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How to Backup Your Facebook Photos Easy

A few weeks ago I decided to delete my Facebook profile. You can read about that here. What had kept me from deleting it even earlier was wanting to have a full backup of my photos on Facebook. I do a pretty good job of keeping photos backed up when I take them, but I am sure there are photos I uploaded directly to Facebook that were not backed up. I also would have liked to have a backup of all of the photos I was tagged in by others.

ODrive allows you to connect to Facebook from your computer and backup all of your photos quickly and easily. It’s so easy and fast, that I decided to put together a video showcasing the process for those of you who want to make sure you have a backup of your Facebook photos. Whether you want to move away from Facebook or just want to make sure the photos you have shared are backed up, ODrive makes it easy to do that.

Though ODrive allows you to download all of your photos from Facebook, they are not as high-resolution as they were when you uploaded them. They are however much higher resolution than if you used Facebook’s archive option which allows you to save a copy of your Facebook data. The photos they offer are small and almost unusable.

Download ODrive directly from their website: http://odrive.com

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I’m taking my life back from Facebook

I made a decision that I should have made a few years ago. I deleted my Facebook profile. I have wanted to do this many times before but could never pull the trigger. I logged out of Facebook a couple of times for an extended period, but I always ended up back there. You can read about that here.

Let me start by saying that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Facebook. The fact that there is a service that lets us share our lives and stay connected easier is a pretty amazing thing. The problem is not with Facebook, it’s with much of the content within Facebook.

I can’t recall how long ago it was, but I realized that Facebook had started to become a place where people go to complain about stuff. Just about every post in my newsfeed was a complaint. I would go on Facebook to see what my friends were up to and I would end up depressed by the end of it. Either Facebook was only deciding to show me negative posts or those are the only posts that stuck out to me. Facebook has allowed people to complain about their lives rather than taking responsibility. It’s easy to post to Facebook in an attempt to get sympathy from our friends. It’s actually kind of sad and it doesn’t help anybody.

There has been a change in society during the past 5-6 years. People used to be able to share their opinion without being ran over for it. We used to be able to accept the fact that people had an opinion other than our own. That has changed. We can still share our opinion, but if it goes against anything the media is focusing on, it is best left unspoken. I realized that the bulk of the people I was connected to on Facebook cared more about trivial things than actual travesties. I tried to filter my Facebook newsfeed, but Facebook makes it a pain in the butt to customize the content that you prefer to see.

About two years ago I stopped accepting every friend request that came in. I realized that my newsfeed was so cluttered that I couldn’t see updates from people I was actually connected to. I tried creating custom newsfeeds, but that was a pain to manage. I was not going to go through 4924 friends at the time and manually clean house. To be honest, I even considered hiring someone to do it for me.

My frustration came to a boil last week when I realized I had been scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed for 30 minutes and my heart was racing because of the content I had just ingested. I felt like I had just spent the last 30 minutes reading all of the tabloid articles in the grocery store checkout. Just about every post was negative, disgusting, rude or a conflict against something I believe strongly about. During the time I had logged out of Facebook for two months, I was blogging more and able to read more books. I didn’t mindlessly go to Facebook, I intentionally picked up an actual book.

I had entertained the idea of converting my Facebook profile to a Facebook page for a while. A Facebook page is different than a profile. A Facebook page allows you to post updates just as you would a Facebook profile, but you have no newsfeed and people don’t friend your profile. It’s similar to Twitter in the way that people can decide to follow your updates by “liking” your page. Facebook used to allow you to do this conversion while keeping the history you have amassed in your timeline. That is not the case anymore and it was a bitter pill to swallow.

I have always recommended to all of my clients who want to start a Facebook page not to post unique content to Facebook that they hope to never lose. Facebook will most likely not always be the cool place to hang out. All of the content that people poured into Myspace is now worthless or gone in many cases. Depending on how you used Myspace, this may be a good thing. I have been posting to Facebook just shy of 10 years. I joined in 2006 when Facebook began allowing anybody to create an account. That is a low of content to allow to perish. Within the last 10 years, I started dating the woman I would marry. I got married and had children. Much has happened, and the majority of it was shared through Facebook.

