The timing of this post might suggest it’s partly in response to my Facebook account deactivation, but no, the genesis of this post is Ello. No one told me I was doing social networking wrong, so there is nothing to comment on about that. However, the rise of Ello and the reaction I’ve read and heard bothers me.
I’ve stopped using Ello because it doesn’t seem the uptake for my friends has been strong enough for me to continue. If other people find a community on there and they like it, that’s awesome. If you like Twitter (and I like Twitter for a lot of things), go nuts. If you have fun on Facebook, keep doing it. I personally wish the Facebook website design would die in a fire but a lot of people like it. If you’re on Google+, like I am now, and you find it engaging and interesting, great! If you’re on one service, and you’re telling other people they should dislike another service, you’re wrong. Be quiet.
A couple months ago, when Chuq Von Rospach decided to leave Facebook for Google+, social media gadfly Robert Scoble posted everywhere (but I’m linking to the Google+ post) that contained the words “I almost want to argue with him and get him not to leave…”. The question that popped into my mind, is simply why would you ever want to argue with him? If Von Rospach thinks Google+ will do more for him than Facebook, as have I, then you should support him. To his credit, Robert didn’t end up arguing with him, but made his case of why he used Facebook so much. He also did a Triangulation with Leo Laporte where he describes how to make Facebook work better for you, which I think was pretty comprehensive. But he has not, to my knowledge, ever answered the bigger question: Why does any of this matter so much?
Truthfully, Facebook isn’t that important. There is nothing on Facebook you can’t get elsewhere. Want news? There are hundreds of ways and sources to get news. Want to keep in touch with family? We have email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and phones. In fact, I stated my case three years ago that Facebook isn’t all that social. You really don’t need it. I have lots of friends who have rich, fulfilling lives that are barely on social media period.
If I have told anyone in the past how to do social networking I was wrong. This post is not about telling you how to do it, but instead I’m saying I support you in whatever you do. I have been talking so much about my issues with social networking that people are probably sick of reading me, but I think about this so much, because I want to understand why I started getting on Myspace, then Twitter, then Facebook, etc. I don’t like it when I don’t understand why I do something. For me, I think I will dip my toe into Twitter a little, push a lot of content to G+ where I seek to connect with other tech minded people, and lastly, this blog which will remain the centerpiece of my public persona.