It's 2014. My year of LESS. Thus, the year I am no longer on Facebook.
I’ve battled with a desire to leave Facebook for years. When you run a business almost exclusively by word of mouth, Facebook and other social media sites become a large part of your marketing plan. Actually, it really doesn’t matter how you market, Facebook has been THE game changer in the world of advertising and marketing and everyone is playing by its rules. Naturally, for a long time, I thought I needed Facebook. I thought it it was impossible to leave Facebook and still run a Facebook business page.
Despite that hurdle (which I jumped), I also had over 1,500 Facebook friends and only about half of them were also following my business page. This meant I could spam my "friends" with my business postings (by "sharing,” oh how kind of me to share, right?!) and almost double my business exposure. (Don’t actually calculate that. With FB’s tricky algorithms, I choose to believe it equals out to about double the exposure.) Which sounds like a good plan which is easily justified.
Except it wasn’t a good plan. Because I wasn’t using my business page the way I needed to be. (Not to mention people really don't appreciate being spammed.) Instead, I was using Facebook for my personal entertainment and bored-moments-filler. There were times my Facebook addiction got so bad, I would be checking it profusely and there weren’t even any new updates. When you have 1500 friends and you have checked it three times in a row with no new content - well - that’s bad. That’s way too much. Way too often. No explanation necessary.
But that’s not even the worst part.
Here is the truth about why I left Facebook:
Instead of keeping up with friends, my "time on Facebook" turned into me clicking interesting links and browsing the internet aimlessly for 30 minutes. About 10 times a work day. (Read: HUGE WASTE OF TIME.)
Facebook was a major time suck in my life.
It was no longer worth the 1,500 friends “for business” anymore. One day I looked at my Facebook chat list and saw my most-talked-to people on Facebook. I quickly realized I talked to every single one of those people through text messaging, email, and even in-person fairly regularly. That was a wake-up call. It was easy at that moment to recognize that all Facebook had become was a time-suck in my life. It was just another medium that wasn’t bringing a whole lot of goodness to my every day.
Tommy and I got in an argument and he pulled the Facebook card. “Well, if you weren’t on Facebook all day…”
Ouch. He was right. So right then and there, I walked to the computer and announced my official departure to be scheduled for the next day.
Quick note: Do you know how DIFFICULT Facebook makes it to deactivate your account?! My word. It took me half the day the next day to clean up my Facebook life just so I could disconnect for good. I’ve even had to log back in about three more times to adjust more settings and deactivate again!
I’m three months into Life Without Facebook and I feel fantastic. The honest truth is: I miss it a little, but not a lot.
Now, I'd be deceitful if I didn't share that I had already created a new email address (facebook-only usage) and with it, a new Facebook account. Yearssss ago. (2011, y'all!) And Im using it. Yeah yeah. Hear me out. I’ve left it completely unpopulated (not a single friend) and it is locked down. I cannot be searched for or added as a friend. There is no information in my profile except for a photo and my place of employment. I use the account strictly to run my three business pages and have joined only one business-related (meh, non-profit related :)) group. There is nothing in my newsfeed when I log in… so I am able to stay business-minded as I use FB. I do still have that “check Facebook” addiction that I’m getting over… but honestly, now it brings me to my business pages way more often than I used to check them and I am able to schedule posts, respond to comments and reply to any messages pretty promptly. I can stay on top of the work-side of social media with a lot more focus.
It’s been very refreshing.
All that said, there are definite Cons to being without Facebook. Here are a few things I genuinely miss:
- Being able to tag clients in their pictures on my business page
- Seeing what pictures my clients use as their profile and cover photos, which shows me their favorites without me having to ask.
- Keeping in touch with clients and keeping up with their lives before and after our time together. (I love to follow along with a bride's journey of planning her wedding, as well as watch the little baby I photographed grow up before my eyes!)
- Sharing my business posts and announcements with my Facebook friends. While it is a little spammy, sometimes I think I'd get more response if I were using Facebook on a more personal level. But, so far it doesn't seem to have affected my actual income. Which is the bottom line, I guess.
- Networking with other photographers. This one may very well bring me back to Facebook if I follow up on another big idea I have brewing. But it'll be months, at least, (maybe years?) before that happens.
- Being invited to events happening around town. A lot of times I have no idea something is even going on, let alone knowing I have the option to attend!
So, no. It isn't all sunshine and rainbows. But I definitely feel Life Without Facebook creates more space in my brain to focus on bigger and better things in my life. And there's no Con that can outweigh the Pro of that. :)
Have you ever thought about leaving Facebook for good? What is holding you back?