I quit Facebook three months ago. It’s not the first time. The first time was after I wrote a particular newspaper piece about two years ago. The comments got nasty. Despite thinking my privacy settings were high, some of those below-the-line trolls found me on FB and invaded my inbox with personally hateful messages that made me cry (I don’t have the thick skin for that kind of journalism anymore). But after a period of deactivating my account, I logged back in. All was well with the world, its status updates and photo feeds.
But then I quit again, earlier in May. I don’t know what spurred it on other than the realisation that whenever I logged in, it felt like wasted time. It felt like I was being passive when I could have been doing something active, something more important to me at the time. I got tired of it. I got bored. I got rid of it. It was no big deal.
My brother – who loves all forms of social media and is a Facebook addict – could not fathom this existence. “But you’ll miss out,” he Whatsapped. “On what?” I replied. “Everything,” he said.
I don’t feel like I’m missing out. It’s liberating. I like simple and uncluttered. Life without Facebook, its nuances and updates that read between the lines, is simple and uncluttered. I get that some people love it, and that’s fine. But I don’t. And that’s fine also. Bizarrely, I feel more comfortable with this public and personal blog than I did on Facebook which was ironically claustrophobic.
However, I’ve been struggling with whether I should be on Facebook for my business. Since I left personally, I have no means of bombarding an existing friends list for automatic likes. This means it’ll be difficult to build up a credible number of likes for a business page. I will, basically, have to pay for it and work on it every day to build it up. This is not an impossible task. But I’ve decided I’d rather spend my work time constructively building up my own site, sourcing products, writing my own blog page, working on my packaging – instead of spending my time trying to reach a milestone number of likes on a Facebook page which may or may not even send people to my shop. There are other means of social media which feel more enjoyable and also useful to me. I like Twitter, both as me and a small business owner. Although I keep my personal feed private, I like Instagram (I use this account to share what is appropriate and relevant for my shop). I like the immediacy of connecting with people which I think Twitter and Instagram allow in a more spontaneous way, which I don’t feel I have on Facebook.
So after twiddling my thumbs about whether I should or shouldn’t be on Facebook with a business page, I’ve decided not to be. A lot of people will think this is a mistake. A lot of people say any business, big or small, needs to be on Facebook. But it doesn’t feel like a mistake for me. I think FB works for big companies with lots of offerings and employees to man their account day and night. I think FB works for small businesses which are already good at it, run by people who are already active on it. But it doesn’t work for me. I’m not very good at it. Even in the days I was a FB user, I could rarely think of anything worthwhile enough to post (and yet, yes, I somehow manage to do it here). It would take me days, weeks, months to build up a huge number of likes before knowing whether it would generate virtual footfall in my shop’s direction. I’d rather use the social media that I feel comfortable with.
So I’m going with my instinct. Less is more. And sometimes, less is better too.