I started this blog a couple of weeks ago – about the same time as my last Facebook login. While I was there I mentioned that I would likely be doing writing here and not posting to Facebook anymore. Savvy friends suggested I set up WordPress to automatically share posts to Facebook. It was a brilliant idea and helped get things started here. But over the past couple of days I noticed my referrals from Facebook were dropping and were almost zero today. I suspect Facebook caught on to me – that I was only using them.
And so, today, after over a week without having logged in to Facebook and only logging in once a week for the previous three weeks, I briefly stopped my Facebook break to log in today. I read a few messages that I missed, and then deactivated the account.
At first I was a bit indignant. First at Facebook – how dare they censor me? (Easy, it’s their platform, their rules.) Then I was a bit annoyed that unlike last time I had an active blog, friends didn’t just go check it out – you now need a whole friend social media engagement plan to ensure that friends know what you’re up to and remember you’re around.
And then I remembered yesterday’s post about discomfort. Change things up as much as this and you’ll find yourself in a place where you don’t know the rules and things need to recalibrate.
In pre-Facebook days we also had a “social media engagement plan” – we called it email and telephones. We wrote to people, set up times to meet and then did it. And so, recalibration means continuing to ramp up connecting that way. Last time I regularly wrote, most of my friends didn’t read it. They didn’t need to: they’d stop by, email me, write a letter, or give me a call. (Well, at least those times we had a phone!). People who read blogs read it. And building that audience takes time – and that is slowly happening.
Meanwhile, interesting things have happened in my life thanks to not being on Facebook:
As I said before, I am emailing and getting together with people more often and enjoy both tremendously. Though I have called myself an introvert for decades, I am starting to wonder if I’m just an extrovert who just needs to figure out how to make social situations work better for me.
And speaking of that, the most welcome aspect of not livestreaming my life to all of my friends is how much better I feel when I actually hang out with people in person. Being connected all the time to others means that I have a pretty good idea about most everything that my friends are doing and thinking. Likewise, people who follow me online know every little thing that’s popped in to my head in recent history. Had I been asked about that I’d have said I really liked it. I was able to be social in a way that felt less awkward. But now have me run in to one of my friends somewhere in the real world. Guess what: They know everything about me, and I know about them. All of the usual catching up one does when seeing a friend you haven’t seen in a while goes out the window. You start to tell a story about what happened only to find that they heard about it and maybe you even forgot that they commented on it. And so, there I am feeling even more awkward than I would’ve felt had I not had those delightfully comfortable online interactions earlier in the week.
And so, as I’m getting together with friends, instead of answering the “What’s new with you” with a bunch of reruns from their Facebook feed, I actually tell them things they haven’t heard. And instead of hearing the audio version of the status messages I read and commented on before I’m hearing news that is new and exciting to me. I’ve seen. This has happened repeatedly over the past few weeks and I really like it.
Recalibration will take time as I figure out things like this but at the same time, it’s proving a very interesting exploration as well. I’m excited to see where it leads…