I inadvertently got into quite a debate on Twitter the other day when someone shared a link to The Atlantic’s Eulogy for Twitter article. I made an offhand remark that, “I feel like Facebook is a lot closer to death than Twitter.”
Guess I best be ready to support my statements, right? (Eek!)
The people responding to me had very valid points. Facebook is deeply integrated in so many of the other apps and websites we use daily, and new ones pop up every day. EVERYONE is on Facebook, it seems. (Except my dad. Of course, he also still uses a flip phone and drives to the utility companies to pay his bills in person.) Facebook is growing and working with advertisers and developers to become even more powerful and deeply-integrated. What Zuckerberg and his people have built is nothing short of astounding.
While Facebook is great, it’s also… not.
I’m sure we’re only representative of a minuscule segment of Facebook’s billion users, but at a recent gathering of my friends, we all expressed Facebook burnout. The app is like an addictive drug that we want to quit, but can’t seem to stop.
Our consensus was this:
- It wastes time.
- It makes you feel less “present” in your daily life.
- It takes away from work and family time.
- It can make you generally feel shitty about yourself if you don’t “measure up” to the people on your newsfeed (and having all that stuff right IN YOUR FACE in the newsfeed encourages you to measure your life against others when ordinarily you might not think about it).
Yet none of us uninstall the app or close our accounts. Why? “I might miss something!” (I guess everyone is at least a little bit of a creeper deep down?)
Facebook has certainly done something very, very right. I applaud their business strategy; clearly they’ve won us all over! But I question whether it’s healthy for us? The people who can login once and a while are like social drinkers. They pop in, have a beer or two, have a little fun, then go about their lives. Then there those of us that are binge-drinkers and full blown alcoholics who can’t seem to stop even when it’s for our own good.
I speak purely from a personal standpoint here, but I’m curious if anyone else feels similarly? I can shut off Twitter. I don’t feel compelled to check it on my phone. I rarely tweet from my phone, except to share an occasional photo. I can unplug from Twitter easily. However, I find myself checking Facebook on my iPhone during every moment of idleness. I have had to make a conscious mental effort to stop myself. It’s a reflex. Waiting in line? Facebook. Doctor’s office waiting room? Facebook. Lull in the conversation? Facebook. It actually makes me feel a little ashamed of myself. I know it makes me less present in the moment with friends and family.
So perhaps my Twitter comment more accurately should have been, “I wish Facebook is a lot closer to death than Twitter.”
Then we could all break the cycle.
I can’t and won’t wish the death of something that employs so many people and in a lot of other ways is a great service. It’s really more about self-discipline, and I know that. (But I still kind of wish it would go away…)
Love for Twitter
Again, speaking from personal experience, Twitter has given me a lot more opportunities to interact with people I’d never normally talk with; primarily bloggers or journalists. Sure, I comment on their blogs, but those comments get lost in the ether quite often. I “like” their pages on Facebook, but their posts never seem to bubble-up in my newsfeed (maybe because they don’t pay to promote them?) so I don’t comment on them there. So Twitter has really been my primary means for networking and making friends in the blogoshpere.
(Does anyone even SAY blogosphere anymore? BLECH.)
Additionally, I feel like I’ve had much more positive exchanges on Twitter. I’m sure this has a lot to do with who you follow and connect with, but I’ve been witness to a lot more angry debates (particularly around election time), bullying and trolling on Facebook, and it seems easier to block it all out and ignore it on Twitter. Facebook has an undercurrent of ANGRY! or LOOK AT ME, I’M BETTER THAN YOU! on my newsfeed.
As a web developer, the fact is I just plain can’t QUIT Facebook. I think I’m ready to draw a line and go on a Facebook diet, though. It’s worth having an account and perhaps checking in occasionally, but I think I’ll stick to my digital-happy-places (my blog, Twitter, Instagram) for most of my virtual socializing.
What do you think?
Does Facebook impact your life (negatively or positively)? Is Twitter’s impact the same or different? Do you feel like you need to change your habits using either service? Which social network(s) have been most successful for you networking or promoting your blog/business?