in doing what you love

How social media militancy confuses people

So I deleted my Facebook profile the other day. Or I should say, deactivated. It was a personal thing. I can’t recall the last time I did that, but it was cathartic. Until about a week into my most recent hiatus, I realized that it was causing confusion for people who use it as a vehicle to contact me.

My more militant side says “I’m extremely easy to find. Among my friends, I’m surely one of the few that heavily relies on his personal domain as a vehicle for contact. It’s not as if you can’t get in touch with me. How much easier can it get than ron at ronbronson.com? But this isn’t how ordinary people work. You were once on Facebook. Now you aren’t there anymore. This makes them confused.

Luckily, my friends know I do this. So they’re not all that surprised by it. Still, my increased network is comprised of people I’ve met over the years who will drop me occasional notes. Some will ask for a reference or want to say hello and don’t really know where to go to find me. One person took to Twitter to seek me out. I thought it was bold and useful, but it made me realize that I needed to rethink my stance on social media militancy.

Why militancy? Well, I’m not sure. If you live and breathe the social world, it can become ubiquitous with your normal life. For my peers who live in real cities with real people, it’s a lot easier.  But when your real world is distant from your everyday life, I find myself sometimes over-relying on technology to give me what my environs can’t. Like most things, there are tradeoffs and I sometimes need to bow out.

So I deactivated Facebook, deleted my Klout profile completely and detached from Google Plus. Maybe it makes me a bad web guy that I can often be an anti-social media Luddite. Except that’s not my position. I just have a pointed belief that not every network needs to be for everyone. And just because a school decided a platform works for them doesn’t mean we need to join every Tom, Dick and Harry network that evolves simply to have “a presence.”

This extends to my personal presence as well. Especially in a world where I’m still struggling with curating my own personal web presence, I don’t feel entirely comfortable farming out my identity to a third party. So this is part of the source of my consternation. In fact, it’s probably not militancy at all. It’s a personal choice borne out of realities in my own world.

While this is how I see it, I hadn’t really considered what other people who do. I never viewed detaching from Facebook as akin to throwing my cell phone in the lake. But that’s what it’s like for so many connections.

Alas, I rejoined and the messages followed. Lesson learned? I’m not so sure, but for now…I think I have a better understand of Facebook’s role in my personal world. Now that’s a lesson learned.