Beth Meadows

Relationship Status with Facebook: On Very Thin Ice

Beth MeadowsComment

So how are we feeling about Facebook these days? I'd like to know.

Not too long ago, I was scrolling through Instagram and stopped on a friend's photo of mostly blue sky and the top of a tree. The caption proclaimed that after checking Facebook everyday for over a decade, she had decided to Deactivate. She was free!

I'm pretty jealous of her. 

I check Facebook less and less these days, but I still check it multiple times a day. I know it's an obsessive compulsion, so about six months ago, I took the app off my phone. It's helped, I guess, but now I just view it in my web browser, which now keeps me logged in. I don't know the exact numbers, but I probably have gone from checking it 100 times a day to 10 times a day. Big difference, still sad for how unfulfilling it is. 

So why don't I break up with Facebook? 

Ultimately, I've stuck with it for two main reasons: to keep in touch with old friends, some I may never see again, and because I have a Business Page. 

The distant friends are from my hometown or ones I met while traveling, mostly from studying abroad ten years ago. It's sort of fun to lazily re-connect every now and then with them. A "Memory" pops up. A foreign friend shares it, and everyone "Likes" it and we say, "Let's have a reunion!" (Like! Like! Like!) but that never happens. 

(Sidebar- I just opened Facebook and quickly closed it. A post for another day, but why do I do this while I'm doing things I want to be doing? Out with friends, in my studio, while I'm writing. No matter what good Facebook offers, this should be enough to make me quit.)

I also have a wildly unsuccessful Facebook Business Page. I decided to keep it so that when that one person every eight months searches for me on there, they will find me. And maybe the 50th person who does that will buy a lot of my artwork. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket, fool!

But I'm really half-assing playing this game. Most of the time, I'm not really assing it at all, so ultimately, it just makes me feel bad, especially when I post something and get three likes. From two of my friends and my sister. (Y'all are so sweet, by the way. Love you!)

Over the past few years, I've placed myself under the tutelage of a couple of nerdy older men who have helped me tremendously. David Allen of Getting Things Done (changed my life) and now Michael Hyatt of the podcast This is Your Life (are you who you waaannnaaaa beeeeee!!!??? hahahha). I love them both dearly for what they have taught me. 

So Michael recently told me (I'm going to pretend we are BFF's) that he decided to limit his personal friends on Facebook and grow his Business Page. 

At first I thought, "Now this is a great idea, and I'm down. I want 250 personal friends (which means de-friending over 750) and I want to focus on growing my Business Page."

Just looked. He has 13,533 Followers. I have 382. I'm SO close! (lies down. sleeps for days.)

So I started the great De-Friending of 2016. But then I began to worry about who I might offend by doing this. A larger part of me doesn't care (because it's for the greater good), but the ever-conflicted part of me tells me I should. How can I de-friend a bunch of people and expect them to still support me as an Artist?

But here's the kicker, and I've thought about this for many, many years. When you have a business, your audience should be so much bigger and broader than your close community. Of course, the support from friends and family is so precious and appreciated, but it can also be misleading. I admit that at times, I've ignorantly based my confidence as an Artist on how supportive these people have been to me, but I can't survive as a business off of sweet and loving pats on the back. I need to exceed these bounds. I need to reach the millions of people I don't know (... that have money).

Artists put so much into what they make. The thought process, the research, the gathering of tools and materials, the hours of labor, the hours of installing. A lot of it is methodical process, but it also can be deeply emotional as well.

Then they must choose the five most effective ways (out of 500) to promote this thing that has taken them so long to develop. It's too hard and we're tired! (lies down. cries. goes to sleep.)

Back to Facebook...

Recently I heard two entrepreneurs say how ineffective Facebook has been for their businesses. I wonder how many other businesses feel this way.

I'll tell you who Facebook is good for. It is a wonderful place to be if you're a mom with kids, or you're pregnant, or you just got engaged, or you just had a baby. This is what the people want and these few are making bank with the Likes. 

But if we've learned anything, it is that a unique Like is the shallowest form of human connection and not all that satisfying at the end of the day. There doesn't have to be any Real Life Interaction, a thing we all are desperate for, to back it up. And for businesses, Likes don't necessarily mean monetary investment from the Likers, and I don't know if y'all know this, but money is pretty integral to running a business. I'll go so far to say, it won't work without it.

I don't have a clear conclusion about all of this yet, just a feeling of dissatisfaction. Facebook and I are growing apart, and I know it's not going to pull the trigger. It's behaving like a passive boyfriend who wants to break up with me but wants me to do it. Why are you such a jerk, Facebook?

I'd love to know how you're feeling about FB these day.

Maybe we can take the leap off and away from it together. We can hold real life hands while we do it. 

What could this breakup mean for us? I'm not sure, but I think it might look like tops of trees and limitless blue skies.