There have been a number of stories in the papers and websites about people getting Facebook fatigue — and it kind of reminded me why I used to like blogging over Facebook.
First, though, a few thoughts about Facebook…
I suppose, in a way, Facebook is a blogging for lazy people. I mean, it’s designed for quick hit posts about whatever is going on in your life. It could be what you ate (with pictures, naturally), what songs you’re listening to, what’s bugging you (mostly people in front of you at Starbucks or on public transportation), an achievement, family pics, or sharing posts from other, more famous, people ( like George Takei). Oh, and I fully admit to doing all the above. But, there’s something that’s missing from Facebook for me that makes me think about the good old days of blogging.
With blogging, I supposed it was more of an experience where people who liked to write could find a forum to express themselves in a long (or short) form. It was a custom site (even if you went with Blogger or WordPress.com) where you could specify what your blog was about. It could be like Facebook, in that, you could blog about whatever was on your mind. Or it could be more niche. But if you added someone to you blog roll, you pretty much knew what you were getting. Plus, for me, it was genuinely enjoyable to read about the trivial and high-minded things my bloggy friends would write about. And with the added features to a blog palette like photos, music players, and video embedding, one could create really good content that was more than just reposting a funny video found on YouTube and hoping someone would comment. Overall, though, blogging took time and the things you posted had to be thought out. And then there’s the added benefit of learning the backend of a blog (especially, if you self-hosted). Mostly, though, I miss reading about my bloggy friend’s lives in a non-Facebook way.
With Facebook, it’s starting become a lot of noise for me; something to scan quickly, hit “Like” or make a comment. Once you’ve either posted, commented or liked a post, it quickly disappears as it gets bumped down the crawl. Plus, unlike blogging, where most bloggers let their readers know what their blog is about, Facebook doesn’t have that function –unless you start a Like page. For standard profiles, you never know what you’re going to get. Some of my friends on Facebook are people I lost touch with, some are true friends, and others are people I’m acquainted with through professional circles. But when you share something on Facebook (unless you use the custom posting feature), you’re sharing whatever is important to you in that nanosecond with all these people — which is why people say “Be careful what you post on Facebook.”
Moreover, there’s this issue I have with Facebook: they make money off my use of their service. They know a LOT about what I like and use that information in a very clever way to market back to me. When I was working in marketing and using Facebook to reach a certain demographic, I really liked how you could you really drill down and target the people you really want to reach with your advertising message. I remember talking to my Facebook rep and saying “As a marketer, I’m really impressed by how Facebook ads targets customers in a very micro way. As a Facebook user, however, I’m horrified that my information is being used like this.”
And now a few words about blogging…
I pay to keep my blog going. I use Bluehost to host this little slice of the Internet, and by and large, they have been a great provider. WordPress is free to download, but it takes time to really become more than just a novice user. When you do take the time, however, there’s a skill set that one can develop by diving into WordPress to expand a blog’s function beyond the basics. I like tech stuff, so for me it’s kind of fun to learn new things about the deeper levels of WordPress. Heck, I’ve gone to Wordcamp a couple of times just to sharpen my skills. I have to admit that I don’t understand even a tenth of what the developers are talking about, but the users have good tips (some technical, some non-technical) on making the most of WordPress, your blog/website, and growing an audience. Plus, depending on your comfort level, you can either make it known that this is your blog (as in using your real name), or create a nom de plume to keep your identity hidden. Oh, and you can set up your profile so no one really knows who you are — something you really can’t do on Facebook. Oh sure, there are fake profiles on Facebook, but would you friend someone you have absolutely no idea who they are? I’m sure there are people who do, but for me? No way. But would I visit a blog where the author chose to keep their real identity hidden? Sure. Most of my initial bloggy friends used made up names. I did. “Py Korry” is a slang for “By golly,” but for a time I was signing each post either “PK” or “Py Korry.” At the time, I wanted to keep my identity shielded so I could write about politics and not leave a trail that was easily found by potential employers or current ones. Now? I don’t care if people know about my political views or not. I don’t write anything controversial (at least, to me). Plus, employers are more obsessed with your Facebook profile than a blog. I mean, it’s easier for an employer to rifle through your FB photos looking for that drunk pic, nip slip, or tongue kiss with someone of the same gender than wading through a bunch of blog posts to find a reason to not hire you, deny a promotion, or just lay you off.
Anyway, all this is to say, I think I’m going to focus more on my blog and less on Facebook going forward. I’ll still check FB from time to time, will post things, but like my cousin (who used to blog as Stealthy Bean), I’m going to take a little break from Facebook and not be as active as I use to be.