Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Reclaiming my social media identity: Facebook

Well hello, sweet Planetarians, from A Certain Mother who's just spent a long day tending to two sick pixies and herself. Thankfully I can report that my surgeon is pleased with my poor paw's recovery. The pain I've been experiencing is all in the *normal* recovery range. Apparently, I won't regain full hand strength and settling of the scar tissue for another 3-4 months. The sweet relief of knowing that I haven't messed up my recovery by doing too much, too soon is great. Anyway, tonight I want to follow up my post the other day about reclaiming my social media identity. I've been fascinated by your comments - it seems that so many of us are confounded by this issue. 
Emboldened by your ideas and my own, today I've started grappling with some of the things which really irk me about Facebook. 

I'm not done yet but already I feel freer and lighter. That has to be positive, right? 

I thought I'd share what I've done with you.

Reducing the number of fan pages I have *liked*

This morning, I realised that over the past few years, the number of FB fan pages I had *liked* totalled 223. Just ridiculous, really. No wonder my newsfeed felt so cluttered and overwhelming with information from these 223 pages streaming in, not to mention the news of my 330 friends.

It creeps up on you, doesn't it? I'm happy to follow the fan pages for my favourite blogs in the main. But sometimes, what's published there is exactly the same as what pops up in my Google Reader each day. So I'm doubling up on the same information. Not a smart move.

And then there are all the pages I've *liked* over time, often as a condition of entering a giveaway on someone's blog. The competitions end but I still end up *liking* the fan page, mostly because I forget I've done so.

My solution? Well today, I spent quite some time painfully *unliking* numerous fan pages. I couldn't find a way to do it with a bulk select so I had to do it manually. Now I'm down to 104 pages - less than half of this morning's amount. That's a good start. 

I may *unlike* more in the days ahead. I'd just spent enough time on it today and needed a break. Culling the fan pages is like dental surgery - you loathe it but it's necessary. 

Limiting the information in my newsfeed from my FB friends

As of this morning, this had blown out to 330. That's just plain unmanageable. Ludicrous, even. No wonder I've been feeling anxious on Facebook. My brain can't possibly absorb the incessant influx of information from so many sources. My little synapses must really be freaking out. That way madness lies!

My interim measure today has been to remove distant friends' posts from showing up in my newsfeed. You know the ones - the people you used to work with years ago but haven't spoken to since, the vague acquaintances you've had a fleeting connection with and the friends-of-friends. I didn't count how many friends' settings I altered but it was a goodly number.

But the real solution will be to cull my friends. Ooh, that sounds so harsh. But I know I have to.

Deleting the information in my information settings
I also did a tidy-up of the information my friends can see in my public profile. I've never been one to fill in every detail of my favourite interests, people, books and the like. But I still decided to cut back on the limited information I had there. I feel better now.

What next?

I now plan to:
  • post a status update several times in the near future advising my friends that I am reorganising my FB use by having both personal and Life on Planet Baby blog fan pages;
  • invite those who want to remain my personal FB friends to *like* that status update and/or comment on it;
  • advise that anyone who doesn't respond will be 'unfriended' (a terrible word!);
  • invite those who want to follow my Life on Planet Baby blog fan page to *like* it; and
  • finally publish the draft Life on Planet Baby fan page I've had in mothballs for ages now. I may link my Etsy shop to it once it's up and running to avoid having a separate FB page for the shop. I'll see how I go.
My time for prevarication is over. I need to do this. I want to streamline my FB experience, reduce the time I spend there, feel I have more control over it and enjoy it again!

If any of you are considering doing something similar, these posts are helpful:
And if you want to learn more about the phenomenon of anxiety caused by social media overload, do read the sage Leo Babauta's insightful post Beating the Anxiety of Online Reading. It's a ripper!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my plans and how you're handling such Facebook dilemmas. Your discussion on my last post about social media was just fascinating - I can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...