This is my FB news feed this morning:
I’ve been reading rants about FB being disastrously close to extinction, as the bigger it gets, the more shit information is out there. Because, surprise!!!, people actually like to share and they do share! On Facebook, which – oh, what a wonder – has sharing as primary purpose. Another surprising fact seems to be that people’s interests are petty and not exactly attractive to everyone. So we discover that people’s worlds are actually pretty small and focused on their communities, families, work and passions.
So far, nothing is new and unexpected, is it? People are mostly uninteresting and FB is going to show each person in their own light. We wanted to have a medium where we could share our lives and interests and meet people who have the same profile, so that we feel that we belong, we are part of something and we’re not really creepy with our weird taste in whatever. That’s why FB has 1.11 billion users at the moment and it’s raising faster than any other social network. It provides the best environment to cover one of the basic needs of humans – to belong, to build communities.
Now, the problem comes when the sharing is too much, the information is in a huge quantity and rising every single day. We have a big problem, and we actually have to make an effort to sort out the flow of information and not get carried away into useless data. The more garbage in, the more out, so we should filter what gets in our heads. Not to mention the waste of time, the most precious currency we have at the moment.
A system tends to be as intelligent as the users behind it. FB is flawed, I give you that, but it’s the best in accomplishing its main target: sharing. It needs some effort to understand and customize, but you can make it really useful for you and a real source of information. If, of course, you work a little and maintain it clean and focused.
Why do I like FB?
- My friends are spread all over the world. I am not talking about people I barely met, but the people I care deeply for and would normally talk to every single day. From Vancouver to San Francisco, Boston, New York and Kuala Lumpur, I have no access to them every single moment (time zone to name one obstacle). Writing emails or Skyping every day is not an option but I love to open my FB at 8 am and see what my sister is up to, or a new photo, or what article Diana read yesterday or what other debate I can get into with Razvan or Octav. FB makes me feel closer to my dear ones.
- I have many interests, too many, as anyone these days. I surely can’t go about the internet and check all blogs, sites, pages of all my targets. But I have in my feed info in real-time from James Altucher, Gary Vaynerchuck, Seth Godin, Sam Harris, Travis Rice, Ólafur Arnalds, Björk, Tate, Saatchi Gallery, Mark Ryden, HBR, TED and others.
- Events! When I don’t know what to do in the weekend I just check FB and see who goes where. FB told me that Eddie Izzard is coming to Romania the day the event was made public. Next day I got tickets.
- Trips: if I go in organized trips with 10+ or more people, everything is managed on FB, the invitation, the information, everything else.
- Groups: I am part of groups that refer to my interest. So I know when someone goes longboarding and where, if there is snow in Sinaia or not and other little things like that make my life way easier.
Over 90% of my news feed is exactly what I want to read / know any given day. FB’s algorithm is pretty intelligent, the more you interact with a page / person, the more they will appear in your feed. Plus, if you are not pleased with something, you can always hide, unsubscribe or unfollow. Easy-peasy, it makes me wish there was such a feature in real life 🙂
So guess what? You are what you share but you also are what your news feed shows you in any given day. So you better clean it up instead of complaining about how shit FB is. You might also clean your friend list, if you have 1.000+ there is no chance in hell your feed will be quality, your feed is representative for your friends’ quality and interests’ quality. Clean it up, customize it, unfriend and hide, unlike, join / leave / make groups, separate friends, share only with people you think are interested yourself. Let’s see what you have to say about FB afterwards.