Last May, I decided to play around with Facebook ads, and as part of that, I created a Facebook Page for my private practice. It was an experiment and I posted as much on Twitter at the time, expressing some ambivalence and saying that I wasn’t sure if I would keep it up. I asked a few friends to help me beta test it, and over time some colleagues, students, and other folks have become Fans.
I always had some trouble with the term “Fans,” and I’ve blogged a bit about that here and discussed it in my Social Media Policy.
It occurred to me sometime in the past couple of weeks that it’s been ten months and it was time to re-evaluate. I think I’ve gathered enough data to determine that a Facebook Fan Page does not feel right for me or my practice.
My issues with the Page
I have always had mixed feelings about the Facebook Page because I worried that that it might invite clients to Fan me which could complicate the clinical relationship around boundaries and confidentiality. I also worried that it potentially exposed my personal life (friends, colleagues, and family who were Fans). I worried that if there were negative fallout, I’d feel that it had been my own doing (or undoing, as it were).
At the same time, as someone who writes about Social Media, I also wanted to carefully explore it to see if it was useful in any way.
Astute readers may have noticed that I’ve never placed a link on my website’s Contact sidebar to the Facebook Page (unlike with Twitter), primarily because I wanted the Page to bring people from Facebook to my website and not the reverse.
I haven’t encountered a single negative clinical experience with the Page since creating it. I’m pleased about this and think I’m fortunate to be able to quit while I’m ahead!
The worst that has happened is that some colleagues have questioned the wisdom of having such a Page, noting the mixed signals of having a Page that says “Become a Fan,” while limiting who can actually become a Fan.
I will never know what clients choose to keep unmentioned, but I will say that I have yet to have a client bring up my Facebook Page in a therapy session.
I also have never had a client become a Fan.
It’s certainly possible that some of the Fans of the page who I don’t recognize are clients who created a pseudonym to follow me, but I think that is highly unlikely.
Why delete it?
Ultimately, I continue to have mixed feelings about the Facebook Page.
I’m finding it to be more a source of worry than I’d like. I’m not convinced the Facebook Page adds any real value to my practice or my life from a marketing perspective or an engagement perspective. I’m also not sure that I’m offering anything new or novel on that site. Most of my professional conversations happen on Twitter, email, or on other forums for mental health professionals.
In addition, I’m not passionate about it. My energy is more invested in blogging on my own site, guest blogging, and posting on Twitter and other professional forums for therapists which reside on Ning or LinkedIn.
I engage with people on Twitter, but those conversations don’t happen directly on a page that I’m hosting, and hence and I feel more free to dip into the conversation when it moves me. With the Facebook Page, I’ve felt more responsibility to monitor who becomes a Fan or what’s written on my Wall to be sure I feel okay about everything posted there, and I find that a poor use of my time.
I want to thank all the friends, colleagues, and supporters who helped me explore the Facebook Page in the first place and I want to remind you that if you do want to follow my blog postings or Tweets, you can always do so on my website or Twitter.
A planned termination
I plan to delete some posts over the next weeks and to delete the Facebook page entirely by the end of April, so you can all consider this a planned termination.
And if you are deeply sad about the deletion of my Page, then maybe we really do need to talk.