Out And Away From Facebook

As many of you may know already, I decided to suspend my Facebook account. In fact, I decided to suspend my Facebook activity, the account suspension was just a consequence of that. 🙂 From now on, I will focus my activity on Google+. Here’s a link to my account on Google+, if you want to add me. Also, you can find it on the right sidebar (discretely replacing the Facebook icon, of course).

Facebook Unfulfilled Promise

One of the most important reasons for this move was the amount of time I was (uselessly) spending on Facebook each day. Initially, I had two main reasons for being there: blog promotion and networking.

All in all, I managed to get some traffic from Facebook, but I highly doubt it was because of Facebook. A significant part of that traffic was coming from posts which are already floating on the social media for one or two years now and which are constantly shared on Facebook too. Just take a look at the titles in the right sidebar and you’ll know what posts am I referring to. Also, I was getting a few comments on my posts, but nothing spectacular. But the saddest part is that, in order to get even that tiny slice of traffic, I had to cope with all the other “noise” that Facebook was adding to the game.

As for networking, I don’t think I had more than 20-25 real life interactions on Facebook since I was using it. It’s true that I managed to discover (and interact with) a handful of very interesting people from around the world, but if I do the math, I think I found far more of them via Twitter. I also discovered a few high school colleagues and a few distant relatives (Roua is a pretty uncommon name even in Romania, if you wonder, so I was an easy target). Apart from that, my entire Facebook activity was just a lousy excuse to procrastinate.

Lately, I also found quite disturbing to be approached on chat by a person I never met in real life. Most of the time, there were requests in games, or just for “likes” to various contests or polls. It was even one guy who was bluntly trying to sell me something without even knowing how to spell my name. I think I created a new definition for the term “microsecond” that day: it was the exact amount of time needed to click “unfriend” after I saw the selling line.

So, although the people are there and they do spend an incredibly amount of time, the result is under the promise.

Facebook Good Points

Believe it or not, there are some good points in using Facebook too. Something that is used by a few hundreds millions must have something useful, all you have to do is to isolate it from the trash.

So, one of the best things on Facebook is it’s ubiquity in single signon API’s. I still use this “Sign In With Facebook” functionality on a few sites. I think I will replace those credentials with others on a “first found, first replaced” basis.

Also, being used by such a huge amount of people, it creates an incredibly useful playground for learning. On Facebook, people are almost expecting to be used, stalked, involved in threesomes or something along these lines. So you can learn tremendously about people reactions, expectations and behaviors. Of course, these are social media behaviors, not real life behaviors. As a matter of fact, I observed an incredible difference in the Facebook discourse versus the real life discourse for many of my Facebook acquaintances. Either way, it’s a fantastic place to learn, to interact and to play. But way, way, way to noisy for my taste.

The Google+ Strong Points

It’s simple. No Farmville. No Events. No Groups in which I am added without my consent. No intrusive chat (only hangouts). And, on top of that, I get the Circles functionality. Meaning I can fine tune the privacy of my stream, something that was heavily lacking from Facebook. And it’s simple, folks. Did I say that already? Yes? Then I’m gonna say it one more time: it’s deadly simple.

Human interaction is probably the most complicated thing in the world. If you put on top of this natural obstacle a set of worn out tools which are mostly adding to the noise instead of fading it out, you’re not helping.

So far, Google+ seems to be doing a good job at fading out the noise and letting a clean stream of interaction flowing in and out. So, I’m sticking with them for a while.

18 thoughts on “Out And Away From Facebook”

  1. I find the Google +1 a great new tool. can anybody confirm if they have had any backlinks from the plus.google.co.uk ? Anyway i keep trying new things and plus 1 is great. Ive liked reading the above topics and think you all love plus 1 🙂

    Phillip Monk

    MD MonkeyfishMarketing

  2. I’d dearly love to disengage from Facebook, but there’s one huge problem.

    Many of the people I love most, including my family, extended family and read world friends from long, long ago don’t inhabit any other online property. And because they in turn are connected to others, they’re not likely to want to move.

    This is the stickiest kind of stickiness you’ll ever come across.

  3. I too adore Google Plus! I haven’t gone as far as deactivating FB but I stripped my personal profile right back to just people I know offline (and who I want to keel in contact with!) and am just using a page instead.

