OBC’s, Sealed Records, Walled Gardens, and Traffic

So the other day when I was examining the results and metrics from an installed Google Analytics on a Facebook Fan page, I could not help but to be stuck by a certain analogy if you will.

There is No Web Traffic Outside of Facebook

I was, and still am, feeling rather frustrated because it seems, even with Google Analytics installed, that one cannot see where traffic comes from before it hits Facebook. It seems like Facebook, by whatever internal mechanism that they have, cares about nothing outside the web except Facebook and traffic, no matter where it was before one lands on a Facebook Fan page, simply did not exist until it got to Facebook.

Was it Twitter that sent one to a Facebook page? Who knows! Was it an email that said “come be our Fan on Facebook? Maybe.  Did they use the Fan box that has been installed on a blog to quickly get over to the Fan page?  I have no idea. Not even Google analytics can coax this information out of the great walled garden.  >Poof!< traffic magically begins at Facebook’s doors!

Traffic After Facebook

What happens after a reader is on Facebook can be measured. Google Analytics for a non Facebook page does report traffic coming from Facebook to a website and can help support the  goodness that is Facebook marketing efforts, but the favor is not extended.

As I searched about in GA looking for shreds of info and finding none, I could not resist the urge to make some strong parallels between Facebook and current adoption practices in the country. It was so obvious to me, it was like being struck in the head by a two by four. And since both Facebook and Adoption issues are two of the many things that I really do think about every day, I just had to share.

Understanding Adoption and Sealed Records as it Relates to Facebook

For this to make sense at all, one first must understand certain things about current adoption laws and legislation in the US especially as it relates to birth certificates. The birth certificate, as we all pretty much know, is the legal documentarian of one’s identity certifying where, when and to whom a person is born to. When a person is adopted, in all but 6 states of the US, the original birth certificate (OBC) gets sealed upon the finalization of the child’s adoption.  At that point, a new birth certificate gets issued that now names the adoptive parents as the parents of birth.

What happened before the legal adoption, is, by legal standards, nonexistent, and no matter what reasons one might have for finding out about life before the adoption sealing, (like life of death needs for medical information) it, 99.9% of the time, does not happen. What sealing of the adoption records does do, however, is not allow an adoptee to acknowledge where they came from before they were adopted. >Poof!< Life magically begins at adoption.

Both Adoption and Facebook Hide what Comes Before

So both institutions really do almost pretend that there is nothing that happens before their own existence and for both Facebook and Adoption that causes problems.

Hiding Identity of Traffic 

Facebook Won’t Let You Know Where Their Traffic Comes Form: If one is promoting a Facebook Fan page, it would be really good to know what is driving that traffic there, but you can’t. Goodness knows it gets difficult to not only support one’s social efforts, but to even measure one’s success with social marketing if you can’t see what’s working and what efforts are not worth a client’s budget.

Adoption Won’t Let You Know Where Your Genes Come Form: Medical information gets passed down based on biological ties and genetics, but that relationship is severed by adoption and often is not passed on. The person’s who hold that information is named on the OBC, but that information is sealed and therefore cannot be found. Even if you have a real need for that knowledge, it’s really, really hard to search for someone, even on Facebook, if you don’t know their name. The OBC is often the only record of the name is on the OBC. For many adopted persons the need to know their true heritage, their medical information and their own personal stories are not allowed because they cannot have access to their OBC’s. 

Protecting Who?

Facebook is sealed off from the rest of the internet for the privacy of their users. The badness of the rest of the dirty internet might sully them in some way and steal pictures of their kids to use for ads..(oh wait that happened ON Facebook!). Adoption claims to seal off the OBC to protect the birthmothers who relinquished who have “assumed promises of confidentiality” and from adopted kids from being called “bastards”. In truth, the true privacy of Facebook is debatable and the walls are slowly being punched through, birthmothers never could be promised true anonymity and many adoptees delight in calling each other Bastards. 

For me, I’m going to find fault with both Facebook and Adoption on this issue. I dislike false protection that seems to really have ulterior motives and I am a big proponent of the truth. I would rather have real information even if it is not pretty, or makes one feel emotional uncomfortable or shows that traffic patterns are not as high as one might like. After all, it’s impossible to fix things or make them better if you have no idea what the real facts are. 

Facebook and Adoption are both making the same mistake by thinking that nothing matters before then.. and it is only what happens to people/traffic after their interference that makes it worthwhile.  I find this insulting for both the human beings and the traffic that this affects. Both I, as a marketer, and all my adopted friends, have a right to know where they came from.

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