My last few posts haven’t been my normal, one of “Hey, check out this cool food I make; it’s delicious!” or an explanation of a project I came up with. The reason I have deviated from my normal creative stuff is because I am taking a technology class in graduate school and some of the assignments involve blogging. So if you’re wondering… that’s why the deviation from the norm.
Social networking. UGH. Honestly, I am so tired of it. Tired of doing it, tired of everyone talking about it, tired of seeing it in every other article I read, tired of everyone living 99% of their life through social media. Do I use Facebook? Yes. Have I ever deleted it? From my phone—yes, multiple times. But it helps keep me connected to people I don’t get to see enough of in my daily life.
I’ve had an account on Facebook I believe since 2009. Again, that began as a project for a class. We were communicating in a group on Facebook. So I was on it years before most of the people I know. The more people I knew, the more time I spent on it. I began playing games that were only on Facebook. And then I was hooked. When it comes to games I can be, how shall we say… addicted? So I found a few games I liked and I was doing it constantly. This was before the phone apps. So I was constantly on my computer playing. Then I began adding hundreds of people I didn’t know, simply because the more people I friended, the more team members I could have in my games. My family in no uncertain terms, told me that I had a problem with the games. I had to quit cold turkey. So one day I deleted the hundreds of ‘friends’ that I really wasn’t friends with. Then I was down to maybe 60? Then I realized that there were still a bunch of friends on my list that I hadn’t seen or talked to in years. People I knew of in high school that wanted to friend me simply because they knew who I was from way back when. I ended up deleting them too. I figured if I haven’t made the effort to keep in touch with them since H.S. graduation, why would I care now? No disrespect to any of them, they’re all individuals with lives and families and stuff, but they just don’t intersect with mine. So I deleted them.
After deleting everyone who I wasn’t related to or actual friends with, my list was incredibly small. In a way I was jealous of everyone else who had 552 friends or 1,032 friends. Wow! They know a lot of people. No, not really. They just have a lot of names of people they don’t actually talk to. It took me a while, but I got over the idea that I felt I was lacking or missing something just because I didn’t have a massive amount of online friends.
So, how do I use Facebook today? I make funny or observational posts that I know the people in my life will see (and since many of them live with their phones constantly in their hands they see it instantly). I like organizations that I am a part of or that I believe in. The posts keep me updated on what’s happening in their lives and with the activity happening at the organizations. For example, your public library probably has a Facebook page. And on it they post notices of programs or special events, or titles of new books or movies they have available. These are things that will make a difference in my life. Also, my school. Universities have pages too. They post notices regularly about things like registration dates, closing dates and information when emergencies are happening. Here is one that came out recently, letting me know when I could start registering for the next semester.
At LinkedIn I do have an account, but I use that one strictly for my professional life. I have connections with former college classmates, and people that I have worked with in the past. I think it’s a great tool for your career to be connected with people like that. You have the opportunity to reach out to them when you have questions, or to learn about opportunities. But like Facebook, I don’t just add anyone to my network on LinkedIn just because they ask. I want to know these people. At least that I’ve met them at a meeting or conference. I think it’s fake to claim you know people when you have never met them and never talked to them, and probably never will, simply to show the world you know a lot of people. It’s not worth it.
And you know what I’ve discovered when I eliminated a lot of people from my accounts? That I actually had time to do real things, with real people. Like I said, I still use them, but nowhere near the capacity that I used to. And I am really glad I made that choice. How are you using social media? Does it consume your entire world? Or are you confident enough to delete the app and actually live life instead of liking what everyone else is doing?