In the summer of 2007, I joined Facebook. However, I didn’t really hit my stride with it until late 2008. and my use of it shot up dramatically in late 2010. Now, it’s my most-engaged social network. Not the one I like the most – that would be twitter - but the one I do the most things on.
Over the last nearly eight years, I have posted lots of snippets of my life on there – restaurants I have eaten at, quotes I liked, moments of snark, rants, thankfulness. And it feels so ephemeral. A week later, it ‘s gone, disappeared forever into the timeline of history.
It’s no coincidence that the frequency of my blogging is inverse to my Facebook usage. From a frequency perspective, I was never more active as a blogger than in 2007 and 2008. And as my Facebook usage increased, my blogging decreased. A big part of that is because rather than sit down and write a well developed and organized piece – something that takes me at least 45 minutes or an hour, I can post the root of the thought on Facebook, get immediate comments and validation, and move on.
The end result, however, is more noise, less signal.
Maybe I’m wrong on this, but I’m pretty sure none of us are going to be remembered for the body of work we created on Facebook. For those of us who seek to collide with the status quo, the key is a permanent, interactive repository of our content. And you won’t get that on Facebook. In fact, Facebook works against that very thing.
What also worries me is that once I post something on Facebook, I don’t think about it anymore. It’s out of my head. Which means that I no longer have to engage it. So I don’t, and any opportunity for using my thoughts, my experience, my stories to effect change are gone as soon as it gets pushed down the timeline by the “Which Power Ranger Are You‘ quiz (I’m the Red Ranger, by the way. #duh!).
Over the last eight years, countless times I have written something on Facebook and thought, “I need to flesh that out later” – but I didn’t. It was gone, forgotten.
A few weeks ago, I vaguely remembered something I had once written on Facebook, and tried scrolling back through my history. They make that very hard to do. Then I got obsessive, and learned you can download a copy of everything you have ever posted to Facebook. It isn’t a hack or a trick – it is a feature – albeit one they don’t advertise.
Here, from the Facebook help desk, is how you do it.
- Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings
- Click Download a copy of your Facebook data below your General Account Settings
- Click Start My Archive
It’s as easy as that. You get a download of every picture, every status, every message – the whole shebang.
I have found it interesting to go through my timeline, which presents itself in reverse date order. I spent the other night, looking through my past entries. Yes, it was nostalgia inducing, but most important, I cut and pasted posts that I think should be fleshed out into full-on blog posts. I now have more than 10 pages of those, and I am not done yet. I have at least 50 potential blog posts there, not counting spin-offs or ideas that percolate up while writing those posts.
I will still use Facebook – but more as a means of amplifying my ideas, not as a repository for them.
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How about you? Did Facebook kill your blogging? Are you OK with that?