Managing Incoming Information; What Is Facebook For?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009.  I have a friend who recently joined Facebook and she’s not sure exactly how it works.  Why do all these people want to be my friends? It’s just a networking gambit, so if you’re on there to network and bring attention to your website, just accept new friends.  What if they only have stupid things to say.  I don’t want to read all that from everyone. Just use the “hide” feature to hide them from your news feed.  I have 743 “friends” yet less than a dozen on my news feed.  On my news feed, I have a handful of friends I actually know and rarely get to see in person.  I use Facebook to stay in touch with them, and I like hearing about the goofy things they do throughout their day.  I like hearing what they think about what they do and what they think about what they see around them.  I like knowing what Aimee from childhood is having for lunch and what she does at work.  It gives me a glimpse of their real lives, lives that I don’t  otherwise have time to keep track of.

Not everyone uses Facebook the same way.  I use it as a purely social tool.  A lot of business owners and other professionals I know use it the same way.  Many of my media friends, publicists, etc. all use it purely for socializing.  Now Facebook may be where they make all sorts of good professional connections, but they will check each other’s websites as listed in their Facebook profile.  They will email the person directly, not though Facebook, if they are interested in doing business with them.

Then there are those new entrepreneurs who have been told by high pressure types that Facebook is a great place to solicit and market themselves.  Their posts are always promotional.  Some of them use a lot of ALL CAPS and exclamation points!!  They give you no glimpse of who they really are.  Even a couple of my “real” friends do that.  And not all the time.  But enough that I hide them from my news feed.  Oh, I can read them anytime I want by going to their wall or “checking hidden posts” at the bottom of the Facebook home page.  And maybe I miss some interesting posts.  But I simply don’t want to be solicited when I go to Facebook, so I keep them hidden.

For me, Facebook is a break in the work day.  I understand I am not in a typical business and I have a lot of advantages.  As a publisher, it’s my job to find interesting, illuminating writers to turn other people onto via Horizons Magazine.  So I already combine what I love to do with being a workaholic and it works out well.  So for a break, even for a few moments, I go to Facebook and see what the local gang is up to.  And I don’t want to read what everyone is promoting.

So who’s right and who’s wrong?  It’s not a question of what’s right and wrong.  It’s the same as sitting with a group of friends in the library or in church.  Some of them know how to behave in the place and some don’t.  We’re lucky that, in life as in Facebook, we have the choice to hide from our news feed anything we don’t want to be exposed to.

We can choose to keep our attention on what we prefer and what we like, and simply “hide” info we don’t care about.  Hide? I hear you saying.  You can’t hide from reality. That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about, as Abraham-Hicks says, being a selective sifter of the input you accept into your conscious awareness.  I don’t have to change the behavior of anyone around me.  I don’t need to quiet the screaming meamie on the corner.  That’s not my job.  No one is asking me to do it.   I can just choose to focus on other things.

Let the screaming meamies have their say.  Just hide them from your news feed.

That leaves lots more room for useful input.

I’m just discovering Facebook
Facebook quizzes; every little bit of insight helps
Facebook posts; I’m in charge of what I attract
Facebook friends to the rescue, helping me Excel
If a Friend Asks For $$ In Facebook, Ask A Personal Question
You Want To Be My Friend On Facebook?
How To Stop The Stupid Facebook Posts On Your Wall
The Zen of Farmville on Facebook? WTF?
Are Your Facebook Friends Really Your Friends? Don’t Assume Mine Are Either
What I post on Facebook
Finding childhood buds on Facebook, flashback to age 18
Putting personal details on Facebook and Myspace
Is it ok to break up with someone over Facebook?
Why I like Facebook

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