The final victim of my Social Media Binge and Purge was Facebook—that grotesquely huge leviathan of banality. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it seems to me that Facebook has degenerated into the most trivial of places, where hardly anybody says anything of substance. It’s a worldwide greeting card filled with other people’s inspiring thoughts, hardly ever one’s own.
Between the teen-aged friend who constantly posts selfies, asking you to like, share, or comment to feed her obvious lack of self-esteem (not following her anymore…) and the middle-aged professor friend who reads a dozen articles on her lunch hour and has to SHARE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM (not following her anymore either, though many of her shares were interesting; it seems to me that posting 80 times within a week is, well, just STOP doing that!!!), and all the vague-booking and all the inappropriate airing of one’s dirty laundry and all the photos of every meal you’ve ever eaten and all the chain-letterish sharing of platitudes (“Share this if you love your daughter!” So if I don’t share this, does that mean I DON’T love her???), I’m surprised more people are not deleting their Facebook accounts because they’re exhausted from all the endless sharing of so much nothingness.
Well, these are just some of my personal pet peeves about Facebook. Perhaps more people have more meaningful interactions going on, more genuine communications other than sharing Internet stories that are already three years old. Yes, I’ve fallen for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month “rolling around on the floor like a slug” game (though that really did get a lot of action on my timeline…). Yes, I saw the one about “re-posting this if you know someone who has been eaten by a dragon.” It was mildly amusing when I first saw it five years ago. I do have some friends who post interesting items and I try to interact with them occasionally. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of annoying my friends as well and it’s probably a good thing that you are not aware of how many of your friends simply have “unfollowed” you because you are so annoying, posting grandchild photos so often…
I can deal with the personal aspects of Facebook, and sometimes I do indeed hear something interesting from one of my old school friends. My own family members happen to be reluctant Facebook users, so it is not at all a good place to hang out with any of them. Now it’s only convenient for casual types of communiques. Assuming Facebook doesn’t one day disappear (MySpace, anyone?), I guess I’ll keep my account around until I’m an old lady who doesn’t give a shit about anything. Will I choose to have my heirs keep me alive forever on Facebook? Pretty doubtful—imagine the trolls that would spit upon your virtual grave…
A few years ago, I started a Facebook group called “Astrid’s Modern Hobbit Recipes.” This was created to discuss my cookbook in its infancy and it eventually attracted about 134 members. I was originally going to close it completely when I started my official page, but I noticed people were making comments in the group, so I figured I’d let it stand as a companion to my new page.
The business page has caused me some issues. Granted, I have wanted people to share my own page’s posts—this hardly ever happens for me since I’m not particularly inspirational, artsy, religious, political, gluten-free, or George Takei. Okay, I can accept that. I’m not going to start posting incendiary quotes or be false to myself in any way. When I first started the page, I fell for the “Get More Likes!” advertising scheme Facebook uses. You punch in a bunch of tags and pay a fee. Before you know it, you have 100, 200, 400 followers! Hurray! There is hope for your social media marketing!
Fortunately, I didn’t spend very much here, especially since I received a $50 credit from Facebook as a gift for trying to making an ad, then deciding not to. “You seem to be having some problems—here’s a $50 credit for future ads.” Of course you’re going to use free money on some ads.
Then you start looking at these new followers and you realize that none of these people actually have any interest in your product at all and they are merely clicking on your page because Facebook has supposedly paid them a tiny bit of money to do so. I ended up with 852 followers. Around this time, I happened to find a page called Veritasium. The administrator there posted a YouTube video about the algorithms of Facebook advertising and how misleading it all can be. You can view his report here: Fake Facebook Likes
Perhaps I didn’t target my ad campaign properly. Originally I ended up estimating that maybe 200 of those new likes were truly interested in the page’s postings. I would post, then I’d be lucky if 10% of these 852 souls would even see the post. I would practically swoon if even 10% of those 85 souls would, perchance, LIKE the post. I would fall over and DIE if even one person commented.
For awhile, I took this personally; meaning, I figured everything I posted was obviously uninteresting. Considering all the crap I have looked at on Facebook, I seriously decided to give myself a break—my posts are no better or worse than anyone else who is stupidly trying to have a presence in what is now the overly saturated cloud called Social Media.
So I started looking at big Facebook pages and I noticed they ALL had (and still have) the same problem. Take the David Bowie official page. Over 5.9 million people like this page, yet his last few posts have barely cracked getting ½% of his followers to even see the posts. Comments? You guessed it—about ½% of that ½% will bother to say anything. Does David Bowie care? Obviously not.
I started looking at other pages that have large populations and they ALL suffer from the same fate that ALL pages do on Facebook. Just because you have 852 followers, doesn’t mean that any of them will see anything you post anytime. If you boost your post, they might. Hell, your post might end up being seen by 2000 people. Who are these people, if they don’t belong to my page? They’re friends of friends of friends…
I sincerely resent feeling obliged to pay to boost every single thing I say on my Facebook page. I just won’t do it unless it’s something important. Yes, that’s right; I really don’t mind paying Facebook a bit of money every once in a while. They deserve to pay their staff some decent wages. BUT I WILL NOT PAY FOR EVERY POST.
My epiphany was that I had to stop caring so much about these matters. I finally decided to change my page’s format to reflect myself as a writer, rather than someone who is just trying to get noticed and collect likes and comments, or to get conversations started. I can barely do that in my real life with real people, how could I begin to do it on the Internet? I deactivated my group and my page. I abandoned/lost/threw away those 852 people. I could have tried to merge my two pages, but Facebook apparently only lets you merge the smaller population with the bigger population. Plus, the pages needed to be very similar and I was not offered the option. Anyway, I needed a complete purge.
At the moment, my new little page has 136 likes. I’ve told myself I’d rather have, say, 85 interested followers than 850 apathetic followers. Instead of dealing with two Facebook accounts, I have consolidated it all into one. Talk about being on a diet. I think I feel better now…I guess my addiction will be over when I quit looking at my likes. Won’t it???
I’ve heard that Facebook has been working on changing some of its policies and procedures since a year ago. And the temptation to pay to get the word out about your page is strong, mainly because you can only expect maybe a third of your friends to like your page. Your friends/relatives will get quite tired of constantly trying to help your page. Then, you’ll feel the need for some new blood. So, will I break open the wallet and spend a few bucks to try to get more likes? That’s probably a safe bet.
You can LIKE my page by clicking the button on the sidebar. And I’d appreciate it if you would INVITE your friends to like my page, too!
Sheesh, I guess this never ends, does it, at least as long as we feel the need to keep feeding that damned social media beast.