It’s been about a year since I quit Facebook cold turkey as a means of reclaiming my time and a bit of my sanity. I had developed a bit of a following for some mildly funny posts to the extent that when I attended a business or social event, my followers would give me warm greetings, engage in conversations, call out specific posts.
But then yesterday, while covering an auto industry event, I found out how fleeting Facebook “friendship” really is. One of my more ardent former followers…a fellow journalist..greeted me with a big “hi! and a smile. Then came the hammer. “You don’t seem to post much anymore,” she said. “Oh no,” I replied. “I quit a year ago.” Her face fell, then hardened, and then she curtly cut off our conversation and turned to speak with someone else.
Are people really that idiotic and shallow to the point of de-valuing your acquaintance simply because you choose to discontinue posting quips on a social media site?
I asked my daughter, who, in her late 20’s, is a social media savant ,if this was common behavior or simply a display of immaturity by a middle aged knownothing.
She gave me a very serious look while explaining to me in no uncertain terms, “you must maintain your online presence to build your personal brand.”
Now I ran social media communications at Fiat Chrysler for 11 years so I’m not exactly a novice at online branding and the working of social media, but for some reason this hit me like a shot. It just seems so horribly pathetic that human beings can be judged by such an ephemeral criteria. Luckily, I’m at an age where my reputation has long been made. I have no one else to impress except my family. In my semi-retirement I have no occupational aspirations other than to dabble here and there with freelance projects and my very nice part-time position at Automotive News. I do not wish to be some sort of social media personality and the only thing about me that goes viral might be a bacteria I catch in the locker room where I play hockey.
What this has all done is harden my resolve not to reverse course and resume my Facebook presence. Oh..I’m still online..through this blog and a very occasional tweet and posting links to some of my current work on Linkedin, but that’s it.
It was fun making people laugh and triggering some smiles during my time on Facebook, but it’s always best to leave the stage with the audience wanting more. That doesn’t make me worth any less. I still tell jokes…to my real friends…not on Facebook..but face to face.