Facebook has been the hugest time suck I’ve ever experienced. I haven’t even watched TV in months, I feel like I never have time to do the things I should be doing, and I get antsy if I can’t check it at least a few times a day.
~ Anonymous friend
Have you seen enough cat pictures? Tired of all the privacy leaks? Or do you just want to recoup the time that you lose captivated by people you don’t really even like?
You want to take a Facebook break, but you’re not sure how. A report published Feb. 5 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows 61% of Facebook users have taken a break from using the social networking site at some point. If so many people can take a Facebook break, then why not you?
But leaving Facebook? Yes, it sounds insane. To hear some folks considering it, the idea of leaving Facebook is akin to leaving Earth. If you can’t bring yourself to deactivate your account right away, you can ease yourself into a Facebook break by limiting your interaction with the site.
A great starting point is the notifications. Do you really want to know when a friend-of-a-friend’s Aunt Lulu comments on a puppy photo you commented on in 2010? You don’t need a text message or email about that. If you look through the notifications, you’ll see that you can live without a lot of them.
Of course, you’ll want to be notified about friend requests, but more important: you want to be notified when you’ve been tagged in a photo or a post. You don’t want the idiot friend who doesn’t follow the What-Stays-In-Vegas Rule to tag you in the pics of the fur bikini mechanical bull riding contest that you won in 2006.
If you want to further limit your Facebook interactions, delete the app from your phone. You’ll be amazed at how freeing this is. No badges, no buzzes. You’ll find your phone is plenty entertaining without it.
After you have limited the notifications and deleted the app, you’ll probably feel like something’s missing — like you’re not wearing pants. That will pass. You’ll soon find a sense of calm and quiet. At this point, you might find deactivating your account isn’t so hard. Try just one week. At the end of that week, see how you feel. You may be surprised to find you feel relieved.
Why would I feel relieved?
Because you wouldn’t constantly be responding to a website.
Let’s face it: Social media carries an obligation. If we’re logged on, we are required to respond. It’s like if you’re at a party, you’re required to interact. Facebook is a 24/7/365 party. And sometimes you need to leave the party.
That’s not to say that you can never go back. But when you do, you’ll probably have a different perspective about what you share and with whom you’re sharing. This is healthy. We need to revisit how we interact on social media from time to time so that the sites — Facebook, Twitter, Google+ — don’t completely legislate what we share, how we share it and with whom we share. Taking a break from Facebook (or any social media) allows us to step back from the maddening crowd and think for ourselves — without the coercion of an unapologetic algorithm or the noise of a 24/7/365 party.
So totally better than a movie about sparkly-virgin vampires.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. No agencies or products are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.
Our heroine from the Toyota Venza commercial can be seen in the new Triscuits commercial.
That’s all I have to say about that right now because I have to go to dinner.
Like this commercial? Hate it?
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* * * * * * * *
RELATED: Toyota Venza Girl plugs eBay
EARLIER: Toyota Venza Girl on Yahoo!
EARLIER: More on the girl in Toyota Venza commercial
EVEN EARLIER: Toyota Venza: ‘That’s not a real puppy’
We return to our regularly scheduled programming — with no more vacation pictures or campaign spots for a while.
Emarketer, citing findings from a six-month Simply Measured study, says that although brands are flocking to Google+, they’re not seeing the level of consumer engagement found on other networks. Maybe it’s because no one is on Google+:
Emarketer points to a February 2012 study by Arbitron and Edison Research found that only 8% of U.S. consumers had a profile on Google+.
Still, Google+ is in its infancy and Facebook ain’t dead yet.
Meanwhile, Ad Age Digital reported Monday that brands aren’t “hanging out” so much as they are “pinning” — as the all-seeing-all-knowing Internet giant takes fourth place in mindshare behind social media darling Pinterest.
The Ad Age article steps beyond the brands’ lack of interest and nicely summarizes a bigger problem with Google+:
The broad consensus is that Google+ is an empty city where the masses go to set up a profile but then seldom return.
This girl is part of the masses who flocked and then fled. I’ve set up a profile, and I have returned from time to time, but my other friends aren’t on — they’re not sharing, not engaging. I interact most on Google+ with strangers who have shared this blog through their profiles. Although I believe Google+ will have a bigger place in social media and digital marketing, I believe the adopters must first shake their unwavering loyalty to Facebook. And that could take a helluva lot longer than a mere nine months.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing series documenting my social experiment as a former Facebook user. The observations and opinions expressed here are mine and do not in any way reflect those of my employers.