Facebook allows you to backup your data. You can download it into this basic looking archive that you can click and scroll through (see mine here). It’s not very searchable but it’s better than nothing. I was able to backup all of my photos in case there were one or two that I had not saved somewhere else. I never take photos inside of the Facebook app so the majority of my photos were saved in Google Photos or iCloud Photos. I realized that I almost never scrolled back into history through my Facebook timeline anyway.

I needed a change. I was wasting a lot of time reading the nonsense that was being posted to Facebook in hopes of coming across something nice someone else had to say. I am afraid that I will miss things. I have been able to pray for people who are going through hard times because I read about it on Facebook. I would have never known about the situation outside of Facebook. My wife and I like to help people when we can and many times we have discovered a need through someone’s Facebook post. I will miss this, but it will make me actually reach out to people to stay connected rather than scroll Facebook in an attempt to get the highlights.

I converted my personal Facebook profile into a Facebook page. I did not want someone else to end up registering http://facebook.com/jeradhill to use it for their own purposes. I will continue to post to Facebook through this page. I converted a personal account that I had for managing Facebook pages before Facebook Business Manager was created so I could remain connected to the Ditch Auto photography group I created. I will not be adding any friends there. I am sure that this will not be a popular choice among many as the Facebook connection just became a one-way road, but I had to make the decision.

To keep connected with people who’s updates I would miss by not having a personal account, I will actually connect with them in person or follow their updates on other social networks such as Twitter or Instagram. I have had this intention many times, and I know it will be hard to do, but I am going to make an effort. Limiting the information intake will help me focus more on my family and my closer friends, who often get overlooked because they don’t post to Facebook that often.

Facebook is still an excellent tool for keeping in contact with people. As a business owner, it’s a fantastic marketing tool as well. This is why I am not leaving Facebook altogether, I am simply limiting the amount of content I consume so I can fill that extra time with what’s closest to me.

Instead, let’s follow each other on Instagram or Twitter.

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Facebook Video Ads – 15 Days In

Facebook Video Ad

Facebook recently added the ability to upload a video and turn it into an ad. This is cool because Facebook videos start to play in the newsfeed as people scroll. As a photographer and videographer, I have visually appealing content that when actually seen in the newsfeed, gets a lot of views and likes. Some of the top liked items on Facebook are cat pics/vids and wedding photos.

As I have with all other Facebook ad tools, I gave it a try. I had a video reel that I had put together from a previous wedding season which I thought would be a good video to try out Facebook Video Ads with. It was a simple process, just as easy as starting a text based ad using an image. I uploaded the image, set my target demographic and hit start.

The video started off a bit slow as far as views and interactions went, but as time moved forward, that view count grew and is now receiving about 900 views per day. I am running this campaign from December 19th through the end of January. Today marks day 15 of that campaign.

Here is what that ad looks like”

Facebook Video Ad

Here is what the view count looks like over the past 15 days:

Facebook Video Ad Dashboard View Count

And the most important data about the Facebook Video Ad Performance:

Facebook Video Ad View Analytics

So far I am enjoying the result. Of course it comes down to whether or not I end up booking any of the brides who contact me, but so far I have received a lot of inquiries. In the first 15 days, the video received 9,000 views, 100 likes, 4 comments, and 1 share using the share button. Beyond that, there have been a lot of clicks to my website as well as inquiries that have came in stating the Facebook video was what led them to contact me.

Metrics that stand out to me the most:

3.489% Clickthrough rate – That is pretty good even though it sounds like a small number.
62 Website Clicks – This means that 62 people clicked the learn more link and visited my website.
39 Other Actions – This is the conversion pixel I placed on my website to track conversions. That means that 63% of the clicks that come to my website are resulting in inquiries. You do the math.

It will be interesting to see how many of these inquiries turn into booked weddings. Time will tell. Perhaps after all this is over I will post a followup article.

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How I’m Taking Back My Facebook Experience

How I’m Taking Back My Facebook Experience

As many of you know, I logged out of Facebook two months ago. I did this because my newsfeed had become a mess of negativity. You can read more about my reasons and issues with Facebook here, here, here and here. This story is about how I took back the ability to see what matters to me on Facebook from Facebook.

