Full Disclosure : Facebook Tagging : Email Conversation

Not long ago a Facebook note titled something like “25 Random Things About Me” started circling. You write 25 things then you tag people who you want to know that about you and who might also want to participate. At that time, Cliff Ravenscraft and others spoke out insisting that tagging people who weren’t specifically talked about in the note was a bad practice and insisted that they had been inundated with hundreds of these notifications saying they’d been tagged.

I wrote a Facebook note about how I felt about this called “The Facebook Tagging Debate”. I have copied it to  my blog here since due to my privacy settings on Facebook, if we’re not friends there you wouldn’t be able to see it. I am quite selective about who my friends are on Facebook.

Yesterday Cliff posted a Facebook 101 video tutorial that covered the subject of tagging. He got a lot of response to that video via comments. Cliff removed the video and the comments. He moved them all to his personal blog. He then came and replied to my Facebook note. Finally, he sent an email addressed to myself, Andrea and Alison. Cliff agreed to post the entire email conversation of ours. He didn’t. With permission, here is a reposting of my email conversation with Cliff.

From Cliff to all Three Women

Alison, Andrea, & Kim,

I am only just now realizing that I may have hurt or offended you a few weeks back when I went off on a rant about Facebook Tagging. I understood by the end of that live broadcast of MCL that I had totally screwed up. However, I had no idea that anyone took what I was saying as being personal or hurtful.

I’m such an idiot at times when I go on a crusade about my opinion on a topic. That’s EXACTLY what this who tagging thing is… It’s my “opinion.” With the way that I’ve handled this, you can certainly understand why I do not usually enjoy speaking on the topic of religion and political topics in the forum and in most of our podcasts.

One thing is for sure, I am VERY OPINIONATED. Another thing is EQUALLY SURE.. and that is that I AM NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. Sure, I still feel strongly about my opinion on what the purpose of tagging is. But it’s not that big of a deal..

Or at least it wasn’t until I made such a big deal of it.

Andrea, in your blog, you quoted my “building relationships one person at a time” line that I often share.

Okay, so this totally exposed me for the HYPOCRITE that I am from time to time.

Please accept my apology for this.

I have no doubt that you each may be aware of someone else who was unfortunately there that day, in the chat room, when I went off on my insensitive rant where I agree that I was a bit harsh and even judgmental.

Feel free to forward this email to anyone you know that may have been impacted by my act of sheer stupidity.

It was not email notifications from you folks with your random facts… It was the fact that I knew the day was coming, oh my goodness has that day come, where the flood of spam notes are following through my notification list when I sign into facebook each time.

Please forgive me!


Kim’s Response to Cliff


You didn’t hurt me. Some of what you said offended me on behalf of all of your followers and community members. Your MCL podcast that you didn’t release, that hurt people. Your tweets of annoyance with the 25 things hurt people. You offered no Twitter clarification at that time. You offered no clarification to the people who attended the live MCL episode.

This isn’t about me. This is about everyone else who looks to you for guidance. People LOOK UP TO YOU and you tell them that they’re using something wrong? As I wrote in my own FB note, if we didn’t try new things with current technology we wouldn’t ever move forward or advance. Sure, you’re entitled to feel that they’re using it wrong. I’m also entitled to being offended by your statement of what it is. Due to the way you’ve stated this all, there are now people who are scared to try new things in this space. There are people who are afraid to speak out, to ask questions, to talk to you or network further with others. You speak out like this Cliff and you become unapproachable. And because of your status, by proxy, you make many of us who are on the bleeding edge of social media technology unapproachable as well. This in essence forces many people to come out and take a stand to separate themselves from you and whatever your stand may be.

You did make this tagging thing a huge deal. And the people who are simply community members and not “experts” of any kind got the impression that this is a huge deal. Much of your target audience are people who are participants in this space, not evangelists. You are maybe the one contact that they have with newer and emerging aspects of technology. Do you not see that? How could you not?

I can’t support you when you choose to rant about these things without consideration for your audience. Maybe that IS your brand. Maybe that’s what you want to be about. Perhaps you want a bunch of people who think as you do, do as you do and react as you do. If that’s your desire, then ok. I’m still not going to be a part of that.

You aren’t always right, and you’ve said that here. You make mistakes. We all do. We can’t change the past. We can only apologize, or not, and move on. Your apology won’t change what you said prior to this. It won’t change the fact that feelings were, indeed, hurt. What we can do is make choices for what the future holds for each of us.

The note that I wrote in FB about the debate may not have applied to you from start to finish (it did for others), however some of what I said did. If there are parts that don’t apply to you then perhaps that would be something you’d want to bypass and respond to what does apply. Don’t make an issue out of what isn’t an issue for you. Just once more, the note was not directed entirely at you. I had you in mind for part of it. You know where you fit into that.

If your stance now is simply an upset because of Facebook’s lack of flexibility and customization in regards to notifications (or people’s choices to actually use it as true spam), then fantastic. My opinion: that’s all good and valid. I’d even agree! When you take offense to the people who have nothing but good intentions and hurt many feelings, that’s just not ok in my book.

State your opinion Cliff, but for the sake of my friends and your audience, be mindful of how you say it.

Kim Fenolio

Cliff’s Reply to Kim’s Response

Well said and I agree… I had an opinion.  I had valid concerns.  However, before I could devote enough time to the subject, I did say some things that came out the wrong way and I hurt some feelings of people I love dearly.

Can’t go back and fix it all, but I’ll learn from this mistake.

I’m only glad that I finally uncovered the fact that I had even made this mistake.  In my mind, I was clueless as to how badly I had screwed this up until this morning.

Wow… How clueless can I be at times?

Moving forward.


One Response to “Full Disclosure : Facebook Tagging : Email Conversation”

  1. Amy said:

    Thank you for sharing Kim!

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