Mind Splinters

About that Facebook thing.

So far, it’s going great!  I’ve had quite a few people interested in the impact of this and what’s going on as a result — it looks like about 50% of Facebook users are exploring similar ideas.  I find this fascinating — the reasons are all over the charts.  Some people are concerned about corporate oversight.  Some want to leave because Facebook … makes them feel lonely.  Others are concerned that there’s just no point.  Other people use the technology to feel less sad and don’t want to give it up.

Where you sit on any of this is between you and God, right?  I don’t want to talk about your reasons; I’d like to talk about your outcomes.

Let’s recap.  I’d left the devil because I was concerned about my personal data.  While social media channels are generally about sharing of data, some of the stories in the wild about Facebook and how they operate made me feel funny in my tummy.  There was a hidden reason though: I suspected that my Facebook feed was making me less happy, and I wanted to inject as much positive energy into my feed as possible.  See, I’d had a bunch of contacts who posted about their kids first toilet stop, or how crappy their boss was, or the stupid commute they had, and really, I get enough of that in my own life.

I decided to make more active use of Twitter and Instagram*, because there’s only so much angst you can stuff into 140 characters and/or photos.  I made a deliberate intent to create some interest lists on Twitter, and only follow people far, far cooler than me on Instagram.  The net effect is that I can open Twitter, go to my “Fighting Fit” stream, and become inspired about physicality, health, and so on.  Or my “Got Game?” feed, and see some news on blowing aliens back to where those fuckers came from.  Instagram is filled with either snips of people doing amazing things in the gym, or very cool outdoor landscapes that are inspiring, peaceful, or both.

The culling process was vicious.  One wrong post and you’re gone, man.  Try and sell me something?  Gone.  Post about your bad day?  Gone.  Try and preach at me?  Gone.  Hell, if you’re just not very interesting, you’re gone.  Turns out, there’s still a lot of great content out there that you can fill your life with that is pure gold.  No whiners.  No sycophants.  But there’s a catch. You need to leave your FOMO at the door and you can’t be concerned about what other people are going to think about you.  I know how it works: you think you need to follow Bob because Bob follows you.  But you don’t.  And if Bob posts something and you don’t see it … well, you need to be cool with that.

Bob is probably an asshole.  With asshole kids who are still learning to shit by themselves, and he has a crappy boss, and can’t wait to tell you about the neck-bearded mouth breather he was next to on the bus.

What have I learned?

Turns out, I was right about the positivity thing.  Social media has become uplifting.  It inspires me.  I get ideas from it.  They are networks I can use to drive thoughts and concepts, change and progress.  It isn’t a thing where time is wasted; all moments provide value.

It’s led me to believe that we’re basically using the damn tools wrong, but that’s a topic for another time.  What I’d encourage you to do is consider how you’re using social media today, and whether it’s giving you what you need.  If you’re finding yourself on the couch, laptop out, and wondering, “Why the fuck am I on Facebook and where did the last half hour go?!” then I’d suggest you take a look at how you’re using it and try and get some different outcomes.


* The irony is not lost on me that Facebook owns Instagram.

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2 Replies to “Mind Splinters”

  1. Dude! Bob is awesome and has a nice boss. Stop hatin’ on Bob.

    I think you’re glossing over a pretty important problem with social networks. They’re not social at all. Facebook has friends but how many of them fit the into the category that your your best friends when you were at primary school did? If social networks were social you’d be able to sort connections into categories like kin, kith, work mates, and besties.

    Check out the work of Robin Dunbar http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/12108412/Facebook-users-have-155-friends-but-would-trust-just-four-in-a-crisis.html

    1. /nods – they’re designed to use you as a harvest pool, and work best for the company creating them rather than you as the “customer.” A good social network would be designed the other way, but then everyone trips over the monetisation issue.

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