Over the past two months, I have missed a lot. There are posts, photos and videos that I have not seen that were posted by people who I care about and want to see updates from. My wife usually shows me photos she took throughout the day when we spend time talking about our days before bed, but there are dozens of other family and friends who post things I care about as well. Part of me wanted to return to Facebook so I could be on the same page as everybody else. The other part of me wanted to go at least two months so I could see what it would be like to be disconnected in that way. Now that I have spent a few months away from Facebook, I wanted to return to Facebook in a way where I could see the updates from those I care about without the negative posts, ads or blatant marketing messages.

The idea I spent the most time considering was creating a new Facebook personal profile and converting my current one into a Facebook page. This way, I could post to Facebook and still have the same audience but use the new personal profile just for close friends and family. I have seen people who have grown in fame do this as they realized that their personal Facebook had became more about their professional life. I did not really want to go this route because I have never used my personal Facebook profile for professional gain. My business has grown due to my personal Facebook page but only because it reinforced to people that I am trustworthy. I don’t think that converting my personal Facebook profile to a Facebook page would be the right move. People would no longer be “Facebook Friends”, they would just be someone who had liked my page. It would also break my ability to like their content, post comments, and tag them in posts of my own. Using my wedding photography business as an example: When I go to post a photo from a wedding, I make sure to “friend” the bride and groom first so I can tag them in the post on my Photography Facebook page. If they were not friends on my personal profile, I would not be able to tag them through my Photography Facebook page. I know this sounds kind of confusing, believe me, it’s confusing to type. There are obvious benefits to tagging people in photos and posts when necessary. I don’t want to lose that functionality.

I considered either unfriending or unfollowing the offenders as their posts came into my newsfeed but with over 4500 friends on Facebook, I saw that to be a daunting task. The idea of manually having to do all of that work was overwhelming so I never went that far. I would only unfriend or unfollow people who stuck out as obnoxious or continued to post negative content that I was tired of seeing. I realized that this would not be the best option as there is no simple way to manage your friends list in an editor of sorts.

My original idea, which is what I am going to explain further below, is to create custom lists. Facebook has a feature called “Lists” which allow you to create custom lists of friends or people to follow. On Facebook, you can follow people or friend them. Following them is a one way relationship where you get their updates but they do not get yours. This is similar to Twitter when you follow someone and they do not follow you back. A Facebook friend is a two way relationship where you can see, comment, post and tag. A Facebook List displays similar to a Facebook group. The header image on the page displays random photos from the friends or people you follow in that list. The newsfeed for that list consists only of people who you put in that list. You see all of their posts, photos, videos and other updates. The only one that annoys me in a “list newsfeed” is the fact that it shows a post when someone becomes friends with someone else. However, I prefer that over ads. Facebook List Newsfeeds currently do not display inline ads. There is an ad or two on the sidebar, but not in the newsfeed. That is a win in and of itself. There are two different options for creating lists. You can create a custom newsfeed list that simply displays a newsfeed of people who you have added to the list, or you can create a custom friends list. There are differences between the two. A standard list of people can be created to generate a custom newsfeed for you to follow. This allows you to add current friends, people you follow and pages to the custom newsfeed. This would be the best option for someone who wants a feed of content to view. The other option is to create a custom friends list. This allows you to view a newsfeed for that friends list and post directly to it. A standard list gives you no option for posting because that list can contain people who are not your friend or are pages. Think of this as a Twitter timeline that contains people, companies, brands and organizations you follow. Creating a custom friends list allows me to also post directly to that list. I am not sure I am concerned with that because I will most likely return to posting content that my entire friends list can see. If I want posts that I make to Facebook to only be seen by certain groups of friends, I can create a custom friends list for that and change the privacy of my post to allow only those people to see the post.

