I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. More accurately it is a like/dislike relationship.
I remember when I first discovered Facebook. It was exciting and exhilarating to reconnect with friends and acquaintances from high school and university, that I hadn’t seen or talked to in years. In fact, Facebook connected me with two friends that I was very close to and had lost touch with. Our friendship has been rekindled and I applaud Facebook for that.
But….. what about all my other ‘friends’. In the beginning, it was thrilling to get friend requests. I was so happy to hear from old friends and classmates that I accepted all friend requests. After the initial excitement of saying hello and catching up a little the excitement seemed to wear off. I realized that there was probably a reason why we had lost touch. We really didn’t have that much in common anymore. Then began the endless status updates, pictures of someone’s lunch, arbitrary comments such as, ” Day 26 of 30″.
Then came my first posting of pictures of my kids. I guess I should have checked with my husband first. They were promptly removed. According to his contacts at one of the world’s largest software companies, they do not have a Facebook account, never will and certainly will not allow their kids to have one. Why? Security!!
Fast forward…… I rarely, if ever use Facebook now. I am apprehensive about putting up a vacation album because I don’t want my ‘friends’ to think I am bragging. I don’t put pictures of my kids up because, well, I really don’t know anymore that person who I was really good friends with in high school and so I am not comfortable with them looking at pictures of my kids. But, these are things I would like to share with my friends and family; vacation photos, kids ski races, soccer games etc. And, I am genuinely interested in what is going on in their lives. The problem is I have 339 friends, most of whom aren’t good friends and who I really don’t want to share info with. I did a quick calculation and there are only about 100 people that I really want to have as Facebook friends. And so, I pretty much stopped using Facebook. I think that I got so overwhelmed with all the nonsense of Facebook and what it entails that I just threw in the towel and quit.
Recently, I have been thinking about what I am missing out on. I don’t take the time to look at my good friends’ new posts or photos etc. because there is too much other information to wade through. So my question is, “Do I continue to ignore Facebook or do I re-evaluate and start over?”. Should I ‘de-friend’ some of my old high school and university friends, and old work colleagues? Will they know I did it? Will I regret it?
What I really want is fewer ‘friends’ but more in-depth communications with good friends. I wonder how many other people feel the same way?
I decided to ask my goddaughter who is in first year university what her opinion of Facebook is? Incidentally, the most-connected age group of Facebook users are between 18 and 24 years and they have an average of 649 friends (Pew Research, 2014). According to her, she has 600 friends. (How do you even know 600 people when you are 18?) I had to laugh. Interestingly, she then went on to tell me that she and her friends don’t really use Facebook anymore for the same reasons I outlined. They only really use it to organize a group at school or an event. Instead, she told me, they prefer Instagram and she has narrowed her friends down in an intimate, 300. I asked her how she viewed these two groups, the 600 and the 300. Did she view Facebook as a way of communicating with close friends or a way of sharing simple exchanges such as: what she did on the weekend or what her plans were that night. She commented that she really didn’t even use Facebook for that anymore and that Instagram was really just a means of self-promotion. “If I want to communicate with my friends, I just text them,” she said. Interesting. “How many people do you consider to be good friends that you would text or email,” I asked? “Oh, about 30,” she responded. Funny thing…….. I guess we aren’t that different after all.
Here are some interesting stats about Facebook from Zephoria.com..
- Worldwide, there are over 1.39 billion monthly active Facebook users (MAUs) which is a 13 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook)
- 4.5 billion likes generated daily as of May 2013 which is a 67 percent increase from August 2012 (Source: Facebook)
- 890 million people log onto Facebook daily (DAU) for December 2014, which represents a 18% increase year over year. (Source: Facebook)
- There are 1.9 billion mobile active users (MAU) (Source: Facebook)
- In Europe, over 223 million people are on Facebook.(Source: Facebook)
- Age 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic. (Source: Facebook)
- Five new profiles are created every second. (Source: Facebook)
- Facebook users are 53% female and 47% male. (Source: Facebook)
- Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm. (Source: Facebook)
- On Thursdays and Fridays, engagement is 18% higher. (Source: Facebook)
- There are 83 million fake profiles. (Source: Facebook)
- Photo uploads total 300 million per day. (Source: Gizmodo)
- Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes. (Source: Infodocket)
- Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny)
- 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily as of May 2013 which is a 94 percent increase from August 2012. (Source: Facebook)
- 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up. (Source: The Social Skinny)
- One in five page views in the United States occurs on Facebook. (Source: Infodocket 2012)
- 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. (Source: State of Inbound Marketing 2012)
- 16 Million local business pages have been created as of May 2013 which is a 100 percent increase from 8 million in June 2012. (Source: Facebook)
- 7.5 million promoted posts have been made from June 2012 to May 2013. (Source: Facebook)
What has your experience been with Facebook? Should I go through a ‘un-friending’ or try something else less drastic?