First Days Of Facebook

Liking Facebook

So…last week I re-friended Facebook. I’ve been back on for a few days now. And – surprise – I have some thoughts. Mostly good. [Like.]

Commenting On Facebook

Being off Facebook for six months was a long break. In Facebook’s absence, my web-social time was spent on Twitter and WordPress. So now there’s good competition for my time. More on that later.

I restarted my new Facebook account from scratch. That part is nice, having a squeaky clean fresh Newsfeed and Timeline. The app is now on my phone, and I sent out many Friend Requests and filled out my basic profile info – the metadata of me.

It’s great to be connected again to all my friends and family so I can see what they’re up to, how they’re doing, and easily share with them. It’s especially nice to stay in touch with the many people I know who live far away.

I rejoined just in time to catch some birthdays, and I caught up on a lot of good photos I had missed out on this past Summer! I also became an active member of a Group I had been absent from. So there are a lot of cool, fun, or useful things on Facebook that I’m enjoying.

Also, in 30 days or so, Facebook Marketplace will open up. To avoid scamming, the Marketplace is designed to wait a month before allowing new Facebook users access to it. That’s smart. And this is one reason why I like it. The people you buy or sell with are connected and vetted to some degree, which helps make the process safer. I have not used Craigslist in years!

In my short time being one of the billions of people on the social network, I was reminded of a few downsides to it. These are not surprising, but I’m going to need to work on them. The first one was mentioned above: time.

Facebook, like all social media, is designed to take up your time and attention. It can be addicting. I’ve received a ton of red notification numbers and banners on my phone and on the web browser. Granted, this is higher than usual activity since my account is new again. Once the honeymoon phase wears off, things will quiet down a bit. But I will likely need to adjust settings and moderate my behavior so I don’t get distracted by what can feel like the party on Facebook.

The other thing I will be proactive about is the Newsfeed. That thing is still a cacophony of posts! So many memes, posters, and silly pix and vidz! Facebook made it so you can friend yet not follow. In other words, you can connect with others to see their Timeline, Message them, or join a Group with them, but you don’t have to see their posts in your Newsfeed. This helps keep a good signal-to-noise ratio. Oh, and I’ll try to not contribute too much noise myself.

Checking Facebook

Overall, I’m enjoying my fresh friend-and-family-feed one week in! My goal is to be active but not too active. And when the shine grows dull, I’ll take a break if I need to – without deleting! For a time, I can be inactive yet not deactivate.

Let’s call this Social Media Moderation. Or Social Network/life Balance.

And I’ll leave you with a quote:

“…even if you don’t want to actively use Facebook, it’s one of those services that you basically have to sign up for. Like email.” – M.G. Siegler

That, I think, is more or less a truism these days. Facebook, like email, is a social utility. For better or worse. I’ll focus on the better!

Where do you stand on Facebook? Love to hate it? Hate to love it? Can’t live with or without it? Share below, or drop me a line here! Thanks for reading!

Refriending Facebook

Refriend Request

Alright, guess what? Six months after deleting my Facebook, I rejoined. Again. Resist no more; I’m gonna give this relationship another try. And next time I get moody and sour on The Social Network, I’ll deactivate instead of deleting. Because I always return. So why did I cave in once more?

Hello, Everyone

As I wrote last week about the social pressure getting to me, I had two options: Return-Rejoin-Refriend or Resist-Refuse-Retreat. The reasons for signing back up for Facebook are simple. My friends and family are networked together and benefit from the convenience of social utilities: Marketplace, Groups, Pages.

My Kyokushin Karate class has a Facebook Page; no other website exists. I missed out on some engagement there.

Our local Pokemon League has a Facebook Group. When not playing at league meet-ups, my wife enjoys info shared in the Group online. I’ve missed out on that.

And I love the Facebook Marketplace. I’m a sucker for value and amazing deals on gently used stuff that people I’m connected to are selling or buying. It totally replaces Craigslist for me.

Another draw is being able to stay in touch with family living overseas. We email, but not much. There’s more staying-in-touch on Facebook with photos and posts and such. I’ve missed that too.

Those are just a few examples; there are more! Practically, everyone is on Facebook. Most of all, my friends and family are there. It’s the easiest way to share photos with them.

I explain this more in my blog post from last October. It sums up why I am rejoining Facebook again.

To see how cyclical my Facebook relationship has been, first joining 10 years ago, here it is for the record, so far:

  1. First Account: Fall 2009 – Spring 2011
  2. Second Account: Summer 2011 – Fall 2015
  3. Third Account: Winter 2015 – Spring 2018
  4. Fourth Account: Summer 2018 – Spring 2019
  5. Fifth Account: Fall 2019 – ?