With Facebook Lists, I can add current Facebook friends, follow people of interest and add pages to the feed. I am technically creating a custom newsfeed of information I find relevant. This also means that I can like a page or friend a person without worrying about all of their content ending up in my newsfeed. This is really starting to sound like a tongue twisting riddle isn’t it…

Facebook Friends Family List

What you are seeing in the above photo is the beginning of my Facebook Newsfeed List. This list will contain family, friends, people of interest and pages I wish to follow. Overtime, I will be able to curate this list to contain only posts and updates from the sources I wish to see. This will make scrolling Facebook to keep up to date with the lives of my friends and family much easier. At this point, there also are no inline Facebook newsfeed ads displaying. There are a few ads on the sidebar, but not in the newsfeed. I am sure Facebook will change this eventually, but for now I am going to enjoy their absence.

If I want to post to Facebook, I most likely will start posting to my general friends list. There are people who want to know what’s going on with me that I might not want to include in my new custom newsfeed and that is ok. I may even curate a custom friends list so I can post my more opinionated posts only to those who know me well enough to know where I am coming from. Part of leaving Facebook in the first place was to get away from the negativity I received from actually taking a stance on a topic. Perhaps I should save those posts for my blog anyway.

What’s next?

Starting today, I am back on Facebook but I am not going to be bothered with the bulk of the content that I was once subjected to. I look forward to staying up to date with what is going on in the lives of those who are closest to me. It will take me a month or so to get this list where I want it. I still prefer a simpler platform such as Twitter over Facebook but most people are on Facebook and it is where content is being shared by the people closest to me. I still plan to post to my blog and make that my primary location to share my own content. I realize that this will bring back all of the notifications that I have not had to deal with lately, but that is ok as I know that they can be turned off or back on should I desire them. I also do not plan to run the Facebook app on my phone. I will probably post to Facebook through another app such as the Buffer App and will only browse the Facebook updates of others through a browser when I have the time to do so. Keeping up to date with content on Facebook is going to take a fraction of the time because of my curated newsfeed of family, friends and choice others. Perhaps after a few months of doing this I will post an update. I am sure that I will find some limitations with custom newsfeeds. I may even branch out and create custom newsfeeds for different categories of people and content which would make it even easier for me to see the types of content I want to view at that actual moment. I truly believe that this is the best way to use Facebook. Custom lists help you cut through the clutter and nonsense to see what matters most.

tl;dr
I am back on Facebook. Instead of viewing the full newsfeed of all friends, people I follow and pages I liked, I have created a custom list that will display a newsfeed of only those I choose. This is a better solution than trying to unfollow or unfriend everybody. I want to stay up to date with what is going on in the lives of those I care about and be able to post to Facebook to keep those same people updated as well.

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45 Days without Facebook

I'm Logging out of Facebook

A month and a half ago I decided to logout of Facebook. You can read more about my original reasons here. Now that it has been over 45 days since I have scrolled Facebook looking for interesting posts from my friends and acquaintances I realized how little our Facebook posts really matter.

When we post something on Facebook it is usually to either update our friends on something or to seek sympathy. That seems to be about 95% of what I see posted on Facebook. I would say that the majority of the posting to Facebook is done because people want comments on their posts. People desire that affirmation that they don’t get from people these days due to the fact that we have fewer face to face conversations than we used to. Being that we can share something out to our average of 450 online contacts makes it even more desirable. However, I feel that we have actually created apathy in our abilities to hold conversations with people.

When I would scroll Facebook, and I know others are just like me because I watch them while in public. We scroll down the Facebook newsfeed looking for something that sticks out the same way we rapidly turn pages in a magazine looking for something interesting. Whatever gets us to stop scrolling has to be interesting or at least intriguing. Most of the time these days it is some sort of drama or meme photo. The only people we stop to see on purpose are those who we are truly interested in.

The people who we are truly interested in is what I wanted to focus on. I noticed that I would look at the updates of the people whom I care about most and then take no action. Occasionally I would comment or like the post but most of the time I would just read the post or view the image posted. That is not the way I should be communicating with the people that matter the most to me. Those people deserve face to face communication or at the very least, phone calls.

