Sigh… I’ve been wrong about Facebook 1.5 times so far. The first time, with the advent of Google+, I predicted that a social network that begins with circles would triumph over one that seeks to make everything you say or do available to all of humanity. I said Google+ would kill Facebook.
Yes I did.
While Facebook continues to do everything it can to drive people away, and some reports hold that as the Olds gather the younger folks are moving on – I think it can safely be said that whatever kills Facebook, it will not be the astonishing success of G+ anytime soon.
The second time, a little over a year ago now, was when I left. Never to return. I resented the time sink it had become, and the interactions with strangers that had an intensity and anger they would never exhibit in person. I hope. If I got into frequent angry confrontations at my local pub, at some point I would stop going into that establishment.
I would engage with a friend on a topic, and find myself confronting suddenly the person’s drunk uncle (how is druncle not a word?) accusing me of furthering a socialist plot to destroy America. And I spent far too much time engaging these trolls.
Seriously, druncle. This should be a word.
I left, with a flourish, around New Year’s 2013. To be honest, I did not miss Facebook. At all. What I missed was a cousin’s health challenge, which was announced and discussed only on Facebook. What I missed were grief-laden notes posted to a friend’s page who died suddenly last Fall. I realized then I was missing important updates about people close to me – or perhaps more to the point, people who were not close enough for me to learn these updates any other way.
There is a circle (pardon me) of people about whom I care – but with whom I do not interact on a frequent enough basis to be on their notification list. With Facebook, people have apparently found that announcing updates to their lives on their page means a “notification” list is unnecessary.
If tragedy or bliss strikes your life, it is just easier to post a quick note to your Wall, and let the word spread. In leaving Facebook, at least for my network, I had departed the commons.
So I am back. But I have a much smaller friend list so far. And I am, primarily, lurking. I only have the iPad app, and it does not draw my time as it once did (writing this blog is the most I’ve thought about Facebook in over a year). I do not post updates nor food porn nor do I engage in political conversations as I did before. This is not where I live, it’s where I go to learn about my family and some friends. I’ll check in once or twice a day, for a few minutes. My profile remains sparse, I don’t “like” corporations, and my profile picture is a photo of two of my three children. The other one hasn’t noticed yet.
Exception – One conservative brother-in-law manages to get under my skin on occasion, and we poke at each other almost as sport. When a friend of his barged into one conversation with a familiar refrain, though, I just blocked the gentleman. I’ve learned that much.
I don’t miss Facebook, and now I don’t have to miss family news. I am planning to hit an age more closely associated with a speed limit this year, and I sense more of these updates will begin to appear across my network.
So Facebook – it was still mostly you. But it was also a lot me. Let’s just be acquaintances.
I am following your lead as well. FB seems best for keeping up with family and close friends (and planning family reunions). I’m posting less, commenting less, and logging in less. As FB wants to push more ads my way, I’m less and less inclined to visit.
I’m counting on Google+ to not be a FB replacement. I actually spend more time there, mostly because it gives me outlooks from people that I am not necessarily close to. In the communities I frequent, I enjoy grown-ups talking to each other; not so many druncles.