I began this blog thinking I’d write about writing. That lasted for roughly three posts, but the lessons I’d internalized about “building a platform” stuck with me. I had to be more places online! I had to build my brand! I had to be on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and forums so people would know me as their personal closet monster!
When I started my blog’s Facebook page, Facebook had pretty lax rules about who saw what. If someone had liked my page, they saw my posts. This meant I had a really great, active community on Facebook. Eventually, the strategic thinkers of Facebook realized that they were giving away space in members’ newsfeeds. They started limiting who saw what. They offered the option to promote a given post and thus expand its reach to more of the folks who had liked a page. Text posts got the most exposure, followed by pictures, followed distantly by blog links. If a post took a user off Facebook and away from its advertising revenue, Facebook was not a fan.
I deactivated my Facebook account for six months. It felt fantastic. And yet, I came back, and fell into old patterns of trying tricks to get my posts into more feeds.
I’m done, for the reasons I expressed here. In short:
I will endeavor to emphasize things in my life that bring joy, and limit those things that don’t. The latter category includes Facebook. I’m grateful for the connections it’s allowed me to make and sustain, and that will forever be the case. But fondness for things already transpired is no reason to continue sinking more and more time present and future into scheming around someone else’s algorithms.
As my husband snores to Despicable Me 2 with my son this morning, I’ve taken a little time to look back on my relationship with Facebook. We had some good times. We had some great conversations outside all the game playing.
I’m sharing some of those moments here, the better to ease the transition from one site relationship to this friendlier, less restrictive one.
December 21, 2013
Writing an email to an online friend a moment ago, it struck me that I’ve had one friend for twenty years. TWENTY.
We first started chatting on local bulletin boards, deciding to meet up after a month or so of exchanging messages. His dad found it extremely weird how our friendship had begun, but regardless of its beginnings, it was real.
Over twenty years, we’ve fallen in and out of touch, but he’s always remained a true friend. He visited me in Japan. We dated. When my mom was dying, he flew down to L.A. and drove me and my son up to Eugene; he and Anthony hit it off famously, so that our long drive began with the two of them exchanging hugs and Anthony bidding him, “Take care of my family.” Read more…
Alarms boomed and vibrated around me. I locked eyes with colleagues, each apparently as bemused as me. What on earth was happening? This wasn’t like any fire drill.
Having just read an alien invasion story, a tiny part of me decided that aliens were the culprit. We’d soon be incinerated, at least if we didn’t get under our desks quickly enough. (Desks have protective force fields, right?)
After a few moments, we collectively realized the alarms were coming from our phones. Everyone on a particular cellular network had received an AMBER Alert warning of a child abduction in the vicinity. This discovery led to awed, joyful exclamations over the good technology is capable of working.
I’ll be honest. For all the time I spend online, I’m wary of technology. It’s easy for me to see all its pains and pitfalls, and to agree with my mom’s sentiment on the matter: Read more…
Using my keen graphic design skills, I illustrated my departure from Facebook six weeks ago with a couple of Crayon masterpieces (Crayon mathematics: Bambi v. Sauron and “necessary evil”).
Unfortunately, I used the word “mathematics” in the title, which is a surefire way to get people not to read a blog, no matter how stunning its graphics. I might as well have titled the post: “Tempted to open this? This blog will eat you, and your children, too!” Read more…
I’ve just gotta think of one thing to say, I told myself. Just gotta get it out of the way so I can get on to doing things I enjoy.
My fingers were poised to type, but my brain was firing blanks.
Being on Facebook is like work, but less fun.
My fingers remained still.
Just a necessary evil.
“Wait, what?” I said aloud to my last thought, because talking to oneself is always a good thing. “‘Necessary evil’? Since when did Facebook become ‘necessary’?”
I contemplated the question of necessity. I’d once started a Facebook page because I’d been told it was an important part of maintaining an authorial presence online. My page had grown to 9,500 likers, which was awesome, but most of those lovely likers ignored my blogs, which was less awesome. I came to feel like I was selling same-day ballet tickets outside a football game.
All of which got me asking myself to define “necessary.” I didn’t so much land on a word definition as a graphic representation:
I realized Facebook fell much, much closer to the Star Wars prequels end of the necessity spectrum for me. Read more…
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