This is an interesting question to me. It’s actually something I’ve pondered for years now. I think I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook (fb). My favorite things are posting photos of my son and seeing photos from my friends and family. For that, it is golden.
In fact, there have been many evenings over the last 5+ years were I have sat down to look through our family albums on fb. It’s convenient and free. When I initially uploaded the pictures and videos, I was very organized, so it’s easy for me to go back and see videos of when my son was 5 weeks old, or 2 years old. Ah!! The emotion of that sweet little face!! He loves to watch them too.
Were it not for Facebook, I’m not sure how often I would access these old pictures and images. I’ve got camera cards stashed here and there but it’s definitely not convenient or well-labeled. I’m sure there are third party sites you could pay for a similar service, but then of course, it’s easier to share on Facebook.
Why is it even a question whether or not we should get off of Facebook and stop using it altogether?
I remember an email I received 2-3 years ago now, where a fellow coaching colleague wrote a beautiful post on her website about why she was leaving Facebook. It wasn’t judgmental. It wasn’t accusatory or negative. It was quite simply a decision she made due to personal reflection. It wasn’t serving her.
What a phrase – it wasn’t serving her.
I remember being simultaneously in support of her decision and slightly envious that she could do that. At the time, and even now, I had a lot of business connections on Facebook. It was on fb that I connected with my Amazon sellers’ communities, got access to new trainings and webinars, formed mastermind groups and so forth.
In my work with the mom entrepreneur audience, I made social posts, ran ads to get new leads and formed fb groups for personal communication. It didn’t seem feasible to me to simply leave fb.
Add to that there was a growing sense of comparison envy going around as well. I don’t know if this is isolated to the mom community but I suspect not.
Pictures and status updates of your child reading at age 3 made family and friends proud and happy for your share. Yet, it made other moms feel, well…. yucky. I’m guilty of it too. There was one particular family I was friends with where I had to constantly monitor my own thoughts and judgments to bend towards kindness.
In truth, they were our friends, though, as so often happens on Facebook, we hadn’t seen them in years. In truth, they were genuinely nice, kind and warm people. In truth, they were real people and had their share of stresses and life circumstance.
BUT, on Facebook they were ‘the perfects’. At least, that’s how I saw them! And I would sometimes call them that to my husband, in jest. Knowing it was a light jest and we actually did like them. Yes, I feel guilty for it. Name calling is never nice. And no I don’t call them that any longer.
Their pictures showed the mom with her sewing machine making these gorgeous monogrammed hand-made perfectly color coordinating dresses and hair bows. It showed them making Christmas cookies from scratch by dozens and dozens. It showed them being fit and healthy, during pregnancy, running 8 minute miles not long after, and going on weekend romantic escapes while the grandparents kept the kids!
Wow – it was the perception of it all.
The ego gets in the way. We all have one. And even though we may be practicing mindfulness and kindness, we also fall into the human trap of comparisons, judgments and persnicketiness.
My husband and I were NOT like this family at all! Our house was often messy. I was a pretty lousy cook, ruining most homemade cookie recipes I ever attempted. My son, while cute, was often dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. And a romantic weekend!! Ha! We didn’t have grandparents to depend on to watch our child overnight. My husband’s parents had passed away, my father had passed away, and my mother lived out of town.
In fairness, my husband and I knew going into parenthood, that we got started late. I had Benjamin when I was 36 and my husband was 44. We knew we did not have extended family support to that degree… and while it would have been wonderful we were pretty much on our own, save for a few hours once in a while when Ben would visit with friends.
What does this have to do with getting off Facebook?
It’s ridiculous isn’t it?
That one family’s fb photos could drive such conversation. I have two cousins who are both moms, who have been off Facebook for years now. They just simply decided it made them feel bad more often than it made them feel good.
And that’s not even getting into the political posts and statements! Wow.
In the past 6 months, I have been working with intensive focus on growing my website for mom entrepreneurs, called The Radiant Mompreneur. My coach at the time suggested I might get a lot of benefit by joining more mom-centered Facebook groups and getting to know people. The idea was that I would be helpful. I would reach out with advice, solutions, and serve others in that way. I would get to know people in these communities, make new connections, new affiliates, new business contacts and help build my reputation in that industry.
Did it work?
Yes and no.
I did join lots of fb groups. I did participate. I did feel pretty good about it in general, but I did not love it.
But a strange thing happened. I had joined so many groups (maybe more than a dozen, plus my previous groups I was already in), that every time I logged into fb I would have all of these notifications. Tons and tons of notifications of constant communications from individuals in the groups.
