Wednesday 7 March 2018

What I love and loathe about Facebook

I joined Facebook in April 2007. It was just after our wedding, and friends and relatives were sending me notifications that they had shared photos there. I didn't do a lot with it back then, before smartphones it wasn't as easy to share photos and I didn't feel that I needed to find old friends. Besides, not many people were on it back then anyway. After the wedding photos there are a few updates from our honeymoon, a few excited updates as friends started appearing, the sharing of an old school photo and birthday greetings.

I didn't get into using Facebook regularly until I started my blog in 2009. I realised it might be an idea to make a Facebook page, and I also heard on Twitter about Facebook blogging groups that I thought it might be worth joining. I went a bit mad adding loads of other bloggers, and I found that they were all busy away over there sharing their posts and chatting. It was quite overwhelming at first as I wasn't used to so much activity, I remember I didn't know what the etiquette was when it came to liking posts and comments!

Recently I decided that I was getting a little bit too addicted to my phone, and Facebook in particular. I have a lot of friends, I follow a lot of pages, and there is always something new to distract me which in all honesty adds very little value to my life. Stepping back a bit has made me see Facebook in a new light, and I thought I'd share a list of the things that I love and loathe about Facebook.

I Love...

Keeping up with friends. I love seeing holiday photos, day out photos and photos of every day life. I like seeing what people are doing, being inspired by places to visit or activities to try.

Seeing achievements. I love seeing little ones being awarded Star of the Week, people running marathons or even just going for a jog around the block, crafty projects people have worked on.

Feeling connected to people. Receiving a comment or even just a like on one of my photos reminds me of a friend, and if it's from someone I've not spoken to in a while it may inspire me to follow up with them.

Interesting articles that pop up from time to time. Every now and then I'll read an article either from a page I follow or shared by a friend that really resonates with me and makes me think it was worth the read.

All the different groups. I try to limit it but I'm in quite a few groups for my various interests and hobbies as well as for local affairs. I love having somewhere that I can get inspiration, keep up to date with news and ask questions.

I Loathe...

That I can open up the app just to quickly check my notifications and before I know it half an hour has gone by.

Those click bait articles that I can't resist. I'm a particular sucker for the photograph ones - '16 pics that require a second look' type things. I've tried clicking on the 'hide' button at the side but they keep coming from different sources.

The fact that the interesting articles that do pop up from time to time are hidden amongst so much that isn't interesting to me.

All the groups that I can't make myself leave because I'm worried about missing something. I'm in several groups on the same topic that cover the same themes and even though there is so much overlap I just can't decide which ones to leave.

Finding myself reaching for my phone and opening Facebook whenever I have a spare few minutes, I need to learn to curb the impulse!

Feeling inadequate. I'm quite good at remembering that Facebook isn't real life. But there have been occasions where I've been a little envious of people's mad social lives as they are out and about checking in to exciting places with lots of friends. I need to remind myself that I very rarely check myself in anywhere, and that just because something isn't on Facebook doesn't mean that it didn't happen!

Facebook open on phone
Photo credit - William Iven via Unsplash

One surprising thing that I found when I stopped checking Facebook so regularly was that the less I checked it, the less I felt the urge to. It's almost as though I was carrying half finished conversations from groups or general newsfeed chat around in my head, and by checking in throughout the day I was trying to keep caught up with everything. Once I cut down to just checking once or twice, I could see completed discussions, not every single comment or update. The algorithm also changed based on my usage to show me more from actual friends and family. I started to get little summary updates from groups in my newsfeed, which had never shown up when I was regularly popping in and out. And I found that I didn't miss anything at all, a quick check from time to time was enough to keep me caught up.

I'm hoping that I can move forward with a much healthier Facebook relationship!

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