I was doing some writing for Big Picture Classes this morning (I do a lot of writing for BPC, more than you'll ever know, and I'm starting to wonder if I just run out of words by the time I remember that I have a blog!), and I thought to myself, "This is kind of interesting! Maybe my blog reader will enjoy this too!" And so, my first post in months was born.
I'm doing a "Guest Instructor" post inside the An Update to Remember classroom at Big Picture Classes, where I detail my approach to various social media platforms. Here goes...
Hi, it's me, Angie Lucas. I'm the Editorial Director here at Big Picture Classes, and I'm also an occasional online instructor. I'd love to share a bit about my social-media philosophy. The rules I live by, so to speak.
I joined Facebook in August of 2008, because all of my friends at Simple Scrapbooks were doing it. Truthfully, I was skeptical about the whole thing. But I decided it didn't hurt to just dive in and start playing, even if I didn't "get" it yet. That's the case, I believe, with all social media. You have to start using it before you'll ever even begin to understand it.
I remember the days when all posts were written in the third person.
My very first post:
I wonder if almost everyone says something similar as their first Facebook post?
My second post:
I'm sure there are a LOT more now. I wish that timeline would save your old profile pic that was actually there at the time you posted the status. I'd love to see what my first profile picture looked like!
And then I started talking about things other than Facebook on Facebook (because that would have gotten old fast.)
Now that's a status I want to remember, because the 14-year-old is now 19 and is no longer in residence. I had forgotten the "endless repeat" days, since this would happen with all of Jeremy's favorite songs. It really is fun to look back at past years, to see what I thought was important and worth sharing at the time.
I soon gained a certain comfort level with Facebook, but like everyone else, I'm still adjusting and figuring it out as I go. And my participation can be pretty sporadic. Sometimes I completely ignore it for weeks at a time. Sometimes I interact daily, usually via my mobile phone.
Here are some of my Facebook rules, habits, quirks, curiosities, and pet peeves:
- I generally accept friend requests if we have dozens or hundreds of friends in common, because this means that they're probably connected to the scrapbooking world. (Sometimes I rethink this policy, but I generally go back to it.) But I always categorize people when I accept the request—which takes a couple of extra steps and which is why it sometimes takes me months to go in and accept friend requests. I have categories for "Real Friends," "Aquaintances," "Scrapbooking People," "Church," etc. This is just in case I want to gain control over Facebook one day, and perhaps limit my friends only to people I really, truly have met in the flesh.
- I am very grateful that Facebook has gotten "smarter" and it displays the people you interact with most at the top of your news feed.
- I love that it's now possible to Hide people without Unfriending them. This is nice for those cases where you like the person, but you don't necessarily like hearing their opinions on politics or other inflammatory topics.
- I really, truly dislike "vaguebooking." You know, those subtle, mean-spirited rants that could be directed at anyone in your friend list, and will make everyone wonder, "Is she talking about me?"
- I feel sorry for teens who have grown up with Facebook. They'll be connected to everyone in high school FOREVER, unless they take measures to cut them loose. I am blissfully unaware of what the vast majority of my 600+ Bingham High School class of '94 fellow graduates are up to now.
- I generally keep my Facebook posts related to my life experiences, interesting articles I want to share, and things like that vs. scrapbook industry news and updates. (I do more of that kind of thing on Twitter, when I use Twitter at all.) And just saying that out loud makes me wonder: if most of my friends are from the scrapbooking industry, but most of my posts are about my personal experiences, maybe I should split out my accounts so I have a personal one and a professional one? But I can barely keep up with ONE Facebook account, let alone two. (See? I'm rethinking my approach all the time.)
- I am always mindful of how many people I'm connected to on Facebook, so I definitely only post things that I'm comfortable being "public" about. I never say anything on Facebook that I don't really truly believe, because authenticity is important to me. But I don't talk about everything I think and believe, either.
- I like to keep my updates generally positive. While online, I follow the rule I try (and often fail) to follow in my real life. Only say things that meet two of these three criteria: nice, true, and necessary. Even better if I can meet all three.
- I have learned the hard way that when I post a "feeling sorry for myself" post, I generally regret it later. If I need to be buoyed up by love and sympathy, I'll call someone in my real life.
- Lately, I'm valuing "real" connections more and more. Sometimes when I'm about to post something on Facebook or to Instagram, I ask myself why I'm posting it. Is it to try to prove something about how "exciting" my life is? Is it because it's funny and I think others will enjoy it? Is it because I'm seeking validation and approval? Sometimes, instead, I'll opt to text it directly to a friend instead. In this highly connected "look at me" social media world, a direct text sometimes means so much more than it used to. It says, "I could have posted this on Facebook for everyone to see, and tagged you in my post (which is akin to having a conversation with a friend loudly on a stage instead of privately across the table at a cafe), but instead I chose to share it only with you. Because I just want to hear what YOU have to say about it."
- In general, I'm more consistent at Facebook output (posting things) than input (commenting on other people's things). This is because my friend list is a little bit out of control (because of the scrapbooking thing), and I get VERY easily sucked in for way too long. And I rarely feel uplifted after I've spent an hour on Facebook—after that amount of time, I often end up learning or seeing something I wish I didn't know. If I limit myself to about 15 minutes, I can generally walk away on a high note.
- These days, I post pictures with captions (mostly cross-posted from Instagram) far more often than I post a text-only status. But I still do that now and then.
Wow, I had a lot more to say about Facebook than I even realized! And I could still go on and on. But you just have to force yourself to stop at some point.
I'll have to detail my thoughts on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter in a later post.
For now, happy Facebooking!
This post written for An Update to Remember, which started today! Registration is open through April 3.
I promise I have SO many amazing blog post ideas saved up to write about. But after a certain amount of time has passed, I feel a little bit awkward. It's like that friend you truly do care about, but you forgot her birthday 2 months ago and aren't sure if she's the tiniest bit miffed at you, so you keep putting off that initial contact, which only exacerbates the problem. Or it's like your weekly accupuncturist (yes, I have one), whom you haven't seen in over a month, and even though it's completely unreasonable, you think just maybe you'll get a few dirty looks when you finally do show up again. But once you expend the "initiation energy" to re-engage with whatever you've been ignoring, things just move along swimmingly. And you wonder: Why did I wait so long?