This is the final post in my Social Media Diet series this week. I’ve shared my story of committing Facebook social suicide, and then quitting Instagram, but now: how it’s going…
It’s been two years since I committed Factugebook social suicide, and a year since I bailed on Instagram. There was a while there where it was getting easier and easier to socially ignore Facebook. Yes, I have to be there for work, but I just didn’t miss it, socially.
Over the past few months though, I’ve started missing it. Part of it is realizing that even my husband uses Facebook constantly. My staff, my friends, my readers, my own spouse: all use Facebook all day, every day. My friends in LA? Facebook. My friends in NYC? Facebook. My friends in Seattle? Facebook. My friends from Seattle who move away? Facebook.
And Instagram. My staff have entire conversations on Instagram about each other’s hair and vacations and significant others. Even my friends who used to take photography super seriously now default to Instagram.
My social mediums of choice? Twitter and Flickr. Twitter feels safer to me than Facebook — no convoluted illusions of privacy, just a straightforward broadcast channel. Flickr may be a product in flux, but 10 years of my photos are there in full resolution, and you’ll tear that archive from my cold dead hands.
But it’s hard.
A few months ago when I crashed that wedding, I used Offbeat Bride’s Facebook page as my personal Facebook. I posted real-time updates, selfies, cake photos, drunken observations… and people fucking LOVED it. Not only did they love it to the tune of 600 likes on some of the posts, but all that liking meant that Offbeat Bride’s Page reach for the rest of the week was up over 30%. Basically, because I deigned to use Facebook to whore out my attention-seeking stupidity, I was rewarded by more attention. GAH. It’s so evil and insidious!
Of course after the wedding the bride and groom and a couple of their friends both added me as friends and not wanting to be rude I accepted the invitations (…knowing I’d do what I always do, which is quietly delete them in a month or two), and then the bride and I started chatting via Facebook, and the next thing I know I’m using it to chat with my husband when my son and I are out of town and UG! Evil! Insidious!
One of the things I’m strategizing with life right now is trying to GET OUT more. I feel so isolated and walled off in my work, and in some ways my life… there’s this flow back and forth of overexposure/exhaustion/retreat and then isolation/loneliness/stand-offishness that I seem to go through. I wrestle constantly with my own social media attention whoring neediness, and cutting myself off from Instagram and Facebook feels like the most effective way to rein in that part of myself that I don’t think needs encouragement… but the pull is CONSTANT. I put so much energy into resisting the seduction of social media and sometimes it just feels too hard.
I know in my head that when it comes to feeling less isolated, for me the solution is about GETTING OUT more… not about hitting my internet rat levers. Ideally, though, social media is a means to an end… helps you develop online relationships that translate into getting out more? But then again I think this is just something I tell myself in my sad justifications to add back all 400+ friends on Facebook and start posting pictures like this to Instagram and get 20 hearts instead of 1 star.
I realize this sounds like ridiculous flailing and faffing about, but this issue represents a pretty key intersection of my work, my social life, and my personal development goals. I want to be less of an attention-seeking whore, but my work conspires to pull me back into my old ways. I have no solutions or tidy conclusion, but only know that some times feel harder than others.
How do you feel about your use of social media? Does it make you feel fulfilled, or guilty? Connected or isolated? Do you see your social media use shifting at all this year?