Why I’m Not Quitting Facebook

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I’ve read a number of blogs posts recently in which bloggers pronounce that they are dumping Facebook. The reasons given are various:

The complaints essentially stem from how the users choose to use Facebook rather than the app itself.

I want to punch slow moving people in the back of the head.You don’t have to reply to the latest superpoke or virtual martini thrown your way. Nor do you need to scrabble or stay a member of any of those groups whose names you found so funny the first week you joined.

Likewise, nobody is forcing you to stay glued to your computer instead of going to to the local pub for some real flesh and blood interaction with the human race. You are avoiding that for reasons too numerous to discuss.

Internet for babies? Perhaps. But also for grannies, aunties, most people over 45 or under 16 and probably 90% of the people I want to stay in contact with. I can still follow Tim Ferris and Robert Scoble on Twitter but I can safely say my sister will never be tweeting me with updates.

Facebook Stripped Down

My reason for remaining on Facebook is simple: I find value in the status updates from my network and, sadly, virtually none of my friends are on Twitter. Twitter has just not caught on in Asia nor with the luddites who make up most of my network.

Nevertheless, I’ve found a few personal guidelines necessary to ensure Facebook does not become the monster everyone complains of.

My 7 Facebook Rules for Survival

  1. Don’t friend people I’m not interested in.
    This is stating the obvious but initially it called for some house cleaning. It meant I needed to cull all the acquaintances I rashly friended in my early days as a Facebook noob.
    Most people won’t even notice when you delete them. For some, however, it has become socially awkward to now de-friend them. In those cases I’ve gone into the privacy settings and blocked their access to my updates. At worst they will find me incredibly boring.
  2. Don’t use any Facebook Apps.
    I now ignore all drinks, hugs, pokes and painful sessions of trying to impress with my Sramble skills. I also have no interest in who has a crush on me.
  3. Likewise, I have chosen to Drop all groups and fan pages with the notable exception of some local eateries which use Facebook to advertise promotions.
  4. I Follow friends’ status updates on RSS not by surfing the Facebook website which is a rabbit hole of limitless depth.
  5. I Don’t get any Facebook updates by email plus I’ve set up filters to delete anything that slips through. My inbox is sacred and I make ample use of filters to pursue the Inbox Zero ideal.
    • I limit my own status updates to info I think my friends would find useful or interesting:

    • I love Bellanew restaurants I’ve discovered,
    • good articles & links,
    • my travel
      Note: Tempted as I am from time to time, I no longer post updates on my mood nor how I feel about my cat, who I love dearly.
  6. I do use Facebook to share photos with my network.
    This is an easier way to get eyeballs than sending them a link to my latest Flickr album. The bulk of my stuff is still on Flickr but a “best of” goes to Facebook. Likewise I follow friends’ photos.

In summary my formula for success is:
Facebook – Dumb Apps = Twitter + Photo Album = Useful Tool

And that’s what works for me.

We don’t always have the energy to make the proper investment in our far flung friendships – even in some of the near flung ones. There’s work, family, kids, groceries… life takes over. So I enjoy, from time to time, hearing news that prompts me to ping a friend back and touch base.

Plus I’m happy to be reunited with lost friends. It has been argued that if you didn’t maintain contact, there was a reason. But when you have lived all over the world, it is easy to loose touch with people you remain fond of. In fact there are still a few I’m trying to track down and, with luck, one day they will log in to Facebook.

If you still live in the village you were born, Facebook probably has no place. But most of us now invent our own village and maintain it online. Facebook is just an easy way for me to stay in touch with the village folk.

And yes, I have Facebooked my mom.