Archive for December, 2018

Unfriending Facebook

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

I have been contemplating my life with and without Facebook. On a recent trip I got stranded in Denver for a day. Three flights cancelled. I ended up flying to San Francisco and driving back to Reno.

Several days later, I had a pop up on my iphone that showed me how much time I had spent on various apps. That day I was stranded in Denver – 8 hours on Facebook. When I looked at all the other things I could have done with that 8 hours – I realized, time to make some changes.

So I gradually started to look at all the ways Facebook had overtaken my life. I was a heavier advertiser on it for the business – spending over $200k in the past nine years. We evaluated was it really helping? No. The amount of money we spent on our advertising campaigns generated about five times the leads of our google adwords campaigns. Yet these leads were fifty times less likely to convert. Considering my sales staff was required to follow up with these leads – lets add in those costs as well.

Then let’s look at the scammers who are on facebook. Medusa Marketing weaseled $15k out of me before I pulled the plug on them after failing to deliver time after time after time. We found them through a Facebook ad and had retained them to run more effective ad campaigns on Facebook. They never even got the correct landing pages developed. I do have a complaint in with the Attorney General in Texas on this company. This company switched the main contact point for me no fewer than five times in three months.

But the last straw for advertising on Facebook wasn’t lack of performance, it was Facebook’s shady billing practices. I had stopped all my campaigns. Deleted all my payment methods. Yet a few days ago, I noticed on a card I had used several times on that account six months ago, charged $377 by Facebook. How could they charge that card and for an account that had no campaigns running? I went to check out the ad site and several event campaigns were running but there were still no cards associated with the account. I called the bank and cancelled that card.

I’m not one to buy into the big brother has all your data you better beware fear mongering about Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. I call it a “hiding in plain sight” strategy. However I am now rethinking this after the Facebook billing practice where they can go after a card I had deleted off the account. That wasn’t even showing up as a card associated with the account.

But it wasn’t just the billing practices – it was also what Facebook had turned my life into. Instead of connecting with life as it was presenting itself all around me, I was connecting with people who weren’t around me via Facebook. I did enjoy getting reconnected with friends from years gone by – like my French horn playing buddy from the High School Band. It was fun to see his life evolve, his work travels, his new wife – it was like as my brand strategist Carey Earle used to say “Voyeur View.” But what about the view from the seat where I was sitting right here right now – living where I am breathing in the present moment?

And then there was the shocking media stories that friends posted all slanted in the way their opinions slanted. Was I becoming one of the sheeples – following whatever line of thinking the loudest voices in my friend network were expressing? I think this is what is meant by the bubble. Where I started having negative thoughts about others who had ideas outside of what was in the bubble of views I had curated.

I have a great friend of over 25 years who is my neighbor – he has views that are outside of this bubble. Yet I listen to him and together we find common ground. In person, over tea, or when visiting each other’s gardens (this is literal, not metaphorical). A real connection with a real person, real time. We both leave these exchanges more uplifted rather than depressed or despondent – better able to deal with others with different ideas than our own.

That isn’t what happened for me with Facebook. I would read the threads on controversial posts and see the hate and venom about different ideas. I’d see friends get all in a lather about the “trolls” posts. My ire would be activated as well. I would unfriend or be unfriended by those who’s views upset me.

Was this the way I wanted to continue living my life? What would happen if I got off of Facebook all together? There is some good stuff on there. It’s the way this small community I live in stays connected. There is the Haines Buy Sell Trade – come to think of it I did get a plow truck off there but then I sold the plow truck as the maintenance on it was a hassle, it was just one more thing the caretaker was not taking care of (damaging it instead and using it when he needed to be using his own vehicle). I now have my neighbor plow my driveway. I can use Craigslist to unload stuff I no longer need.

I will miss seeing where my neighbors are traveling to when they are not in Haines. But then I can catch up with them at the Post Office or the hardware store or the grocery store when we are in the same town together. I can visit with them over a tea at the Mountain Market and we can share the pictures on our phones of our travels since we last connected. I’ve already had several people I haven’t heard from in a while reach out to me since I left Facebook. We’ve updated our phone numbers, addresses, and are having more meaningful dialog. Real connection, real time, real friends.

Goodbye Facebook – it’s been an interesting ride.