Originally published on medium.
You’ve heard it all before. Someone swears off Facebook (for Lent or whatever) and then returns and writes a story about why. It’s happening to me too. What I’ve noticed is more about what’s missing from the experience, 4 years removed.
A friend from back home emailed me today. Not the email where she says “tell me all about New Zealand and your life there”. She went in-depth about her new job and what makes it so special to her. She was telling it directly to me. Not to all her Facebook Friends or not in some short chat on the Messenger app. She went in. It’s not something I could have gotten on Facebook.
I elected to delete my Facebook 4 years ago after a breakup. My privacy became everyone’s interest and it was too much for me at the time. I adopted Twitter and couldn’t handle managing several social media accounts at once. I’d since tested the waters on Facebook and quickly found myself unable to handle the overwhelming changes and tendencies to stalk so they were always deleted within a day. Only recently, upon moving to a new city, did I realize I kind of needed it. I needed a personal page in order to make a Page on Facebook to promote a bike club I founded.
Since then I’ve found some pretty neat events, gotten advice or help on an issue, and shared a laugh with people I haven’t spoken to in months. Facebook doesn’t like it when you don’t have many friends so I’m constantly rejecting it’s ways. Tips on how to use it are coming from all around. A different friend recommended I don’t click on sponsored links. Then someone told me to go through my Settings if I wanted privacy in any way. Honestly, I don’t care. I jumped in and I’m swimming with caution.
I’m working under the assumption that I only know surface-level information about my “friends”. I make an effort to email details to those I care about and connect on a deeper level. Marketing-wise, this could be very much in my favor but I need to mix it up with personal and professional things so as not to bombard “friends” with things I need.
I don’t dare say I know how to use Facebook properly. It’s a lot different than when I used it last (they hadn’t yet introduced Cover Photos!) and I’m always asking for tips or hints. Even on the mobile app, I often get frustrated trying to decipher the difference between a Page, Friend, or Group. I’m also not afraid to reject a friend request or hurt someone’s Facebook feelings in the event I think it just doesn’t make sense for us to be connected. I use it one way, others use it another and we just have to deal with it.