I got an email from a friend the other day saying she missed me on Facebook. It’s not the first such email, and it won’t be the last. It has been more than two months since I deactivated my Facebook account — again. And although I don’t miss it — I do like not being on the world’s largest social network — this time around confirms what I discovered last fall: Being off Facebook makes for some weird real-world situations.
Unlike last time, I just deactivated without a lot of fanfare. This time there were no pleas for me to stay. No questions why. This time I made a clean break: For 24 hours, my status said, “I’ll be back. Promise.” And then I was gone.
After eight-plus weeks, I’ve found plenty of ways to keep busy — and more real-world social weirdness. I told a friend that because I’m not on Facebook that it’s as if I’m persona non grata. I have gotten (what seems to be?) cold shoulders from co-workers and former co-workers because they (might?) think I’ve defriended them. Even worse, I’ve lost a meaningful connection with co-workers and former co-workers whom I actually like — not to mention re-formed bonds with the college friends whom I truly love. Case in point: I’m just now catching up on plans for a 20-year reunion — but I’m not blaming the organizers. Facebook definitely makes it easier to orchestrate such events. If I’m not on Facebook, I have to work that much harder to be included.
But I don’t mind.
When I logged on after the first break, I found that as much as things change, the more they stay the same: I was losing the same 20 minutes every day that I had been losing before I logged off. And it was a precious 20 minutes. I had not deactivated my account because I think I’m too cool for Facebook; I did it to find some lost time because I am too easily distracted by — well, everything. Facebook was a crippling diversion for me at home. Away from work, every minute counts for me. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I needed to eliminate distractions that ate up my free time. Facebook was one of those distractions.
“But do you miss it?” That’s the question I get when I mention I’m a former Facebook user. The answer is no, not really. There are just so many things about Facebook I don’t like, such as its creepy “sharing” initiative or the classic overshares from the Chardonnay Moms or the chain-prayer posts. I have to admit, though, there are some things I miss. As a journalist and marketing/ecommerce student, I miss seeing what the marketers are doing with the brand pages. As a friend, I miss seeing what my friends are doing, how their kids are growing up. I miss seeing what my teenage niece is up to or the beach photos from North Carolina that make me homesick. All of which is more reason for me to make a real-life effort to connect — and to stay logged off.
YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mashable on Facebook’s auto-sharing feature
UPDATE FEB. 1, 2012: Adds Eastbound & Down “Drum Tease” clip and updates numbers of views and likes for clips.
Rejoice has-been athletes everywhere! Kenny Powers is back in Eastbound & Down, and from the looks of this promo, it looks like he’ll be pitching the rawhide in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this season. Nice to know he found time to shoot the HBO series between pitching Tubes for shoemaker K-Swiss (NASDAQ: KSWS).
Season 3 debutes Feb. 19 on HBO with the tagline urging viewers to “Get F**king Ready.”
At the time of this update, this clip had 175,270 views, 460 likes, and 9 dislikes. It had 1,500 when I first posted this Jan. 31.
Meanwhile, the Season 3 “Drum Tease” for Eastbound & Down has 436,081 views, 745 likes, and 15 dislikes.
EARLIER: More on Kenny Powers
EVEN EARLIER: K-Swiss recruits Kenny Powers
Am I the last to see Twitter’s new sign-in page? Very bold. I like it. (Click image for a larger view of the screenshot.)
I did return to Facebook after deactivating my account.
I do have more to write about logging off the site; however, I don’t have time right now because I need to ‘like’ some things on Facebook.
Right now, I want to share something I found on YouTube via Facebook: the Facebook Nervous Breakdown by tmusic406. At the time of this writing, the video had 194 views.
YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mashable on Facebook’s auto-sharing feature
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No, really, who’s J?
Editor. Writer. Consultant.
I'm an editor and writer with certifications in public relations and e-Commerce. I also have a background in information technology. (In another life, I was a systems analyst.)
When I'm not editing copy for USA TODAY, I write an occasional short story or poem. My work has appeared in Calliope and the feminist journal So to Speak, and I'm a regular flash-fiction contributor to Paragraph Planet and Doorknobs & Bodypaint. Also on occasion, I interview editors for The Review Review, a comprehensive guide to literary journals and the people who produce them.
My points-of-view are collected on such esteemed outlets as Wordpress, Facebook and Twitter. The views expressed here and elsewhere are mine, not my employers'.
I live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with my husband, Trey, our Shetland Sheepdog, and two unhelpful-but-funny cats.