This month’s #Meme15 topic is on Facebook and people balance mixing family, friends, peers and co-workers.
I think the best way for me to answer the question of how I balance mixing family, friends, peers and co-workers, is to talk my history with Facebook.
Many years prior to joining Facebook, I moved from Canada to the Minneapolis, MN area. In 2007 I joined MySpace because most of my of American friends were on it. At the same time, I kept getting e-mails from friends back in Canada to join Facebook. On April 18th of 2007, I finally caved to them and joined Facebook.
It really blew my mind just how much better of a product Facebook was at the time compared to MySpace. I was not only able to find several of my friends from Canada, I was able to find many family members too. To give you an idea of just how large my family is, my father is the oldest of 9 siblings and my mother was the youngest of 10 siblings!
The biggest thing that Facebook gave me was the ability to easily stay in contact with people who now lived hundreds of miles away. Like most people at the time, I was fascinated with finding people who I hadn’t talked to over 10 years. People such as those I went to elementary school with or worked with at my first few jobs. It was really cool to be able to catch up and reconnect with these people.
Just like many people, I can be competitive. So when a good buddy of mine started telling how he has over 150 friends on Facebook, I knew I could top that. I cannot remember for sure, but I believe I peaked at close to 450 friends in the fall of 2011.
In 2010 and 2011, I spent 9 weeks across 3 trips to China for my work. I was once again using Facebook regularly while in China to keep in contact with people. The reason I did this was two-fold. First, the area I was in is almost exactly the opposite time of day as here (CST). So when I would get back to the hotel from work at 6 PM, it would be 5 AM CDT. That make it very difficult to call people and made it very isolating. The second reason was to share images and talk about what I was experiencing out there.
Back in 2007, I really did not care who saw my status updates or any of the embarrassing photos of me. Over the next 5 years, many things changed in my life. I met and married the most amazing woman in the world, changed jobs, bought a house and met many great people who have all influenced my life.
As things kept changing, I started thinking more and more about who was seeing what about me online. I was also tired of the newsfeed being full of stories of people who I was not close to. So in the fall of 2011 I decided to go through my friend list and kept only people who were family, that I was close to or who are interesting.
Today I am down to 184 friends and I will not let just anyone be a friends with me on Facebook. This was probably the best thing I could to do to keep using Facebook. Now when I look at the newsfeed, it’s full of things that I am really interested in seeing. I’m also far less concerned about my privacy because these are all people that I trust. (Facebook themselves privacy issues are another subject all together).
My advice is to keep Facebook personal so that you can enjoy it as much as possible.