Each time I deleted my account (never just deactivated), I only stayed off Facebook for 3 to 6 months. Through all my back-and-forth, my wife has remained on Facebook for 10 years, despite all the privacy woes and the like. She’s never been hurt or hacked by it. Instead, I’ve seen her benefit and enjoy it overall.

Friend Request

I know Facebook is not without its flaws. I’ll focus on the positives and be careful to view the bad in the balanced light of the good. Granted, there will likely be more data breaches, security scandals, and privacy problems. And I’ll probably grow tired of the memes and melodrama. Cat videos, though, I could use more of.

Facebook has the market cornered on connecting online with people I care about. It has its upsides! So instead of beating Facebook, I’m joining.

Extra: Do you remember the movie The Social Network starring Jesse Eisenberg? I love that movie. I think I’ll watch it again to commemorate my return to Facebook. Is that cheesy or dumb? Well, I do that sort of thing sometimes. I’m one of those weird human persons, ya know?

Have you or anyone you know ever quit and rejoined Facebook? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

One Year Of Blogging

Posting Perseverance

If you will indulge this self-congratulatory post with me, I’d like to mark a personal milestone in the discipline of blogging. Because as of yesterday, I have now blogged regularly for 12 straight months! I stuck with it and pushed through writing slumps and periods of doubt. So, what’s next?

To Blog

Being consistent is not my greatest strength. And blogging is optional. So of all the blogs I’ve started over the years, each endeavor to write my passions has flamed out in short time.

Like many bloggers, when I’ve had a blog go defunct, I’d dust it off and return with a feeble Note of Hiatus, trying to pick up where I left off. And that usually didn’t last too long.

But I always return to my love of crafting words on the web, sharing and connecting with fellow thinkers and writers with common interests and experiences. Sometimes the only same trait has been blogging itself, which is enough.

Because of the steady tendency to blog, when I returned again last Fall, I purposed in myself to stick with it. And I meant it. So I lowered the bar on blogging to make it as easy as possible.

With my renewed resolve and maximum chance of success, the clock started over October 13, 2018 with my Return To Blogging post. In that post I noted three changes I was making to avoid yet another break in blogging. Of those three, only one has remained in effect!


Now that I’ve actually made my goal of blogging for one year solid, where do I go from here? To be honest, my next goal was simply to continue through December 31 so I could then have accomplished the ‘cleaner’ stint of One Calendar Year of Blogging.

After that: inertia! I will keep on keepin’ on with the blog. And as usual, I will probably change the design theme and make some new mini-goals to keep things fresh. I don’t wanna get bored and bogged down. Yet since I’ve made a habit of publishing my ponderings online, my mind’s muscle memory is developed. That helps me stick with it.

So raise a glass of your fave fluid with me! Here’s to another year of blogging!

How long have you been blogging? What keeps you going? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

The Social Pressure Is Getting To Me

Socially Compelled

Alright, I’ve got a bit of a confession. After deleting my Facebook account almost 6 months ago, I started feeling drawn to rejoin. Perish the thought! I’ve already admitted to the cycle I have, like bouncing back and forth in an unhealthy relationship. So I think I need an intervention. Will the cycle ever end?

The Network Effect Of Everyone

I have not rejoined the world’s largest social network. Yet. I’m resisting the pull. But I can’t help wonder why this urge returned. It’s a little perplexing yet not surprising. Just, why?

I have good reasons to not be on Facebook. And I think some of them apply to everybody. But though I can articulate them in writing, as I did here, I find it harder to tell someone face to face why I’m against Facebook or why it’s so off-putting and should be avoided by all.

I feel like capitulating. Like, everyone is on Facebook. Not only that, there are some bonafide good uses of the platform simply because everyone you know is there. I’m talking about Groups and Pages and Marketplace. The network effect is real.

These three examples of Facebook’s utility are not unique. Elsewhere, the internet offers similar options that provide the same features. But honestly, I don’t know of any that are better or easier to use. And even if they are, they lack the greatest feature: everyone.

Even though everyone is on the web and therefore can connect, those connections are separated across various websites. So connecting requires juggling multiple accounts and log-ins (unless, of course, they provide the Facebook log-in). The point is, different websites that offer different Facebook-like utilities are separate. But Facebook easily connects everyone on the web in one central place.

The One Place To Rule Them All

Like an existential rule, it seems that there had to be that place: the one website online where all people could unite, connect, and network together (ironically, that union has also surfaced and reinforced much division). Social interaction defines humanity; relationships! Other websites (Friendster, MySpace, and more) were built on this fundamental trait. It’s just that Facebook was able to take off. Right place, right time I guess.

