August 19, 2015

OMG, has it been less than a month on Facebook? It feels like a year! Here was my start. And here’s where I am now.

The Good:

  1. I’ve unpublished my Author page and am navigating the labyrinth that is Facebook just through my regular profile page, which has simplified things to a degree. I’m too OCD for two pages. (Should this go on this page? What about this on that page? Why is this on this page but not on that page? Should I share this with my other page? What about getting people to “Like” that page when they’re on the other page? What about…oh, forget it).

I still have access to my Author page and am currently using it as a sort of digital notebook to store things I may want to share or elaborate on in the future, or have there if I ever publish the page again. (I thought of this all by my big girl FB self! Heeeh?!)

  1. I’ve learned to stop trying to clean out my news feed (2a- I now know the difference between a news feed and a timeline). I figured if I unfollowed certain people and/or deleted stuff, my news feed would resemble something manageable, maybe even meaningful.

My sister, Jen—she of the origin of the Moron moniker—warned me, “No. You just scroll through shit.” Once again: OCD. We OCD types don’t scroll through shit. We read it, all of it, even shit we don’t WANT to read, then we organize it, respond to it, file it or delete it. But Jen was right. Trying to do this with a news feed is like trying to catch Niagra Falls in a Dixie cup. So I’m trying to stay at my timeline and just follow who I want to follow. I’m not too successful at it though. Why? Say it with me now, OCD. What if I miss something? Something I was perfectly happy to miss a month ago when I was NOT ON FACEBOOK.

So now I either scroll, which leaves me feeling twitchy and dirty, or I spend the proverbial too much time on stupid shit (or heck, even good shit) which leaves me mad and guilt-ridden (I could have spent that time on my kids! Or my hubby! Or my writing! Or catching up on pictures and thank you notes! Or Pedi-egging some chunks off my heels! Or…you get it. So I guess this is only part Good, and part Still Bad.)

  1. I have joined two groups, a Chick Lit Author group and an IVF support group. The chick lit group is fun and inspiring. The IVF group is an avenue to offer some support and encouragement to people struggling to have their babies, from someone who’s been there. I feel sure it’s been helpful to some people already, and I know it’s been good for me.

(OCD self: But what about OTHER groups? There are TONS of them, what if they’re even BETTER, what if you could be in ALL of them? Rational self: You can’t. Shut the fuck up and close the fucking browser.)

The Bad:

  1. I still don’t get the Friend thing (pretty basic, I know). I would if this were just personal. I either know you and want to see pictures of your cat taking a shit while coughing up a furball or I don’t. OK, bad example, I never want to see that. Let’s go with pictures of nieces and nephews. Yes, want to see those, click, poof, we’re friends! Stalker from college, eeh!, click, request denied.

But it’s not personal. (It’s this if you missed it.) I’m already in contact with my family and my peeps. What I really want to find and be found by are a shit load of people I do not know who are interested in reading, writing, and reproduction. So do I Friend EVERYONE who comes across my page, however they get there, or request EVERYONE whose cool stuff I come across? Well how the hell do you manage THAT news feed? Friend them then unfollow them? Is that what everyone in my situation does? Then what’s the point? No, seriously, can anyone answer that for me?

I get it in the long run scenario. In the long run I want to be someone who people friend, like, and follow because I write and post good shit and they’ve come to read it. At that point I don’t think it’s so essential to friend and follow everyone back; people are getting what they’ve come for, and it seems understood that it wouldn’t even be possible anyway. But in the short term, the only people really paying any attention to you are a handful of your family and friends, and maybe a couple of the new friends. You don’t want to bore or annoy them if they don’t happen to be that interested in what you’re writing and posting about, and you don’t want to ignore (unfollow) them in your effort to not be overwhelmed by sheer volume because that seems egocentric and rude, like, “Here, read my shit but I’m too busy for yours.” So what’s a newbie to do?

What I did, within days, was become so overwhelmed by the willy nilly friending frenzy and the subsequent barrage of “stuff” and not knowing what to do about it all that I went on a friend moratorium. I’ve barely friended anyone since, even my friends! I’m a-scared! But then, if I don’t friend all these people I don’t know, am I getting anywhere? So here I am in friend purgatory, still not sure how I should build this house I’m supposed to be building, waiting to come across something or someone to spell it out for me. I’m like that insurance company commercial with the group of old ladies sitting in front of a wall with framed pictures of their friends hanging on it. One of them threatens to take another one’s picture off the wall, and a third is shaking her head at them saying, “This isn’t how this works! This isn’t how any of this works!”

  1. I’m still not sure who sees what and where. I know I can choose who sees my posts or shares on my timeline, and I don’t post overwhelmingly there anyway even if it everyone sees everything, which is how I have it now. But I also know most people are not going to my timeline, they are seeing me in their news feed, and more of my overall activity gets through that way, right? Like what about all my various likes and comments and shares, who sees those and where? I don’t want chick lit, for example, being shoved down the throat of friends and family who don’t read it, likewise, I don’t want chick lit writers I’ve friended to have to wade through pictures of my fam, as adorable as they may be.
  1. Algorithms. Dear god, the algorithms. Is this where the Zuckerberg brilliance came in and made Facebook what it is? And is cracking these codes where our own brilliance comes in? Cause that would explain a lot. I’d like the non-brilliant, linear, just steps and checklists version, please.

So, one month in, I’d say progress has been made, but it’s all just still too much. I am someone who works really hard every day filtering things in the name of anxiety management and simplifying in the pursuit of peace. For me, Facebook, despite its nice points, utterly flies in the face of my system.

And it’s too little, too. In these early stages, it’s hard to feel like I’m getting anywhere.

None of this means I’m not sticking with it. I am. It’s important to my ultimate goals, and I know I’ll keep learning and do better eventually. Jane Friedman, digital expert who I heart, sensibly urges patience with this process. I KNOW she’s right. I KNOW it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I AM, actually, a marathoner! And it hasn’t even been a month (sob), so maybe I’m doing OK. (Channel Jane…Channel Jane…Channel Jane…Channel Jane…)

Then there’s the Ugly:

Twitter is next. I’m going to a “How To” at the library this Friday. It’s OK, you can laugh, I am. I know my sister will. Actually, she won’t. She’ll just give a curt shake of her head and say, “I don’t do Twitter.” Ah, the good old days.


PS- I just Googled images for “social media frustration” to attach to this post, and it cracked me up. Talk about pictures being worth a thousand words. I feel better now! Check it out