Recently I’ve noticed some people from my personal learning network deciding to delete their Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook accounts or getting off social media entirely.
In truth, I’ve had the same questions floating around in my mind with Facebook and LinkedIn because I’m not getting any real value from them. Meanwhile, others question why I’m on Snapchat (“Helen, isn’t Snapchat dead and everyone is moving to Instagram?“) but I can’t see myself moving from that platform anytime soon because it’s the one platform that is truly “social” compared to the other social media that have been infiltrated with ads, trolls and bots. At least with Snapchat, I can have wonderful conversations and enjoy the supportive community on it.
Instagram? Let’s not go there. That’s the one platform I would wish would just simply die a horrid death.
With many people now looking at where they’re spending the most time as well as tired of the negativity and the trolling, it’s no wonder many are moving away from the social networks and using more direct or instant messaging or closed group communities. It’s not an ideal state of affairs because, in all honesty, this is the very time we need more diverse, engaging and new voices online to drown out the crap that we’re served from advertisers and brands.
We need more conversation that builds mutual respect and understanding. Not more crap to make us buy more.
I toyed with the idea of deleting Facebook. Some years ago I did (you don’t actually ever delete Facebook – you simply put it into “sleep” mode because it knows you’ll come back to it where you left from). For six months, I did well not to use the platform but as this was in the early years, I ended up missing out a good chunk of my friends and family updates. Since then, friends and family updates have reduced drastically to a feed now that consists of advertisers, memes or check-ins to hotels and restaurants.
Stuff that is meaningless.
Despite trying to curate my feed and use various filter options, the stuff I’m seeing on Facebook is relatively uninspiring. Many of my friends and family don’t even post any family photos on it anymore so I’m questioning why I even have an account.
However, one of the things I am enjoying reviewing every day is its Memories feature. Similar to Snapchat that has a Memories function that allows you to recall photos, videos and snap stories in the past and which are served up to you as a delightful surprise, Facebook Memories have your posts on that day from years back.
I have been on Facebook for about 10 years and now, every day, I use the Memories feature to recall what I did on that day from one, two, three and up to 10 years back. It’s been a wonderful surprise and memory jogger to see my progress. I see my anxiety, angst, wonder, joy, excitement of what I was doing on that day reflected back to me and I love it. It makes me realise just how far I’ve come in my social media journey but also realise how time is short and fleeting.
So rather than delete my Facebook account, I now see that I have instead been neglecting it because I stopped sharing my inane daily observations and reflections on it deciding to use Twitter as its replacement. However, on Twitter, I didn’t share my daily reflections – instead posting more work-related and professional posts and in so doing, reflecting only part of my personality on it. I was so much more than my professional identity.
Facebook was the only platform where I could post stuff that I enjoyed – stuff about me, my interests, passions, travel, fun knitting projects, photos of my family but over the years I stopped because I was on other platforms. Now, as other platforms are beginning to fill with trolls, bots and spam, and as people who I used to learn from, connect with and engage around learning and development posting less or moved to closed communities, I miss sharing the more personal aspects of my own identity. That’s why I love Snapchat so much because it feels like what social media should be about. People sharing what they like without the need for vanity metrics.
I’ve started to share a snippet of my life again on my personal Facebook page simply so I can have the opportunity to be delighted in the future when Memories serve me up my progress to date.
Who knows, maybe when I’m old and grey, these Memories will serve as a built in-brain application where before I die, they can hook me into my old Facebook and Snapchat Memories and I have an opportunity to relive my fondest memories that I have captured with social media before I meet my maker.
This blog post by Helen Blunden was written in Melbourne, Australia and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.