I'm going to dump a lot of my "friends" on Facebook. This isn't some grandiose manifesto on the perils of Facebook security, the issues associated with living publically online, or anything like that.
It's about doing social media in a way that's manageable. For me, it's just getting a little out of control with all the noise and distraction. I've found that rarely is there much of real value there for me. It's kind of like being at a party and standing around listening to what everyone else is talking about. I don't know how much value that adds to my day, so it's time to change course.
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith pointed out that it's really challenging to engage with more than 150 people via social media in Trust Agents and I am inclined to agree. I've got a lot more "friends" than that, but I've found that it's true that I can't really engage meaningfully with more people than that on a personal level.
On a side note, as I started writing this, I found a couple posts by John Saddington, who I greatly admire, who's quitting Facebook altogether. There seems to be a bit of a trend for people re-thinking how they're using this social platform.
So I've made the decision to be much more deliberate about the way I handle Facebook and here are the thoughts behind what I'm thinking.
First, I'm going to use Facebook for actual friends. That's right – people I know and have regular contact with. A lot of my friends live in different cities and states, so I still like the ability to be connected with them. I've got a lot of people to whom I'm connected with on Facebook that I don't really know personally and my personal Facebook page is really not the place to do that. I actually post personal stuff and have personal engagements on Facebook.
Second, as my friend Andy Traub mentions, there is simply too much noise. There is so much junk on Facebook that it's really a god-forsaken rabbit-hole where it's so easy to get distracted and waste a lot of time on really low value stuff. A prefect example is all the political posts, and the associated backlash against them. I don't care what you think about politics. I certainly wouldn't invite you in to my living room to discuss your candidate's merits, and I really don't need to bring it in to my day. It doesn't add value to my day, and in many ways, I'd be better off not having wasted the time scrolling through them anyway.
Third, there are things that I want to share with my friends that don't need to go out to everyone. I know, I can pare down friends in to lists and pick and choose who I share what with, and when, but I'm not really interested in jumping through the hoops to do that. I tend to be at least a little bit concerned about privacy, so I like keeping some things for my close, personal friends and not worry about the maze that Facebook can sometimes be.
Fourth, I have a business page and I would like for those who are interested in what I'm doing, to go and "like" my page. So please, join me over there. Most of my activity on Facebook is related to my business, so I think it's only appropriate that I take advantage of doing it there. That way I don't mix up business stuff with personal stuff. Sometimes the two just don't mix. However, this may change after reading John Saddington's post about why he shut down the Tentblogger page.
If you send me a friend request, please don't be offended if I don't respond. It's not personal. It's all about my ability to interact and engage. If you're looking to connect because of our common interests in web technology, marketing, design, etc. please join me on my Orracle Media Facebook page.
I also want to say that I still believe deeply in the importance of connecting and engaging with other like-minded people. Without a doubt, Orracle Media wouldn't be what it is today without connecting and building relationships with amazing people all over the country, and Facebook has, in its own way played a small part in that. It's just time to do it a bit differently.
I leave you with a couple great questions to ask yourself (that I'm also lifting from Andy in his comment on John's blog):
What will you lose if you're not on Facebook? Think about it – what would you really lose if you kept yourself from logging in?
What will you gain if you're not on Facebook? In a world that is all about digital interaction, mobile platforms, "liking", "friending", etc. think about what you can gain by not being on Facebook.