When I first joined Facebook, I was excited to find out how ‘everybody turned out’ in high school and college. Many hours were filled with researching and connecting with my long lost acquaintances and friends. I had moved often in my life, so I had an overwhelming curiosity and this satisfied my wonderment. Each week, another person from my past would emerge for a fun conversation of how life has changed or stayed the same. For my current Los Angeles group, I was able to connect in a new way as I could see pictures of their past and their trending present. It was fun to see the adaptations and behaviors on FB, whether it was a motivational quote, laugh at people who clicked on the ‘who is viewing my profile’ fake application, and even the excessive food posts were exuberantly entertaining. I was privy to the psychology of the people whom I had known or had met for just a short period of time. It was a blast.
Then, the ROI for Facebook applications and browsing for business pages were a profitable venture for Fundamental. We worked on Wonderful Pistachios facebook games to small businesses fan pages. We were very excited to add another service that could help the customer. In time, the investment and ever changing API was more of a hindrance to the customers’ profit margin than a help. People did not visit or spend time on FB fan pages because of how the feed was reorganized with the new timeline flow. It was harder to attract new customers and inform regular fans because of the algorithm. This equation seems to allow only people who are already active on the page to see the feed regularly or the user needs to click on the activity search for fan pages, but it changes too often to sell to the customer who needs results for purchasing, at this time. We are hoping the feed for fan pages and applications will become more optimized.
Also, every business seemed to have read the same article for touting their fb page; have a contest. This tactic saturated the effectiveness of the contest feature. I still support Facebook fan pages and applications, but do warn that it may not provide the return you want if you desire a specialized app. The fan page is great for business presence and is recommended for history in the search engines as well as allowing the lurkers to read and stay updated. Research has shown that 1% of purchases are made from Facebook posts. Again, we are hoping this is only an adaptation process for the current user as we hope they will begin to utilize this feature in their browsing and purchasing habits.
Ok, back to me.me.me. After all, this is basically what facebook was becoming. Since everyone has already connected with their old and new friends, the site was leveraging the opportunity to brand yourself. Every post sculpts how people see ‘you’ as an online presence, not a real person. With the new timeline feature, people could stay on their own page and watch everyone’s activity. It encouraged hours of trying to catch up on the activity feed. I ended up ignoring the feature, but found many liked it.
I also realized that I did not feel comfortable sharing my views. I knew my posts would have to be happy, witty, or sporty with a touch of sentimentalism from time to time. Why I even thought about the psychology of a post was more for business purposes, than personal sharing. I was very open and hoping I would be seen as a well-rounded individual, that would properly represent Fundamental. And yet, each post would make me nervous as if it would affect my business in a negative way. I was taking it too seriously!
If you post, “I could have a better day’ or anything of a negative nature, you would be considered a bit unstable or begging for attention. When in fact, daily life has its ebbs and flows. What is the point of sharing all of that with your ‘friends’? It is just too personal most of the time. So the site became fakebook. A place where you can celebrate your life or at least fake like you do.
I also felt facebook was encouraging dormant narcissistic traits in people. Others were just full blown personality disorders and I was grateful that facebook allowed me to see it so clearly. Some of the girls I knew had over 1,000 tagged pictures of themselves and adding more weekly, if not daily.
On an interpersonal level, people may have gatherings, but I was not always invited, but pictures would be posted the next day. The cliques of who is in or not in a group felt a little too high school for me. I would prefer not to know about their gatherings, if I am not part of it. I understood that every group has their own dynamic, but I felt more removed from them once I found I was not invited. It affected me.
I just realized was not adding to my personal happiness, even though I live one of the most blessed lives. I am healthy and have achievable dreams and goals. I love the people in my life. I live in Topanga Canyon, CA, 10 minutes from the beach and mountains right outside my doorstep. And yet, I was comparing myself to others and it felt horrible. I also felt I was losing my attention span and my ability think about the things that I used to, because I was pondering someone’s post. I tend to think about people and the information they provide to me. People are fascinating. I sifted through pictures as a break from my work for 10-15 minutes, but would feel drained after the break as I would be thinking about their psychological profile of who I know in real life in relation to the online branding. My personal life suffered because I didn’t want to connect with people in real life as much because I was so exhausted from the emails I was receiving from Facebook all day long. It seemed each time I received a notification, I would be right back on FB. I turned off most my notifications, but still found myself visiting a few times a day to respond. At the end of each day, I felt psychically drained and a bit lonely.
If you have read this far, you would think all I do is sit and play on facebook. Fortunately, I live a very full life. I hosted a TEDxTopanga, train for triathlons, run a business, research and develop for new software, and have other hobbies such as knitting, reading books, and just keeping up relationships. I am only on facebook for hours at a time when we are testing a facebook application or launching a marketing campaign. I did incorporate it into my day though. Yet the site was no longer adding to my life, but it did connect me with people I love to write, call, and spend time with in my real life now. I am thankful for the time I spent on the site, but it is not for me. I do not want to share my daily life which is recorded into a living database. Though, I do not judge people who are on Facebook. It can be a useful tool, depending on your personality type. I just found that since I quit Facebook, I have read more books and thought about things that add to my life in a way that is fulfilling for me.
Fundamental still has a business page and a personal page. So we still believe is a great thing to have for the business and personal as well, at times.