If the internet is a connected web of everyone spread across earth, then like a modern day digital Tower of Babel, Facebook is the defacto site for everyone online to come together, for better and for worse.

The network effect is what compels me to rejoin Facebook. Practically all my friends, family, and acquaintances are there. (Just this week, a co-worker asked me if I’m on Facebook – that never happens – what a coincidence!) And though I’ve lived totally without a Facebook account several times, the truth is I’m unable to escape it altogether. Like pumpkin spice in Autumn, Facebook is everywhere.

It’s in my house. My wife’s use of the social network remains stalwart. Through her, I am informed of daily life stuff via Facebook. Also, I see how it benefits her. And honestly, I don’t see much consequential detriment to her personal usage of Facebook (other than the negative drama that gets posted sometimes). As for sucking a lot of time, I can’t talk. I use Twitter as much as my wife uses Facebook. Guilty!

By nuking my Facebook account from orbit, have I cut off my nose to spite my face? Other questions have come to me: am I “too good” for Facebook? And is my personal boycott of the platform benefiting others or advancing a good cause? Am I just being a Facebook-hater? These are good questions that deserve good answers.

Sharing Online

Here’s a situation that affects my decision to rejoin Facebook or not. I have a vacation coming up with both immediate and extended family members. We’ll be taking a lot of pictures! Naturally, after the trip, we’ll want to share those photos with each other. So where will that happen? There are several good options, but the easiest and practically the best place to do that is on Facebook.

Another scenario that makes Facebook compelling is that I have a family member who lives overseas and is active on Facebook. We seldom email each other, so Facebook is the strongest way we can stay connected with text updates and photos. This is hard to resist sometimes.

Socially Awkward

There’s more weirdness. Since I have deleted and rejoined four times, what will my friends and family think if I rejoin again? Will they be glad to see me there? And will others keep me at a distance, expecting my cycle to spin around to deleting again? These questions spawn a meta-query: why am I wrestling with such social anxiety? It’s just a website! Right?

So what will come of this? Despite the pull to rejoin Facebook, I’m not totally comfortable with the idea of being tallied in the census of the world’s biggest digital country that is controlled by one idealistic man who is also trying to create a new global currency. The size and power of Facebook and its influence are disturbing, and the Libra initiative is foreboding. I’m wary of the whole thing.

But Facebook is, frustratingly, like a utility because of its network effect. I think my back and forth tug-of-war will continue. Maybe it will be a stalemate. Is resistance futile? Is rejoining and reestablishing a love-hate relationship with Facebook inevitable?

Resist or rejoin? I don’t know. I’m leaning toward the latter.

What are your thoughts? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

The Instagram Alternative Is Kickstarted

Last month, I learned about Bokeh. It’s a cool new photo/social media app that promises to be better than Instagram. Started by a passionate developer, Bokeh has been funded on Kickstarter, reaching its initial financial goal. That means we may soon begin to enjoy what Instagram was or should have been!

Not long ago, I published an article about how Instagram lost its goodness and how I missed what it started out as. It was sort of a photo enthusiast sharing site like Flickr. Of course, it ended up quite different. So I deleted my Instagram account.

Bokeh seeks to fix what’s broken about Instagram. And now that it has been funded, the developer, Tim Smith, is hard at work bringing to life what could become The Next Big Thing. It’s an exciting time, and I’m happy for Tim who pushed to bring Bokeh this far!

Here are a few tidbits:

  • In just 30 days, Bokeh raised over $11,000 on Kickstarter!
  • Out of 229 total backers, I’m number 111!1
  • Estimated time of delivery for Bokeh is October 2019.

The initial screenshots look very nice. It begins with a not-so-subtle-red theme, which is a stark yet welcome departure from the blues of Twitter and Facebook.

The name itself, Bokeh, leads me to think that the social site will focus more heavily on photography than on celebrity influencer status – cough, Instagram, cough.

Bokeh sounds great! Imagine, a photo app that’s more about capturing images than attention.

That said, Bokeh promises to be about community too. It will include strong connecting or communicating features to help friends and family stay close online. This is compelling, a social site and service that strikes a balance between both pictures and people. Sign. Me Up.

I’m thankful for the privilege to help fund Bokeh as I support Tim Smith’s endeavors to build a better alternative to Instagram. I can’t wait to see how progress is made on the app and service, and I wish Tim all the best as he continues to work towards making this dream come true.

Are you interested in trying Bokeh or anything better than Instagram? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. I wish I had made it in under 100!