Remembering Why I Quit

I’ve been spending more time on Facebook lately.

And it’s not a good thing.

I hadn’t really “quit” per se, but I had drastically reduced the amount of time I spent on Facebook before moving to the States.

Here, though, Facebook seems to be an integral part of the social fabric. It seems to be part of finding your community.

Don’t get me wrong, some parts of Facebook are good. I like that community groups are active there, I enjoy friends’ entertaining updates, and I like learning about fun local events.

But at the same time…

Every time I get on Facebook, I become enraged. Sometimes it’s by a news article someone has shared. Other times it’s by a post from a friend.

And then I become further enraged when I remember that Facebook is trying to capitalize on my rage.

It’s a vicious cycle.

No Middle Ground on Facebook

Mostly I get annoyed by the vitriol. The us-them attitudes. The “I’m-right-you’re-wrong” statements. The laments of, “Why can’t everyone be smart like me?”

Sometimes I see posts like this from people I’d expect.

But sometimes I see them from people I know for a fact wouldn’t dare make such strong statements or judgments face-to-face with people.

That gets me even more riled up! That people feel safe saying often hateful things because they’re behind a screen.

So Why Don’t I Quit?

I ask myself this all the time.

I feel like I get very little out of a half-hour spent on Facebook. So is it really worth it to keep coming back?

I don’t have the answer. It’s true that the vast majority of my blog readers find their way here from Facebook. So there’s that…

If I’m honest, though, there is a certain amount of FOMO.

I’m not quite sure what I’m afraid of missing out on, but there it is.

losing_faith_in_social_media

Losing Faith in Social Media

Up until now, I’ve been billing myself as a social media specialist. I’ve worked as a social media manager, and I’ve done some consulting work in social media for small businesses.

But the truth is, I am losing faith in social media.

Lately, I’ve felt that social media is used far too much for marketing; it’s turned into an echo chamber (especially Facebook); and its value for providing engaging content has dwindled.

Social Media Marketing

I have written about social media marketing on this very blog. It has been, after all, my métier! But while I practiced social media marketing in my professional life, I find myself being put off by it in my personal life.

Ads are everywhere.

Every time I log into Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram now, I am faced with ads. This, of course, is completely to be expected! How else are these platforms going to make money to develop for their users? But what irks me is the way advertising is done.

Facebook right-hand column ads are notoriously bad. Twitter “promoted tweets” are hardly better. Instagram’s sponsored images are, at least, a little less annoying, since the images are usually nice. But for the most part, the ads are tacky, tasteless, and irrelevant–or worse, tastelessly relevant (one particularly badly timed ad for baby clothes showed up after I had had a miscarriage).

To be fair, that’s mostly because the people advertising have no idea what they’re doing, or how to target their ads. It’s no wonder management are constantly doubting the ROI potential of social media advertising.

Most brands get it wrong.

Then there are the brands that pay so that their content shows up in my newsfeed. There are very few brands that inspire enough enthusiasm for consumers to actively engage with them. Nike and others are the exception to the rule.

For the most part, the promos, Facebook contests, and “relaxed language” that brands try to use in social media fall very flat. It’s artificial, forced, and awkward. All things that are poison to social media users.

The Echo Chamber

This mainly applies to Facebook, due to their filtering practices. As soon as you like one or two baby pictures, wedding announcements, or articles of a feminist nature, that is all that you see in your newsfeed.

Just because I got married, had a kid, and have feminist sympathies, does not mean that I want to see only wedding shots, baby photos and articles about why the heating in my workplace is inherently sexist.

Looking at my Facebook feed, you’d think that breastfeeding mothers are being expelled from dining establishments all across North America. I can tell you that I’ve been breastfeeding in public on a regular basis for more than nine months (and in more than five countries!) and no one has ever asked me to cover myself up or nurse my child elsewhere.

The algorithm of boredom

It seems like Facebook is targeting content at me based on what its algorithms think will delight, incense, outrage, move, and otherwise scintillate me.

On the contrary, I now find Facebook extremely boring. It’s a sad, uninteresting person who only wants to hear their own ideas and opinions shouted back at them. There is no back and forth, no debate (I don’t count people hurling insults at each other and spewing vitriol as debate), and very little room for thoughtful interaction.

I’d much rather have a face-to-face conversation over a coffee, than kill even 5 minutes on Facebook.

So what does that make me?

I’ve called myself a social media specialist. I’ve maneuvered myself into this niche of online content marketing. And yet I find it boring.

The one social media platform I enjoy spending any time on is Instagram, and that’s because my closest loved ones are there. I keep my profile private, and share moments of joy from my daily life with those I love best.

But other than that, I’m over Facebook, Twitter, and the lot. So what do I do now? Career change? I can’t very well market myself as a social media expert when I spend very little of my own time there.

Well for the moment, I cannot be said to have a career. I’ll just have to continue writing (which I do like), trying to read broad and varied content, and keeping up my knitting, which is a great way to meet new, and interesting people.

Is there any way I can make meeting people through crafts my career? Any ideas?