Saturday, 1 March 2014

The End of Facebookuary!

So I've turned Facebook on again - Hi to e-Veryone reading this! Hope you've all had an awesome February. I must say, I'm not all that excited about being back on, but definitely keen to see some pics of what you've been up to.  My original goal was to catch up with peeps in the real world.  I did a bit of that, made some overdue calls and so on, but was a little distracted with work & my daughter's health. Needless to say, social networking in the Facebook sense is good for times like the above mentioned, if only for convenience when time is scarce.  Either way, I still find that it is a distraction, so I made some changes...

The biggest change - I deleted A LOT of people from my friends list, down from around 300 to only 30. Not because I don't like them, not at all, but because I only want to interact with family and other people quite close/important to me.  In saying that, I think I may have gone overboard as Facebook doesn't make it easy to remove friends, in fact, I KNOW I have accidentally removed a number of people I wanted to remain connected to.  Whether that is a browser error or a FB error, I don't know.  It would have been easier to just have all people in a list with a check box & a delete button (just like deleting your emails!). But, that's how FB grows, by overwhelming suggestions of possible connections, hobbies & interests.  Of course they would not make it easy to remove connections!

Throughout Feb I spent about the same amount of time on google+ as I normally do.  Checking in for updates maybe 2 to 3 times a day. A few shares & posts here and there.  Great interactions with people I share interests with (gaming, tech & vinyl to begin with).  These are mostly random people with great ideas & opinions.  Perfect for a quick snapshot on what is happening around the world in terms of things I'm passionate about.

For some reason the pace has been picking up on LinkedIn.  Colleagues, former & current, have been adding me & endorsing my skills.  I've never really spent much time on this site but I can see it's worth.  Great for professional recommendations, networking and probably also perfect for when you're on the job hunt!  I've heard a few stories of people being poached by other companies because of their LinkedIn profile.  Interesting.  Glad I'm happy where I am.

I've never really been a fan of the other big networking sites.  I understand Twitter, but it never really grabbed me as true social networking, more a public SMS forum. Does that even make sense??  I also found that following the same people/companies on google+ were easier to interact with, in that I had better interactions because real people with real names were talking.

All in all, going forward I'm going use g+ to interact with people who share similar interests to me, LinkedIn (and Salesforce Chatter) for professional interactions & Facebook for family & close friends.  I think the only thing left for me to work out now is how to adjust all of my Facebook privacy settings again...

Friday, 7 February 2014

Facebookuary 2014

So its been 9 days since I disabled my Facebook account. 9 of 30. The first few days were worse than quitting smoking. OK maybe that's a little extreme, but when you're in the habit of logging in every hour or so for a snapshot of people's lives the urge to do so doesn't disappear immediately.
Curiosity is also beckoning factor. But what's stopping us from picking up the phone for a voice conversation or teeing up a hangout in real life? Well, nothing but our own willingness to do so. In the 9 days I've been away from Facebook I've hung out with the same people and spoken to family a little more. Not to the extent I thought I might have, however, its only me stopping me from initiating the contact... so from this weekend, I'll make a highly conscious effort to reach out... Here goes!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

My Amazing Social Media Realisation

Last year brought a number of realisations, however, the most critical one for me was quite personal.

People, Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Avoidances + Social Media, namely, Facebook.

To start with, I have an old school mate, we chat maybe a few times a year.  It's difficult to catch up & we are both aware of this, even though we could try a little harder, having a kid changes everything.  The horrible thing is that his son, who was only a few months older than my 11 month old daughter at the time, passed away in his sleep.  It was horrendous, heart-breaking & an experience that I will definitely share at a later time.  The realisation for me, post his passing and even more so after my mate's speech at his son's funeral, was that we are so engulfed in witnessing each other's lives via Facebook that, in so many cases, we see it as sharing in someone's life.  The truth is, it is not.  What it is though, is the illusion that you are enjoying a moment with a person.  You are approving or disapproving of the happenings in their life.  You are a witness, a viewer, a number.  And, should you happen to actually catch up with that person, in person, what's there to say? "Wait, I know this story, I saw you post it on Facebook, funny yes, hmmmm, now what?"

I made a statement a few weeks after the above happened that I would be taking a break from Facebook.  My intention being that I would increase quality time with the people I care about and to remove distractions while at work and when having quality time with my partner & daughter.  Yeah, I posted a couple of things here and there but nowhere near the daily quantity I was previously.  I turned off notifications and logged in maybe once or twice a day.  My productivity was through the roof, but, the overall outcome based on the increase in quality time spent was not what I was expecting.  It was and still is almost sad actually.  Either it is a reflection of what I have become due to the obsessive nature of social media or what we have all become Or maybe it is what I have always been - ie. my first post about knowing myself - I doubt that though, as I do not recall ever feeling so isolated before.

So, I'm going to go with what social media (Facebook) has made us.

I'm going to highlight something that was very important to me...

There are times in everyone's life where an experience or moment shared passes in a flash and can be missed while you're off doing other things. For example, firsts. A birth, a birthday, a graduation, a celebration; pretty much anything up to and including death.  If missed, obviously, this moment can not be experienced again. They are a one-off, singular occurrence. A first smile, first laugh, first word, first cheeky act; each an amazing milestone.  Such as, my daughter's first birthday late last year.  It's an invitation to all the people you care about, that have had an impact in your life, to share with them your most amazing creation.  For me, the people I invited were people I felt this way about.  They were invited through many forms; paper, email, Facebook.  Whilst it was a great turn out, there were, who I thought at the time, important people missing.  Email, Text & Facebook messages received in the morning of the day of the party - not even the courtesy of sharing their lack of emotional attachment to the special day via phone call.  I was more than disappointed.  I was gutted.

The realisation was at first, that these people were arseholes.  But in reality, my conclusion was that I have been seeing these people in the wrong light.  That I was blinded by the world that Facebook had lead me to believe I was a part of, blinded by the illusion that I had shared moments with (Facebook) friends.  That I had not put any effort into being a part of these people's lives, and whether they see it the same as me or not, they had not put any effort into being a part of mine & my family's life.

I no longer have time for Facebook friendships.  I will continue to share for my family network's sake & for interstate friends of course, but other than that, it's dead to me.  I saw this today.  It's clear that Facebook's value is declining, the younger generation is realising this.  Yes there are other social media outlets, but none of them promote the same "know every little detail about my life" behaviour as Facebook does.  I use Google+ to connect with Tech and Interesting people in interesting places, I know they are not my friends & they probably never will be. I don't touch Twitter, gave it a few goes, but it never really struck me as worthwhile.

As for real friendships, if people want to be a part of my life, they know how to contact me to catch up in the real world, as do I, likewise.