Something big happened this week.
Just a little past my three-year Facebook Quitaversary…
I went back.
That’s right – I am back on Facebook. I myself don’t even know how I feel about this yet, but it’s true. I just know I had to write a blog about it, because the whole reason this blog exists (in its now hundreds-of-posts-deep glory) is because I quit Facebook.
Okay, first things first – the blog is not going anywhere.
I had to go back to Facebook, you see. You’ve heard it here before: this past year has been a doozy for me professionally. It’s been unpredictable, disappointing, challenging, rewarding, exhausting. UP! DOWN! UP! DOWN! UP!
The drama all started in the Facebook-free glory days of April 2014, and here I am, a year later, still alive, with a bigger job, a better title, a much bigger salary… But I don’t have it nailed. I am learning and struggling a little bit every day, and figuring out what it means to own the role that’s being demanded of me. And be the leader I know my team needs.
This is my reality now: I am leading brand initiatives for a major e-commerce retailer in the Bay Area, and my job includes heading our social media strategy. And I have to kick ass at it – whether this is the job I want to “own” forever, or I want to own a different one. It’s the one I’ve got right now, so as much as I’ve far preferred my Facebook-free life…
I can’t be a social media leader and not be on social media.
(OMG! Modern corporate dilemmas!)
I actually tried, though. I got pretty damn far, cheating the Facebook system with a fake account. My alter ego is responsible for doubling our brand’s organic post reach in one month – no small achievement in the modern landscape of Facebook’s airtight post algorithm.
My alter ego is good (I’ll ask her if she’s open to new opportunities).
BUT – she can’t proclaim her accomplishments to the world. And I need to proclaim mine. I’m a modern, childfree 30-something in the golden land of startups and IPOs. As good as I believe I am, I’m still a little fish in a big pond, and if I want to be caught by my dream job some day, I need some flashy fins.
So I’m back on the blue drug. But it definitely doesn’t feel like it did before. Here are some things I learned about my personal relationships from my three years Facebook-free that are guiding this experiment in the new era…
- “Friends” are made in real life, not on the internet. Forging a digital connection with someone I’ve met once just so they can offer banal commentary on photos of me serves no purpose in my life other than to feed my own (or my friends’) narcissism and insecurity. For this reason, I unfriended about 100 people when I logged back into my account and I don’t feel the least bit bad about it (Hey – congrats! If I didn’t unfriend you, we are actually friends in my book!).
- “Real” communication really is not dead. I used it to keep in touch with a large majority of the people I was/am friends with on Facebook over the last three years. I liked it. They liked it. Email, phone calls, EVEN SNAIL MAIL! All of these tools strengthened our bonds. They took greater thought and a greater time commitment and for that reason, I will not abandon them.
- There is no such thing as privacy in the Information Age. Now that I’m on the corporate side of social media, I view Facebook much more suspiciously than I did before. Knowing what I have access to as a marketer, I’m much more guarded not just about the images and opinions I share personally, but about the data web waiting to ensnare my friends, as well. I will be quieter in the new era, more guarded, for all our sakes. A new best practice.
- True friendship has no pace – once cemented, it is an entity in and of itself that envelops two people and grows with them. It does not need to be “fed” with any regular amount of contact. It does not require content injections, whether they be comments or likes or posts or whatever. It’s always there, embracing you, cushioning you, buoying you up. When you need it, you have it, without fail. If you don’t believe a friendship can exist this way, then you haven’t experienced a true one. Like these…
My three years without Facebook were better than my three years with it, but I have to believe that because of that, I am a smarter and better friend. That’s why I left in the first place. I (think) I know how to use it now to accomplish my goals without sacrificing the precious growth I’ve experienced personally.
And so, here goes…
Into the Blue!