Kicking the Social Media Habit (at least one of them)
It’s been a while since I did a blog post, lots of stuff going on, but Facebook is top of mind. Or should I say ‘bottom of mind’. I have had a love hate relationship with Facebook for the better part of the last two years. I could write a novel about what it’s like to interact with Facebook as a marketer, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my relationship with Facebook as a user.
As the world’s largest social network Facebook gets a lot of press. There was a recent article in Business Insider that talked about how Facebook was being crushed under its own weight. The basic premise is that Facebook wants more sharing and more connections but as more connections are made and more items are shared it becomes impossible for a user to consumer everything. That’s where Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm comes in. It takes your behavior on Facebook and predicts what it should show you. The problem is that the algorithm sucks. How do I know this? My wife’s posts don’t show up in my feed. I am mostly a lurker and a creater on Facebook, I don’t engage often. And because I don’t engage, or post on my wife’s wall or any of the other things Edgerank wants me to do, I don’t see her posts.
Over the last couple of years I’ve waxed and waned on how frequently I use Facebook. Do I friend everyone and comment on everything? Do I limit to people I speak with on a frequent basis? How do I decide whose friend requests I’ll accept? Currently, I delete ‘friends’ anytime their birthday comes around and I don’t feel compelled to wish them a happy birthday. After all, if I can’t be bothered to take the time out of my day to write ‘hbd’ on someone’s wall are they really my friend?
What about the conversations that take place on Facebook? My brother would argue that social media gives a megaphone to the uneducated and uninformed in a way like never before seen. If you are wondering what he’s talking about take a look at the comments section on any Yahoo! or CNN story, you’ll get it. The counter-argument to this is that social media has allowed more sharing of informed and well educated opinion. The problem is the average person doesn’t know the difference and this can cause confusion and arguments. People are more willing to say things on Facebook than they would in person. I’ve lost friends over Facebook arguments, how stupid.
The time spent on social media is incredible and eats into real life. I spend all day on social sites for my job and then I come home and check social and continue personal use. This leads to a lot of ‘phone checking at the dinner table’ behavior that just isn’t good for living in the moment. That’s why I decided to delete the Facebook app from my phone. Facebook is addicting, no doubt about it. I would check my Facebook app 10-15 times a night just to see that little red icon showing I had a new alert. So I cut the cord (much like I did with cable, blog post on that coming soon) and the results have been astounding. The first things I’ve noticed is that I don’t grab for my phone often anymore, it stays in my pocket. Not only that but when I do open my computer and see Facebook I’ve noticed that I have so many notifications that I just don’t even check them. I don’t really respond to people who write to me, I don’t care who liked my post. Frankly, I’m free.
I may never be able to get rid of Facebook entirely because my job requires that I understand how it works, what the updates are and how people use it. But for now, at least I can say that it doesn’t rule my life anymore. And I can actually say I really don’t like Facebook, I didn’t like what it did to me, I don’t like how it allows people to behave, it’s uninteresting, uninformative, and a waste of my time. Sure, I’ll be there, and I’ll chat with you and I’ll share foursquare check-ins, or Instagrams, or the occasional interesting article, but for the most part you can find me on Twitter…my next social media addiction.
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