Read This Before You Make a Promise You Cannot Keep

Yesterday, I opened Facebook and my friends who said they were taking a Facebook vacation swamped my feed – talking cat photos, videos of drugged kids after getting teeth pulled and debates about the Charlie Hebdo shooting. They had deleted a post from a couple of weeks ago. The one in which they committed to being “Facebook free in January.” They were going to make 2015 the year that they are more balanced, healthy and free from the addiction to social media.

And they had failed.

I understood why they wanted the vacation. Recently, I have been unfollowing friends who post unfiltered thoughts on events ranging from Ferguson violence to Kim Kardashian’s butt “breaking the Internet.” It’s one thing to have an opinion, but it’s another to try and convince people that your opinion is the RIGHT one. Taking a Facebook vacation had great appeal to me. It would be easier to avoid Facebook altogether rather than hiding people’s statuses and posts from my feed.

What is Facebook anyway?

One friend recently said, “Facebook is not considered polite company. People will discuss things from politics and religion to great lengths.” But Facebook defines itself as “an online social networking service.” So maybe that’s how some people like to network? One thing is clear: Facebook, itself, is not an evil demon. It has no ethical or moral platform. It is simply a tool. It’s the sum total of how we use that tool that matters.

So before you go announcing to your following about how you’re quitting Facebook and before you decide to post another selfie, here are some thought-provoking questions:

  • Do you behave on Facebook the same way that you would behave with friends? Is it the same way you would talk with Grandma?
  • Are you okay with putting your thoughts and opinions out there to people who might not agree or be willing to debate their point of view?
  • Is the content of your posting, the way you want people to remember you or how you would want to brand yourself?
  • Why are you using Facebook? What are the benefits of it and why do you log in?
  • How much time are you spending on Facebook per week? Is it worth it?

The following list is how I use Facebook. It’s not the only way or the right way. This is just my experience and what works for me.

  • I recently removed a large number of friends on Facebook. If they weren’t people who I saw myself communicating with or adding value to my life, I deleted them.
  • I rarely post, unless it’s something I feel strongly about. I don’t think it’s necessary for people to know what I had for lunch, how much traffic I ran into at the mall or look at yet another picture of my dog.
  • I use Facebook to stay up to date with my friend’s lives. Plain and simple as that.
  • I use Facebook for my job. I’m on it all day for clients and sharing content. This also means that it’s highly unlikely that I could ever deactivate my Facebook.
  • I don’t use Facebook for recipes (that’s why I use Pinterest). I don’t care about that motivational picture of a sunrise with a cheesy quote (cute, but serves zero purpose in my life) and I don’t want to play games (I’m sorry, but I will never accept your request).

Facebook can be a great place to catch up with friends and share news about your life. Before you take that Facebook vacation (that will never really happen), think about how you use Facebook and what you look to get out of it. If you’re not happy with what you see, change it.

Have you or a friend taken a Facebook vacation? Let me know, I’d love to interview you and see what the Facebook vacation (if you took one for real) was like for you. Send me a message at erica@kolbeco.net.

photo credit: Anirudh Koul via photopin cc

Article written by

account coordinator/social media strategist/Harry Potter magic wielder