Some were inspirational quotes. Some were business owners going ‘live’ on fb. Some were questions seeking advice. And some were individuals who said they would love to connect (write a blog post for my site, be interviewed on my podcast, etc.) but many didn’t follow through and needed chasing.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it didn’t take long for this to become exhausting to me. Just mentally. It was so much noise.
Mind you, these are people who I might otherwise positively love. But in the context of Facebook, it began to feel like work. A lot of work. And not the good kind.
Not the kind of work that inspires you, motivates you, makes you feel like you are in the flow with good energy.
More and more, there was something inside of me that was saying… “Be done with this. There has got to be another way. This is simply not good for you.”
Yet, comically enough, at the exact same time, I was taking an intensive online training on how to grow your email list with Facebook ads!
I felt so much in conflict!
Can you run your business without Facebook?
That is the real question isn’t it? If it’s just for personal use, you can log on once a day, 12 times a day or once a week.
But if it’s for business, you are tied to it. You are dependent on it. You are bound by it.
I loved the idea of getting leads from fb. Yes, I had to pay for the ads, but if I converted a sale, and grew my list, it was a big win.
I remembered this post I saw in the fb group “Internet Marketing Super Friends,” where someone posed the question – “Do you have to use fb to grow your online business? Are there really no other reliable ways?”
I don’t recall the response but the question itself really echoed to me that, YES, there were others out there feeling this pull. This tug to get away from this dependency.
What did online entrepreneurs do before Facebook anyway? Google Ads? Blogs for driving traffic. Yes, and yes.
But Facebook is so easy.
Yesterday I was brainstorming how I could serve others in real-time communications without using Facebook groups. Forums, I thought. Surely there is a website plug-in that would allow me to have a free or paid forum on my site. I posted the question in the Internet Marketing Super Friends group.
The answers came… first one, “I’m not sure what you want to use it for (the website forum), but my first thought is, don’t do it. Use a Facebook group instead – go where the people already are.” Also, “forums are a lot of work to keep members active” and “pick your poison (Facebook or forums)” and “I will never do a forum again!”
Okay, clearly Facebook gets the popular vote and for good reason. People ARE there already. People ARE clicking ads. They ARE talking in groups. They definitely are active.
Plus, Facebook k-n-o-w-s you. Yep, there sure as heck do.
You can create custom audiences for people who like anything and everything, at any age, any location in the world, even down to the magazines they read or the food they eat. With that kind of information, you’d be nuts to leave facebook’s marketing tools.
So, what did I decide to do? Did I jump ship? Am I getting fb leads from ads? Am I in the groups, hustling?
At the moment, I feel very much in transition. But that transition and processing time is giving way to action.
I have felt very much at unease these last months, business-wise.
Personally, I have been struggling with months (4+ months) of pregnancy nausea and sickness. It’s been a strange time of deep gratitude and joy for this little one we are expecting. AND a time of great fatigue, physical sickness and misery.
From it, business decisions have lacked real teeth. Business hours have been greatly reduced and all in all I just feel, not quite myself.
I’m starting to think of it as a blessing. It’s been a time to take stock, to re-assess. What is it I really want? And how do I want to spend my time? And what is it I’m creating here? Is this about money (no doubt – super important for paying the bills) or about purpose, or both or more than that?
Something about Facebook feels ‘off’ and despite this long essay on the in’s and out’s and the why’s and wherefore’s, I’m not sure there’s really a better way to sum it up than that. It just feels off.
This week I started taking action. I posted my apologies, farewells and sincere well-wishes in a number of smaller Facebook groups. “I just wanted to say thank you so much for the connections and the helpfulness I’ve found in this group. At this time, after some reflection, I’ve decided to reduce the number of Facebook groups I’m in just as a personal decision. You guys are awesome and I wish you the best!”
How did people respond? 🙂 I have no idea.
Immediately after writing that, I unjoined the group. For larger groups, I didn’t post anything, I just left.
I think I’ve left about 8 or 9 this week alone and already I’m feeling better.
Will I do something more drastic? Maybe.
This new project, The Truth About Living, is teaching me a lot. I’m not coming into it with a marketing strategy. More about that later.
Nothing wrong with strategy. Strategy is GOOD in business!
I just needed to show up differently in the world than I was. Different from keyword research for Yoast. Different from ‘get these free things and buy this now!’ Different from everything I was doing.
This represents the real me. And if you found it and you like me, great. And if you love me, even better. And if not, you’ll move along, which is okay too.
It feels good.
Will I leave faceboook? Probably not completely. I still love the family and friends aspect. Heck, maybe you’ll even get here because I’ll do an occasional Facebook ad.
But full reliance on it? 38 times a day checking it? Making it my primary source of business generation. I can’t do it right now. And I think that’s a good thing.
Would you like a forum on this site? Is Facebook just the right fit for you, or is it starting to drive you bananas too? I’m curious.