Have you ever felt frustrated with Facebook? Maybe you have a ton of friends on your personal Facebook account and you realize “how many of these people do I actually know?” or “I have all these people on my Facebook and we never interact.”
I have had a love hate relationship with Facebook over the years and their ongoing algorithm changes haven’t helped. I was one of the first people to use the platform and I remember gaining over 4,000 friends. Being a fairly private person and never having that level of exposure it was a bit overwhelming. From haters hating to realizing my whole life was on display. I remember I even did what we all know not to do now, shared my personal life on my Facebook. Ugh never again!
After experiencing all of this I closed my account for some time. I didn’t have anyone on it. Then at some point I opened it up again. This time to close friends and family. Well then I ran into a new issue, somehow my relationships lacked interaction because “they already read what I had to share on Facebook”. Now generally someone would read what I wrote but never react...so it took interaction and exchange out of the meaningful relationships in my life entirely. And when it came to interacting and hearing about a friend or family member’s week they no longer had the joy of sharing with me. That is when I removed everyone that was in my immediate real-time life off of my social media. I valued those relationships far too much to just “post” to them.
I am now in a place with my personal Facebook where I have maybe 20 people on it. Some are friends I knew when I lived in Washington, a few family members and a few friends I actually made on Facebook over the years. But even so I still feel like the “meaning” of interaction is close gone on this platform. I say close because I have one friend I email daily on Facebook.
I do however enjoy “Pages”. I have my own page of almost 2,000 people whom I share content with. They are there for that specific type of content and we interact in that regard. I also like others “Pages” where they do the same and I enjoy interacting regarding subject matter, content and specific topics.
But I am happy we now have social media like Periscope, where you can see a persons face, their tone of voice and you can interact real-time with them. I think that it has a far greater ability to connect people rather than to surround ourselves with numbers and no real substance.
I value relationships but really don’t enjoy when relationships on social media become meaningless or lose their actual human level of interaction. If we actually spent time with the people we met online more often we might actually build greater community but I think that it has been too easy to just keep it on the computer.
It is also a long time frustration of mine when you connect with people online and they never respond if you interact. Sometimes I wonder what the point is, unless of course you have a “page” of some sort and you are sharing content in which most people are there to read what you post. I am referring more to those whom you would think are more in the category of “friends, pastors, leaders, peers”. No response to me is like saying, “I didn’t hear a word you said.” I know I am not the only one that feels this way, I have had more than one person tell me they felt rejected because someone never responded but I think that comes from assuming social media is there to connect with others...but it often seems more like reading a magazine.
I don’t think the issue is that there are just a ton of people that are out there more interested in promoting what they do or what they have to say. But the fact that the platforms have encouraged engagement that isn’t authentic or where we cannot organically see everyone's posts and it too easy to just read and move on.
But I have great hope!!! We are moving into a new age of interaction I think with the likes of Periscope and I hope that we begin to see people come together far more than they have been separated in the past. But there is one thing we can all do to improve our connections and that is to go out of our way to connect with people in our communities, attend events where those we meet online (such as Periscope Summit or VidCon etc) or the like will be. Make time to do activities outside of computer land and make sure that you take advantage of opportunities to meet with others locally. I know that even in my area there are groups of Periscopers that meet together. It is too easy to live life on your computer when relationships and connections to others should be tangible and meaningful. The computer alone has yet to produce that, but it is a connection point to grow real relationships....if we choose to do so.
I am sure that I will never get over my love hate relationship with Facebook. But I am encouraged that there are more meaningful platforms that are evolving and growing...those that connect rather than just entertain. I am happy to be part of a small community of you that watch my periscopes, read my posts and you actually send me emails. I love to read your messages and it makes me want to create opportunity to connect such as conferences etc. I am hopeful for the future, but unless Facebook changes I may always have a secret hate for it. You can be sure of one thing! If you are in my daily life I will refuse to add you to my Facebook and if it were up to me I would still have all my "friends" on my phone and be calling them not Facebooking.