Monday, January 10, 2011

Why Facebook Groups are Killing my Blog

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual Mashups

Wow, long time no blog (or at least it feels like it to me). I've missed it. Well, sort of. What's been keeping me away, you ask? Several things:

First, my Macbook wasn't working right. I'm embarrassed to admit how many computers there are in my house but here goes: 2 desktops, 3 laptops (not including my husband's work one, so I guess if you count that one it's 4), an iPad, and my iPhone. I'm not counting my old iPhone or my son's iPod touch. That's a LOT of computers...yet the only one I like to blog from now is my Macbook. In case you don't know me in real life, let's just say that patience with stuff that doesn't work immediately and flawlessly is, let's just say, not high. So when I use a computer if it doesn't boot up immediately and have a super-fast internet connection, look out. My Macbook used to be perfect. It was fast and never got hung up like the crappy PCs in my house. But the past few weeks it just wasn't as good as usual. It started not being able to connect to the wireless internet in my house, even though the connection was fine. It sucked. And I didn't know what to do other than cuss and turn it off. Even when I had time to blog and felt like it, I would get depressed when I turned on the Mac so I just didn't. A trip to the genius bar didn't help much; I got a new battery but the internet thing is still a mystery....but seems to be working ok today (knock wood).

Add to the Mac issues, the holidays. I've blogged before about how summer is a bad time for social media. Even addicts like me would rather be at the pool or socializing at a barbeque than glued to a computer screen. (any family who are reading this: you can stop laughing now; I know I'm still glued to the computer screen all summer, but it's not the same.) The holidays are also a social media slow time, at least for me. I was busy having fun with my sister and her family who came to visit, and either going to parties or sleeping 10 hours a night or eating or laying in a TV or computer game coma. Blogging was not on the menu.

But, alas, the real reason why I've barely been blogging? I'm almost embarrassed to admit it but here it is: Facebook groups. If you read this blog you know I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Mostly hate. But I have a confession. I LOVE the new groups feature. The problem with Facebook used to be that now that a billion people are on there--including your mom, your kids, your husband, your boss, your neighbors, etc--you had only two choices: share your stuff and don't care who sees it or take a bunch of time to classify everyone into lists and set privacy controls for every little thing. Pain in the ass, but a necessity for some, especially if you use Facebook for both personal and business like I do.

Enter groups. Now you can create secret groups, invite only who you want, and say whatever you want. Is Facebook still mining the crap out of your data? Of course, but I don't even care anymore because social media has gone back to being authentically social for me, the way it was back in the dark ages when I was a new mom and internet was my only social life. I was able to connect with people who shared my same interests and who I genuinely cared about. There were no numbers games, no Klout or other BS; it was purely social and I never had to worry about saying the wrong thing or offending anyone. Now it feels like everything I do online is under at least potential scrutiny and it's just not fun. Facebook groups have made it fun again. Pathetic, I know, but true. And my public contributions--Twitter, blogging, etc--have declined as a result. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. Will my enthusiasm last? Probably not...but if you want to know where I've been spending my online time, now you know.

Photo by qthomasbower

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