A month ago, I had an interesting talk with my friend who refused to join Facebook or any other “social” media for that matter. In fact, I have a couple of friends outside any virtual friendship circles, but they are certainly a tiny minority. Until then, I was a devoted fan of FB (previously Orkut, Unister, Tagged and maybe some more), having a fairly large network of “friends”, being tagged on many photos, checking other people’s status many times every day. Perhaps, you could even say, I suffered a slight addiction.
My friend convinced me, that with FB I get no real value added to my life. On the contrary, I got:
- a network of people (contacts), I don’t really care about,
- my time consumed by constantly reading and watching pointless content posted by all those people,
- irrational fear of losing touch with people, with whom I would not want to get in touch anyway,
- fear of posting really interesting personal stuff, because the whole thing got too public.
I came to the resolution to close my FB account. Finally, it was the ‘waste of time for nothing in return’ argument that convinced me. After all, I consider myself somewhat a follower of zen principles, not in the religious sense, but more in the ‘gain by losing’ sense. As a result, I got a lot less distracted over the day and a lot more focused on important things.
I don’t want to only bash FB and such media. There is a great and proven marketing and promotional potential in there. I can also see the appeal to teenagers. But for a grown up guy who is not selling anything, there is little to none to gain. However, as a starting freelance IT pro I felt that I should maintain my online visibility. I’ve had my LinkedIn profile for a while, later added a blog and a personal web/portfolio page. The blog (even with my sparse posting habits) proved to be useful for starting a conversation about some of my side projects. Most recently, I opened a Twitter account. So far, I have found this combination of internet tools powerful, yet not obtrusive, only serving me when I have something to say.
So what shall I be tweeting about? I guess, like most of the people, semi-random short thoughts. I ike to share them when I learn something interesting and eye-opening, mainly from the area of my expertise: software engineering, coding practices, C++, graphics programming and lately the Qt framework. I will also tweet about project updates, like the QOF for Visual Studio and possibly others. I really like the 140 character limit, because it makes you think twice before you post.
What do you think; does FB (or Google+ or any other) give you something that is worth the while?