It was fun for me to included in the piece, especially because being interviewed kickstarted a lot of thinking for me about which platforms I use and why.
It comes down to this:
Twitter makes me feel good, so I use it.
Facebook makes me feel like crap, so I don’t.
As Stephanie mentions in the article, I’ve boiled down my personal social media use decision making to one simple question: will it enhance my life?
Twitter gives me constant positive experiences on almost a daily basis: not only did it help me find the big things in my life (my job, an apartment, and my boyfriend – more on that whole story in an upcoming post), but it has helped me with small things too, from finding a mover to deciding which museum to visit on a rainy day.
Facebook just doesn’t do that for me. I get done with a session of scrolling through Facebook and not only do I feel like an hour of my life was just sucked into a black whole, but I usually also end up feeling worse about myself then I did when I got on.
When I really think about it, other than reconnecting me with a few key friends from my past and giving me occasional warm fuzzies over a baby or a cute puppy, Facebook really hasn’t done anything to enhance my life.
And apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way. In conversations I’ve been having over the past few days, as the words “Facebook makes me feel like crap” cross my lips, I’ve seen lights of recognition going off in the faces of the people I’m talking to. They’ve felt the same way, but couldn’t pinpoint it and didn’t know how to explain it.
Here’s why I think Facebook may make us feel like crap:
- It isn’t useful. It has never helped me solve a problem, answer a question, find something I’m looking for, or meet someone new.
- It’s too slow. I like conversations that feel like growing surges of energy, and that usually only happens when people respond back and forth quickly. Facebook to me is like watching a tennis match in which someone lobs the ball over the net and the other person just sits there and stares at it for a few hours before hitting the ball back, if they even decide to hit it back at all.
- It’s a socially acceptable form of bragging. Even when people are well-intentioned and are really meaning to share and not brag, sharing can end up feeling like bragging to the reader, just like a never ending Christmas update letter. Facebook’s slowness and lack of usefulness seem to amplify how much sharing starts to feel like bragging. I think what usually ends up making people feel like crap is that when they get off Facebook they feel like they just spent a lot of time finding out how inferior and less awesome their life is compared to everyone else’s. The picture isn’t accurate, but it feels crappy nonetheless.
I say all of this not to dissuade people from using Facebook. In fact, if Facebook makes you feel good, go for it.
But that’s exactly my point. Sometimes we start using these tools because we feel like we have to. And other than a few business cases where it may make sense to be on a platform you don’t love so much in order to reach your customer base, the majority of the time, what makes the most sense is to use a platform you like and that enhances your life and makes you feel good. At their best, online social platforms facilitate and amplify building connections, both online and off. In the end, what we’re all actually striving for are meaningful relationships that help us have meaningful lives, so use the tools that help you do that.