Monday, August 25, 2014

The Facebook Dilemma

I joined Facebook back in 2005.  I was in college and, at the time, Facebook was only available to college students.  Even then it felt somewhat overwhelming.  About the same time, several of my friends also joined Facebook.  At that point, Facebook was a lot more fun and we tended to browse communally, plus it helped me keep in touch with friends during breaks from school.
Before too long Facebook started changing and then becoming more and more public.  Facebook became a different beast all together when you added your parents and younger kids into the mix.  Now with all the ads and following and hiding profiles and blocking people and unfriending and privacy concerns, it's enough to make anybody's head spin.

I still check Facebook a lot, partly out of habit, mostly to check up on blog-related things.  I like that it helps me run this blog, keep in touch with long-distance friends and family, and even cultivate new friendships with friends of friends.  I do not like the negativity and randomness that spews out of my News Feed on a regular basis.  While I have some amount of control over that, I can't control what status updates people need or want to share.  And as lovely as all my friends are, I don't expect them (or me) to be optimistic 100% of the time.  That's not realistic.

I often find myself thinking of how to handle my Facebook dilemma.  I can't just stop using it (although I have been tempted to purge all of my devices).  I have already scaled back my interactions; most of what I post is automatically uploaded from Instagram, I tend to write a status, decide it isn't really necessary and cancel the post altogether, and I rarely follow any links.  This post, I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks.  Here's How It Changed My View of Humanity, recently popped up on my News Feed and I am intrigued. A lot of my frustration with Facebook is primarily linked to a lack of actual communication.  Too many Likes, not enough sincerity.

"Give the Like a rest and see what happens. Choose to comment with words. Watch how your feed changes. I haven’t used the Like on Facebook since August 1st, and the changes in my feed have been so notably positive that I won’t be liking anything in the foreseeable future."

I've decided to go ahead and test this out.  I will stop "liking" things on Facebook.  I'm hoping this will result in a more positive News Feed and a more personal  and loving one.  If I can turn Facebook into a method of sincere communication instead of just feeling bombarded by information I'm not actually interested in, then maybe it will start being more of a benefit and less of a burden.

Have any of you scaled back on social media?  How has it turned out for you? 

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