000 friend limit on the site.
When that happens, people can still make friend requests of you, but they are told that the user has reached his or her limit.
On my end, I see the friend request as usual and I approve them as spots open up.
Should I ignore the people who have made requests while they wait for approval?
Or should I communicate with them and tell them other ways in which they can interact with me?
I choose the latter.
One by one, I've been going through the friend requests and clicking the link that says "Send a message" which appears directly next to the approve and decline buttons.
My messages have been different for each user. I often try to personalize based on their own profile or any previous encounters we have had.
A typical message would say...
Thanks for the request! I've reached my 5000 friend limit on Facebook, but you can follow me on my fan page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Joel-Comm/9907159309?ref=s
Hope to see you there!
Or another message might say...
hiya! I'm glad you had the opportunity to see me speak at Harv Eker's event. I'm at my Facebook friend limit, but visit my blog and you can stay up to date on my activities. http://www.joelcomm.com
An admin at Facebook apparantly decided that I was SPAMMING people who had REQUESTED contact with me!
I contacted no more than thirty people who had made a friend request. What am I supposed to do? Just be rude and leave them hanging?
If I had done something wrong, I should have received a warning. The fact that I was trying to use Facebook as intended should not be a cause for suspension.
This should make anyone who is serious about using Facebook a little gunshy.
Apparantly, my "Friends of Joel Comm" page and "Joel Comm" fan page remains in tact.
I have appealed to Facebook to reinstate my account. They also need to revisit their "shoot first, ask questions later" suspension policy. I'm just a bit offended that some lacky without common sense can push the "off" button on my account when I have worked so hard to build it.
What happens next?
It's in Facebook's hands.
But be warned. If you have over 5000 friends, don't even THINK about corresponding with anyone else that wants to friend you.
Do the right thing, Facebook. Reinstate my account, please.
1/24/2009 - Robert Scoble interviewed me about my Facebook trials. Read the article here
1/26/2009 - I'm back on Facebook! Read all about it