My Evolution in Social Media

I have deactivated my Facebook account

On Thursday November 17th, I deactivated my Facebook account.

I had threatened to do so a few times during the 5-6 years I kept a Facebook account. Usually I threatened to do so because I was unhappy with a platform change. There were other times where I just felt like, ‘Why do I waste my time reading through these updates…Have I nothing better to do”

Ultimately, I came back to this simple fact of what Facebook was for me: It was the electronic version of the old middle school assignment where I had to first study, and then create my own ‘Newspaper’. Basically, I used my status update to give ‘you’ my so called ‘friend’ an idea of what I was doing that was interesting to me, what sort of music, events, or interesting articles I was reading. I could post photos for you, and links for you. I could talk sports and weather if I wanted, and something offered commentary on world news and politics with my own inimitable disenfranchised point of view.

When Facebook changed its layout to a Timeline, I lost that newspaper format. Facebook became a scrapbook. And that was something I thought initially of as ‘Wow, how cool this looks’… but it took a few months before it no longer had any functionality for me, and I only went there if I had to. That left me with the ‘Home’ or ‘Feed’ which now is a combination of stuff — the center column of updates, and then the ticker to the right. Okay, redundant. I spent a ton of time ‘unsubscribing’ from people’s updates. Seriously, most of my time on Facebook was doing that.

I accept some blame. I didn’t follow the Facebook paradigm about choosing friends. I liked adding people I didn’t know in addition to those I did (more on this soon) and occasionally striking GOLD! It was a cool way to meet new people, really all around the world. But in so doing I also accumulated a big pile of people who just weren’t interesting to me. At all. Which was fine until the last FB platform update. Then it was REALLY, PAINFULLY obvious.

Next, some of the groups I really sought to develop friends in were along the lines of my graduate school (University of Michigan School of Dentistry, 1984) and my interests of Running, Cycling, and Mountain Biking. Instead, I got a big dose of people from High School. Some were people I didn’t know and who I got to know, and also who I really now like. Most were people who just reminded me a) I didn’t choose to go to High School there, it was foisted upon me because of where my parents chose to live and b) I was in a big hurry to leave and head to college, with no intention of coming back… (Which I did, incidentally, gratefully)

So, the last platform change was a sudden recognition that Facebook was moving in a direction which didn’t suit my needs. I suppose there were about 50 people I had on FB I thought of as ‘ooh, let’s see what so and so is up to’ but even my favorites seemed to magically disappear at the last update. Not only that, the apps on iPhone and iPad are really glitchy and buggy. I deleted the native iPad app after 1 week. I went back to using Safari. The iPhone app was the same but smaller, and the older app was so much easier… messages, check ins, favorites, status update, feed, and photo. Simple, easy to use. Scrapped for complexity. There was also a truly concerning change – I was seeing posts between You (my friend) and your friend (a person I don’t know). I do not want to read that, and more importantly I do not want what I say to you to be posted to your friend’s ticker or timeline. I could NEVER find the security setting for that.

I am also not a gamer… So, I continually had to block applications… Invites to ‘Events’ became these stupid bulk advertisements for this and that and they were very time consuming to ‘REMOVE’… Messages… three clicks to delete a message thread (NO I DO NOT WANT MY MESSAGES ARCHIVED)…I could go on and on…

I felt like using Facebook was becoming increasingly about re-learning how to use Facebook in its new format. I have been through MANY. Some were okay, most were not welcome. The last was just as clear as a bell.

I have discovered @DailyMile and how to make @Twitter work for me. Basically, @DailyMile is a logging, tracking, motivating social site for athletes – many of whom are runners. I NEEDED this. It’s where I post my workouts, and it updates Twitter and FB (Ha!) when I post to it. My iPhone is set up as an athletic device using a wonderful app called iSmoothRun. Believe me, this is perfection. I recently said on DM… if Facebook is like High School, then DailyMile is where all the cool kids hang out.

Twitter (2 accounts @WBKlaus and @DrKRunFit) enable me to have both a (semi) Professional Twitter feed and a more personal “who I am” feed. The people I follow I do so specifically because I either appreciate what they have to offer (like interesting article links I can post to Read It Later) or simple, direct thoughts which assist me in my desire to lead a healthy life. Basically, Facebook has ‘Pokes’ which are annoyances. Twitter has Tweets, which to me are what ‘Pokes’ could have been, except I CHOOSE to get them. Twitter and DailyMile allow me to send and receive private messages, and on Twitter I can RT, save favorites, Quote and tack on, Reply to, or even follow certain hash tags which sometimes have interesting open discussion times (i.e. #runchat which is Sunday at 8pm)

And that’s the long and short of it. So far, it’s felt a lot like ‘RELIEF’… I will let you know if and when I succumb to the need to go back to FB… maybe if they update the platform and simplify the heck out of it. Thanks for reading!

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5 thoughts on “My Evolution in Social Media

  1. Well said, Bill. I found your nice blog on DM.

    I absolutely agree with “I felt like using Facebook was becoming increasingly about re-learning how to use Facebook in its new format”. The ever-changing layout and functionality of Facebook can be quite confusing – and I consider myself web-savvy, relatively speaking. It takes forever just to turn off something new, whenever FB implements a new feature without my consent every 2 weeks (I can’t do a thing because it’s free!). Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of leaving a platform where I can keep in touch with some old friends or relatives. As shallow and impersonal as FB can be, it’s still one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with the majority of the people I know (except you now, of course) – simply because EVERYONE is on it. It is this dichotomy that leaves me feeling nostalgic about how things used to be more organic and simpler, prior to the advent of social media.

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  2. I’m finding it increasingly hard to follow Facebook too but cannot delete my profile account since I have a Fitness page, connections with business and fitness folks and other pages that I want to keep. But it is so hard to sift through everything and only see what I truly want to see! I still like that I can message people in more than 140 characters of fb too. Sometimes it is hard to Direct message people on twitter because I don’t have enough characters & end up will multiple DMs.

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  3. UPDATE: While clicking on an embedded link in a Tweet, I found I was looking (in ‘tiny size’) at someones facebook page. Later that day I found an email telling me I had successfully reactivated my FB account. I am reactivated. All the information was stored. Again, none of this bodes well for Facebook! On the other hand, I am letting it be for now, but I rarely check in. I do use Google+ but there it feels like an empty stadium! 😉

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