I have read some recent blog posts by people who are disillusioned and bored with Facebook. One blogger insisted people are obsessed with Facebook. Yeah, so? People get obsessed with just about anything.
Some bloggers are unfriending a lot of people and others are even deleting their Facebook Profiles.
I am baffled by this. Other than the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is a dictator who thinks he knows what we want and what is best for our businesses, I love Facebook!
In his recent post Unfriending My Facebook Friends, Ari Herzog asks people to consider that they might be following the wrong people if they think Facebook is a waste of time. Ari also states that “Facebook has a tendency to remain static.” I think I understand what he’s trying to say, but Facebook is far from static. It is literally not static as a platform since they keep changing the format and how users can interact. And if one’s Facebook experience is static than that is about the user, not Facebook. I do agree that perhaps some are following the wrong people. If your FB friends bore or annoy you, then you might want to consider unfriending or “hiding” them.
Facebook can be an interesting mirror of our lives. If you are bored with your FB friends, you might want to branch out into new offline circles – get out into the world and meet some new people who interest you. Then if you choose, you can friend those people on FB and you might just find them engaging, inspiring and funnier than you could imagine!
Don’t blame Facebook for what’s lacking in your life. Facebook is nothing more than a venue. It’s essentially a blank slate that allows you to add whatever you want. You are the artist and Facebook is the canvas. What will you paint? Will you follow your heart and your interests? Will you choose from your palette the things that will bring meaningful sharing, connection, valuable information, education, humor, and joy? Or will you paint a picture that is not true to yourself, but is bloated with “stuff” from others that is of no interest to you?
You are at the helm. It’s your ship to sail.
So why might someone “friend” anther person on FB whom they later delete? I imagine there are many possible reasons. Just as offline we ebb and flow in our relationships. Sometimes we disengage with friends – either temporarily or forever. That’s the flow of life.
I have unfriended only one FB Friend in almost 3 years. I hide others for periods of time if their posts are not aligned with the experience I want to have. But those issues are a minor part of my FB experience.
Each user decides the parameters of their own FB policy. It might be thought out in advance, or implemented inconsistently depending on one’s mood or the behavior of others. It doesn’t have to be formal, but it can be helpful to reflect on why you friend people, why you won’t friend someone, and what will make you unfriend someone. Follow your guidelines and reevaluate them from time to time so that they are in line with your current desired experience.
Maybe FB is not for you. Maybe online engagement has no place in the design of your life. That’s fine. Send your energy in directions that fulfill you.
Even though I have a Facebook Business Page, I consider my Personal Profile part of my business presence as well. I don’t directly promote my business on my Personal Profile as it is against the FB terms of service. I certainly don’t keep it a secret that I am a social media marketing consultant and web designer – I talk about my work on my Personal Profile so that people know that about me, but I don’t pitch my services directly.
On a personal level I get great value from Facebook and have had profound experiences because of it.
So, what’s so special about Facebook?
First let me clarify that there is nothing special about “Facebook” itself. It happens to be the venue that most people use (for now) and therefore is my current choice for social networking.
Online social connection is what is special.
Here’s how I use Facebook for social connection:
- to keep up with the activities of my nieces (the reason I originally got on FB!)
- to stay in touch with my friends even when I am very busy with my work
- to feel a thread of connection to the world while working alone all day
- to express myself with humor
- to share my perspective on world events and life in general
- to share my creative work
- to enjoy, support and promote the creative work of others
- to use (as one way) to get to know my friends and their families more deeply
- to connect with people I want to get to know personally and professionally (these are people I’ve met and getting to know them might not otherwise happen or could take years)
- to reconnect with long lost cousins (and other extended family)
- to reconnect with friends after many years (which would likely not have happened otherwise)
- to receive news updates on a variety of topics (from News Pages that I have “Liked”)
- to stay connected with my local community news and events (from local Pages or posts of local friends)
- to learn about fascinating things
- to be alerted and invited to events of interest
- to have my day brightened by humor exchanges
- to keep up with political issues
- to connect friends who share values (they find each other on comment lists and friend each other)
- to make business connections and facilitate the connection of others
- to post a video I shot of the celebration of a dying friend, to share with loved ones unable to attend and as an inspiration to those who don’t know her. It doesn’t get any better than that! (see the photo at the top that shows the conversation and connection that happened yesterday)
My last point is reason enough to participate in a social network like Facebook. It is an example of how technology and so-called non-intimate platforms can be used to share a profound experience or event with a community of people, and to give those people the opportunity to respond.
Now, I don’t pretend or want to be best buddies with all my FB connections. And I know they feel the same about me. That’s not what it’s about for me. I have a unique relationship with each of my FB Friends…just like in “real life” offline. For me FB is real life also. It’s just different. To assume it would be the same as my face-to-face time with people would be ridiculous. It enhances and facilitates my in-person social life.
I don’t care if many of my FB friends never call me and only wish me Happy Birthday once a year. I don’t care if they ever post an update or comment on one of mine. I’d love to read posts from the silent ones and find out more about who they are. But I don’t expect anything specific of them (or them of me) because that is the level of connection we have – I may see them around town, or at a party or never at all. I still choose to maintain a connection with them on FB. Of course I have no capacity to be in close touch with 262 people! That’s not the purpose of most of those connections – at least not for me.
The funny thing is that I run into acquaintances who are my FB friends all the time, who tell me how much they enjoy my posts. There are tons of people who read their friend’s posts but never post or comment themselves. I scratch my head on this, but they have their reasons which I fully respect. My sense is that it’s mostly shyness. Or maybe that they are not fully familiar or comfortable yet with the format.
And as you can see from the number I mentioned above, I don’t have a zillion FB Friends. Perhaps too many “Friends” is the issue for those other bloggers? It seems that many of the social media early adopters had an “open-door” policy on their FB Personal Profile and they are now re-thinking and deciding to unfriend the people they don’t know or will try to transfer them over to their Facebook Business Page (where they probably belong).
That’s fair enough and makes perfect sense. And it’s a reminder to those of you who are just starting to use social media:
- Don’t jump in too quickly
- Learn about each venue by listening first
- Create a policy for yourself (and one for your company when using social media for business marketing)
- Reevaluate and make changes on a regular basis
Social networking is still in its infancy. Navigating and managing new media is a process and has a learning curve both technically and interactively. Each person will find out if it is useful for them and how it is useful. And that will evolve for them and for all of us.
What’s your policy for your Facebook Personal Profile?
Please comment below. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and experiences.
And if we haven’t met and you want to connect on Facebook, you can do that here at my Creative Factory. (it’s an out-of-the-ordinary “Business” Page – I think you will like it!)