On Facebook

I know I’m not the only person who is on Facebook because we have somehow become trapped in Mark Zuckerberg’s fishbowl. Now that we’re all in there together, I have become invested in being able to peek in the lives of people near and far who’s daily lives I would otherwise have no knowledge of.

I know people who have deleted their accounts or never had one in first place. I hear they lead full lives. I also know people who tried to delete it and ended up going back, feeling like they were missing out on too many personal and/or professional connections.

How I Use Facebook

However, I use Facebook as minimally as possible and I’m not in denial about the ways in which we are being exploited. Not that there’s any way to avoid it short of leaving, but I prefer to be exploited via Twitter, which is why 99.9% of everything I ‘post’ on Facebook is just tweets that have been forwarded on.

To me, Facebook is for cliff notes. If I want to ‘read the whole book’ and really catch up with someone, I call or text or email them directly. No filters. I don’t use Facebook for important personal, business or time sensitive communications.

When I really need to say something important, I try to do it in a space that I own, that is not subject to the whimsy of marketers, ads, algorithms and promoted posts. Those spaces are kronda.com (personal and social justice writing) and karveldigital.com (my business website). The things I publish on my own sites won’t disappear into some mysterious algorithm. You can search for a post and actually find it, or see everything I’ve ever written via the archives.

Facebook is Not for Connecting

Here’s a scenario that happened in the middle of writing this very post:

I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a comment from someone asking for a professional recommendation. I happened to know someone awesome who could help them. But before I could reply, I clicked something else by accident and landed on a different profile.

I went back to the main feed, but after a full 5 minutes of searching, I could not find the post again. I searched for the profile of the person I thought had posted it, but couldn’t find them.

Finally, suspecting who it might be, I went and searched my personal contacts for the person. I sent them an email asking if they were seeking a recommendation. I got a reply back in minutes saying they were, so I sent the information.

Whenever I find something of interest on Facebook, I know I have to either remember who posted it so that I can go directly to their profile to find it again, or save the link (hopefully it’s not a Facebook-only video) to something like Pocket for later review and sharing.

That is not the experience of a service that is trying to help people connect.

I don’t use the Facebook Messenger app which means any messages sent through FB can’t be read on my phone or tablet. I cannot stress this enough: if you need to reach me for any non-trivial or time-sensitive communication, I encourage you to venture outside the fishbowl and do it ‘the old fashioned’ way.

How to Find Me

If you need to reach me for personal or business reasons, here are a few ways to do it, in order of preference:

  • Text or email is checked most frequently.
  • Phone call: I tend not to answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize, but I do listen to and respond to voicemail.
  • If you don’t have my contact information, you can use the contact forms on either of my websites.
  • LinkedIn: I don’t spend a lot of time there, but I do respond to messages.

Stake Your Corner of the Internet

I also encourage you to get your own space to hold your digital ideas, even if you think no one will go to it. If you have the ability to fill out a form on the web, you can create a WordPress.com site in minutes and start publishing. Your data can be exported and imported onto your own server, should you ever want to do that. I once watched a friend move her blog from Blogger to WordPress.com in 10 minutes.

Yes, you’ll always have to go through someone to get your content on the web, but how easy is it for you to pick up your toys and leave the party? Portability matters. There are services that play nice and make it easy to move your content and those are the ones you should trust. At least you’ll own your contributions to this awesome entitiy we call the world wide web.

Facebook isn’t the world, it’s just AOL with a new skin on it.

Edited to add: The Indie web camp site is a great place to get started learning about owning your own content.

7 Comments


  1. Hi Kronda,

    I agree that Facebook is no longer a place to actually connect with people. The platform prefers to put content it wants you to see above the fold and buries anything else. Even the ability to simply see posts from your friends in chronological order is hard to do.

    However, my wife and I have recently learned of the death of a few friends through Facebook. We literally logged into Facebook and saw the death notice for each person at the top of the page. There’s no way to systematically let people know you have died so I guess Facebook is the next best solution.

    By the way, my company eliminated my position last Friday so I’m currently between successes. I’m leveraging my personal network, meeting with recruiters, and working online job boards. However, I believe you went through a similar experience and started your own company. I started an Jannua LLC last year as an umbrella company for my freelance speaking, writing, and consulting services. Until I get a set of job offers, I’m working hard to create income from my company. I never thought I would have to rely on my little LLC, but life is funny that way.

    If you have any advice for a recently laid off technologist who is freelancing while interviewing, please let me know!

    – Anjuan

    Reply

    1. Hi Anjaun,

      Thanks for visiting. I have mixed feelings about death on Facebook…I’ve checked in an discovered people’s deaths right before work meetings which is awkward. Better than never finding out I guess.

      One of the reasons I don’t quit entirely is because I do like being able to check in on people. I just needed my friends to remember that we still have the ability to communicating directly. And I don’t like giving Facebook ammunition to monetize my relationships if I don’t have to.

      Sorry about the loss of your job. Job security is kind of an oxymoron I think, but mostly people just don’t realize it. I found that life got a lot better once I was free of my job. You might be surprised. 🙂

      I checked out your site and it looks like you have a lot to offer. You might checkout what my old client Steve Holyer is doing in the Agile training space. He’s also working on a new project.

      I’ve been thinking about a round up post of all the people I’ve been learning about business from in the last couple of years. That will probably go up on my business site so you can follow me there for updates.

      Good luck!

      Reply

      1. Thanks for the response and the resources, Kronda! I have to admit that I crave the illusion of security that gainful employment can bring. However, I am also excited about the possibility of earning money from the things for which I have a great deal of passion. I’ve had paid public speaking and writing gigs, but I’ve always had to limit them due to my “real job”. However, I no longer have that constraint. So, it’s time to see how high I can fly.

        I’ll check out Steve’s site and project. I have a lot to learn, and I look forward to meeting people who have travelled the path on which I now find myself.

        I’ve added your business site to feedly. I enjoy your writing, and I look forward to keeping up with your work!

        – Anjuan

        Reply

  2. Thanks for articulating all that! I could never quite put into words why I prefer to blog and point people to it rather than send one-off posts via facebook/email/whatever.

    “When I really need to say something important, I try to do it in a space that I own”.

    Nice.

    Reply

    1. Everything old is new again. 🙂 It feels to me lately as if blogging is coming back around.

      Reply

  3. Kronda, I laughed so hard at your AOL comment, mainly because it is so true. I must admit that for years I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with long lost friends and estranged family members via FB, catching up, sharing thoughts and all that. But in the past 3 months the thrill seems to have greatly diminished.

    Quite frankly, FB is a huge distraction. It always has been (which is what I suppose I needed for a time). More importantly, posting to FB made me feel (falsely) like I no longer needed to blog, and yet I found myself moving away from writing anything with real grit.

    While I’m not ready to disconnect completely, I’ve been debating removing my FB business page for some time now and this blog conversation helped me make the final decision to pull the plug on the page and return to more direct communication with my readers and clients.

    Your writing is always, always enjoyable and enlightening! Thanks for that.

    Reply

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