My blog posting has been quite light, and maybe a little unfocused. The past year or so I've put a lot more attention into facebook. Through 2011 I was largely off of the site, because it became too all-consuming. I returned in an effort to use it as a marketing tool for my business. When Hurricane Sandy hit, it becomes a way to quickly give information to a large group of people at one time. After Sandy, it served as a way to keep in touch with people I missed in Brooklyn, and to be part of a social scene as I adjusted to rural life.
Now I find myself needing to disengage again. My internet attention can only be stretched in so many directions. The more time on facebook, the less time blogging and being connected in a more thoughtful, purposeful way. When you're on facebook everything is brought to you. It's a more passive way to use the internet, and I find it difficult to get people to click off of it.
Before owning a smartphone I created posts on my blog, then created links on facebook to those posts. I got a few click-throughs but readers never seemed to stick around, post comments or become regular readers of the blog. I was using both my digital SLR and my pocket camera, and I envied people who had the technology that allowed them to do immediate posting. Now that I own a smartphone I see how much of a double-edged sword that can be.
While recovering from Sandy I felt the need to vent my frustration and convey how difficult things were, and facebook was the perfect forum for that. But at the same time, I still felt like I wasn't reaching people enough. On facebook everyone's talking all at once. Whether people own a business or not, they are posting things that are relevant and important to them. It's no secret that a lot of that stuff can get silly and annoying. It can be hard to break through the noise.
Encouraged by a couple of sales we made that were the result of FB posts I did over the summer, I decided to pursue using it once again as a marketing tool. Now equipped with a smartphone, I started to develop a following for my photography and the subject matter I was covering, which was my life. I decided to extend the posts to those promoting our website as I sought to build some holiday business. As I posted new products to our online store, FB posts followed. Instead of them being links to my blog posts, they were now their own entities, with photos formatted for pocket devices. I posted steadily through the fall and I thought I had it down. But poof, no sales resulted from my efforts. Around the second week of December I stopped altogether, as I witnessed and observed all the noise filtering by, knowing I didn't stand a chance to break through.
Here is another problem with facebook. The friends you have are your friends for a reason. The people you see regularly, talk on the phone with, send emails to- those are the people you have determined are worth your attention. It all happens in such a natural way that we barely notice how effortless it is. facebook, on the other hand, feels forced. Upon deciding that I wanted to ramp up my involvement on the site, I sought to add more friends. I figured that if I wanted people to *like* my Everbrite Mercantile co. page, I should *friend* more people and then invite them to *like* my page. And I guess adding more friends isn't that hard if you actually like a lot of people. But I'm pretty particular. A few years ago, when I was on a previous bend to add more friends, I accepted requests from people I knew in high school. Only I didn't really know them and I wasn't really ever friends with them. Before quitting in 2011 I had *unfriended* all the people I didn't really know. So here I am back on the site in 2012 and looking to add more people. It wasn't so easy for me. I did manage to add a few and some nice friendships came out of it. It was mostly people I knew from elementary school, which would make sense, since I had a miserable time in high school. But I have to say, as much as I liked interacting with certain people, the whole effort seems not to be worth it. If the friendships are important enough to maintain, emails and phone numbers will be exchanged. People will make an effort to look for me on the web, outside of facebook.
The overarching behavioral trait on facebook is conformity. Nothing can be said without everyone listening at once. So there will be group opinions on what is said or posted. Somehow that limits the freedom we have to say what we want. You have to watch yourself. No one wants to offend their friends or get in an argument. I made that mistake once. So you end up being more careful. And personally, I think that sucks.
And one more thing: some friends will try to guilt you into staying, because they are the kind of people who never leave facebook!
So adieu, all-consuming social media.