    I love the way conversations flow on G+. The bigger names seem to hit the maximum comment limit, something that’s not a concern for us mere mortals, but aside from that it’s great how everyone just chats about stuff in a chilled way.

    I also love that it’s people sharing what they care about instead of just blasting ads and other random rubbish.

  4. If anyone can dethrone Facebook, it’s Google. Really, I’ve been loving Google+ for the last two weeks and I’m hoping it takes off. For me, it’s FB without all the extra clutter, Googlefied (streamlined, quick, minimal), and circles are an awesome concept.

    The only worry is that Google is the largest data miner out there but I’ll take my chances for now. This is only the beginning and so far they have a good product, can’t wait to see what comes of it. Let the battle begin 🙂

  5. Hi Dragos,

    regarding your point on “networking”:
    I find it fascinating how tools like twitter and facebook can become completely ghostlike.

    I have this eerie feeling that millions of people are only on twitter to popularize their blog or website, but have in fact automated twitter to the point where they never read anything anyone ever writes. The posting is automated, auto-follow, auto-message, auto-thank-you-for-retweeting. In the end, a user may follow 5000 people, have exactly 5000 followers and 5000 tweets, and yet no human interaction ever takes place.

    I so want it to be different, but I guess I have to be still more selective in my choice of “digital friends” 😉


  6. Thank you, Dragos. This was very informative and great food for thought. I’m curious if you had a FB page or just a FB profile?

    I will probably try out Google+ but I’m not planning to abandon FB yet. So many of my friends are there. Plus, I enjoy sharing on my FB page. An entirely different group of people connects with me there. Time will tell though. I appreciate your advice.

    • Had both a profile and a page, but 99% of the interaction was through the profile. It’s my second day of FB abstinence and I feel great. I think I still have to use it on some levels, for instance my son has an active account there and a few thriving pages. Which I guess tells a lot about the “Hi5alization” of Facebook 🙂

  7. And also, Google+ is much better at privacy concerns than Facebook. Also, G+ is easier to understand and manage. You get a place to post update from Google navbar which is ultra cool. There are millions of searches happening out there all the time. If Google makes the bar stand on the site too, it will make sharing far easier and frequent. Waiting for that…while..I hate the new facebook chat bar…

    • Yeap, so far Google is better at some stuff. I intend to use it for as long as it will stay like this. Nobody guarantees that it won’t change in the future, but for now it’s ok.

  8. I’m really enjoying G+ more and more. There was something about facebook that I never ever enjoyed. I don’t even spend much time there. Every time I have logged in and looked at the feed, it’s all moms and baby photos. This had become quite interesting to notice. I have no way to adjust feeds as I can with circles and I didn’t ever feel like trying to make groups there or lists on twitter.

    Finding it interesting and I’ll add you there to a few cirlces!

  9. I honestly never saw the point of Facebook. But then I joined, because everybody was there. Then I deleted my account. Then I joined again (thinking it might have gotten better). Now I’m out again. It’s useful if you’re addicted to zombies and farms, but I don’t see much point other than that.

    For making friends – Twitter is a clear winner. I’ve made tons of friends, some of them I even had the chance to meet in real life. Facebook? Well – I never made any friends on Facebook – just met some old classmates I never talked to.

    Facebook’s model is flawed. I add you, you confirm => we are friends. That’s not how it works in life. I can follow you on Twitter even if you don’t know who I am, if I like what you have to say.

    Seems to me that G+ is just taking the Twitter model even further – not only you can follow anyone, but you can also choose who you share your stuff with – which is just like in real life. I can sit with a bunch of friends and gossip, not necessarily with the whole world.

    Let’s see where this goes. Looks interesting so far.

    • Seems like you wrote my thoughts in this comment 🙂 Yes, Google seems to be doing a desperate effort to mix the best in all worlds. So far, it looks like the effort pays back. I’m curious what will happen when Google will become leader with this platform. They have a pretty clear history of stopping (or at least significantly slowing down) the innovation once they’re on top. Happened with search and email before.

  10. I have to say that G+ came in the right moment. Facebook became too noisy and G+ is a breath of fresh air. Also, G+ is about “people”, not about “friends”, like I was pointing out few weeks ago on my blog. I believe this is the major difference between the 2 services and one that should turn users away from Facebook.

    Dragos, now all you have to do is add the +1 button to your blog. 😉

    • It’s already added, only on the list template, I will add it to the single post template too, thanks for the heads up. 🙂


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