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My eyes caught the familiar invitation on the bottom of a catalog I brought in with the daily mail. Probably it grabbed my attention because my attention has been on my waning days for Facebook Timeline. Waning… for me to get on board.
The spotlight is definitely on Timeline among my Facebook friends. Just as I was thinking I’d better schedule time to fiddle with it before it fiddles with me, one of my longtime Facebook friends announced she was quitting the whole thing. Apparently she’d gotten notice that her time for Timeline had arrived. She said, “No.”
No more time left to resist, so she quit. She’d had it with Timeline — especially being forced on people.
That same day another person wrote in a group page inviting 600 friends to protest the whole thing. “That’s interesting,” I said to myself. “And she is an entertainer.” Her reasoning sounded good. She doesn’t like the layout, and says it reminds people of My Space and doesn’t load well on mobile devices.
That same day, my daughter requested me to be a friend of her new business page. This is the daughter who dragged her feet to get on Facebook, until this year. Now, the company she works for created a Facebook business page. It looks wonderful. Crisp. Organized. Of course, that’s what a marketing person expects.
When I got the request to like the page, I called her back to explain about my friend quitting because of Timeline. We debated it for awhile. My daughter realized that Timeline was coming. She also figures it will screw up the look of their page. Maybe.
Meanwhile, my friend who quit loves art. She has enjoyed being on Facebook for keeping in touch with friends, sharing photos, sharing philosophical thoughts, discovering other artists. Facebook is a good place for artists and writers and entertainers and business folks to interact.
But, in the space of a day, an artist, two entertainers, a business marketing person and me (the writer) had a virtual conversation — albeit via email and phone — about this crazy Timeline thing.
My entertainer friend said she didn’t want to use Timeline because it’s hard to read and she misses a lot of notifications on it. I miss most of mine, anyway. So, it probably won’t matter.
My artist friend, who quit, said this — which I found very insightful:
“I noticed that over the past few months, since Timeline started coming in, that most people didn’t seem to be posting anything ‘real’ anymore – just motivational/de-motivational type sayings in boxes with different fonts and pictures or requests from games. Add to that, the randomness of what you saw on your wall and it all added to the increased sense of isolation and a real sense of drifting.”
Another point she makes is that, if there is no real alternative, “they don’t seem to expect you to leave no matter what they do to mess things up.” I suppose we could all agree on that.
What are the alternatives?
I’ve gone from a tentative Facebook consumer four years ago [oops! I might need Timeline to remind me when I actually started Facebook!], when the only friends I had were the friends of my kids (because all the adults my age were spoofing being on Facebook), to really finding the value of it as a networking, marketing, personal growth tool.
Now, why would Facebook want to mess this up for people? Surely, they can figure out how to make the Timeline palatable for people of all types. At the moment, I find it looks scattered and is hard to find things. It seems more of a picture place. After I read my friend’s note about the wall pictures and motivational stuff, I realized that she’s right. Subconsciously, I had noticed that.
My son’s girlfriend likes it, she says, because of that — because of the way it shows pictures. My hairdresser says the same thing. So, maybe that’s the key. Maybe I’ll just have to get with the graphics. I’ve experimented with a page I have that has the new Timeline; and so far I haven’t been that wild about it. Perhaps Facebook will tweak until they get it to where most everyone will be happy.
So, what are the alternatives to networking without Facebook? So many writers, artists, entertainers use it as a gathering place for their work. Heavens, movements are born on Facebook. How do you get along without it? What other central web place is there? That enough people are on to make it worthwhile?
The editor of this blogspace has Timeline. Her page looks attractive. Maybe she’ll write a blog about how to best use Timeline. I’m sure my daughter’s company will revamp their look to suit the new format. We who stay will, because we realize the power of social networking and marketing online.
Whether you are an artist, a writer, an entertainer, a business or an institution – Facebook has become the world’s gathering place. For some, it’s even an oasis from that world. A place to be inspired, find other kindred spirits, express yourself creatively. (At least that’s how my friend used to enjoy it before Timeline).
The same day she announced her withdrawal, I was reminded about family on Facebook, as well. I received a message from my nephew, who’d been thinking about how we needed to get together, because, “It’s been too long.” Facebook provided a convenient place for that message. And, of course, I can keep up with all the new baby pictures from nieces and nephews. While, I don’t have time to spend perusing the pages, I’d still miss not being able to go them if I desired.
Now that I’m paying attention, I notice daily that a few more are climbing aboard the Timeline train. Today I was informed that 144 of my friends have succumbed. However, not to panic – that‘s only half of my intimate FB family of 300 plus friends. So I feel much better, already.
Interestingly, I read one of those health mag nuggets about some study showing that the more Facebook friends you have, the more gray matter you have in key areas of the brain. Hmmm. That’s something to consider, as well. Gather ye Facebook friends; it’s good for the brain?
I don’t know how much “timeline” I have left before the FB captains come calling to drag me to mine. I found a link while googling, to MSNBC’s tech blog, that I’m posting here. “Timeline: There’s no escaping it” How much longer do I have? Or should I just bite the bullet and dive in before I’m kicked off the gangplank.
My friend quit, rather than be forced to walk it. It’s a matter of principles, she said; and she decided to stick with her principles. I will miss her, though. I can’t go visit; she lives in England. Perhaps there is someplace more agreeable than Facebook where we may gather. Apparently, that once convenient FB spot, where we were happy-ever-aftering isn’t such a Camelot.
Follow us on Facebook. Hopefully, the feelings of FB followers will be considered. Meanwhile, I’m on the lookout for complementary or alternative venues for gathering and keeping in touch.
Yes, it’s time to explore a little bit more, beyond the comfortable Facebook oasis, and see what’s shimmering on the horizon.