So what about voyeurism? I think that Facebook has turned us all into voyeurists. You could also call it, “keeping up with the Jones on steroids.” We find enjoyment out of watching the lives of others with out them knowing it. We occasionally interject with our own comment or let them know we saw their post by liking it but for the most part, we just watch or maybe even stalk. It’s not really healthy at all. I am friends with other photographers, business people and a few people who just seem to have very appealing lives to me and I realized that all I did was watch their lives or their work. The problem with voyeurism is that your own mind is what puts context to every post you see and all most people post to Facebook is their highlight reels of life. Not many people are real and post the ups and downs of life.

I have had a few people ask me if staying away from Facebook has caused me to have closer relationships. The answer is yes and no. As I mentioned in my last post about being logged out of Facebook, I converse with my wife much more than before because I don’t see her Facebook updates. I prefer to listen to her recap her day. She posts a lot of photos of our kids to Facebook throughout the week and I prefer to have her show me them when I get home so she can explain them. You know what you don’t see when you read posts on Facebook? The expression of joy, excitement, sadness or any other facial expressions at all. You lose so much by communicating through Facebook, or other forms of nonlinear communications.

I haven’t stopped text messaging, posting tweets to Twitter or uploading photos to Instagram, but part of me wants to. I first got hooked on communicating with people through text when I dialed into a BBS through a dialup modem and was able to make posts and read posts from other people. Since then, I have loved being able to communicate through text. I love sending emails and sometimes I prefer emailing someone over a phone call.

The death of the personal relationship

All of my life I have only had a few close friends. I was never that guy who had a ton of friends and always jumped around between different groups of people. I am a social person but I am also very introverted when it comes with others. I am better in one on one situations than I am in group settings unless I know everybody in the group. What Facebook has done is allowed me to keep tabs on the close friends I have without actually spending any real time with them. I think many of us can relate that we often spend less time with some people because of social media. This has to change for me because I could probably be a person who lived on his own island by himself so long as I had an internet connection.

It’s not Facebook’s fault

I did not logout because I can’t stand Facebook as a platform. I still manage my business pages on Facebook because they are tools I like to use to market and keep those who care to follow my ventures up to date. I actually just revised all of the content for my Facebook Pages Course for Businesses that is on Udemy. The course has over 18,000 students so you would think that I am a pretty big fan of social media and have definitely taught some people how to use the platform.

The truth is, I received a lot of confused emails and comments from people when I said I was going to logout of Facebook. At the time of logging out I had over 4500 friends on Facebook. Many people only know me through Facebook. For many, I was the social media poster child. Once I explained to these people my reasons for leaving, they understood. I think all of us know deep down that we would be better off without personal Facebook accounts, but most could never let it go.

Facebook is like the news

I used to listen to the news when I was driving. That would give me about 15 minutes of news each direction to and from work and some midday news whenever I was out and about. The problem with the news is that it’s horrible. News is bad. Nothing good ever gets talked about on the news. Our world is a horrible place and the news just rubs it into your face and it’s hard to do anything but think about the negative. This is what Facebook was doing to me. I would read some of the stuff that people were going through and it would make me feel bad. Most of this was coming from people who I don’t even know in real life and don’t really communicate with at all anyway. Yes there have been times I have felt prompted to pray for people who post something tough they are going through and for this I am thankful. I have even helped fund some situations that people posted to GoFundMe that I would not have seen had I not scrolled past it on Facebook. The problem is that the bad outweighs the good and you have to cut the fat sometimes in order to be more focused and positive.

There is nothing wrong with posting about life to Facebook. As I mentioned before, since joining Facebook I got married and had three kids. There are countless aspects about my life that have been shared through Facebook. I don’t want to lose that of leave that behind.

Will I ever come back to Facebook?

I have been considering what to do. I have not posted anything other than links to these recap posts since logging out (my website automatically posts them to Facebook). I have considered turning my Facebook profile into a page but then I would not get to view the newsfeed. I also also realize that most people are probably ok with being my friend on Facebook but may not want to “like” my page. That used to be called being a “fan,” which made it sound even more weird. I have also considered converting my current profile to a page and then creating a new personal profile that will only be accessible to close friends and family.

It’s hard to figure out what to do. I think I will continue to wait until the 60 day mark. I do not feel that I have missed much by being logged out of Facebook. Most of the content I consumed through Facebook does not really matter at the end of the day. Most likely, I will spend the time on my personal Facebook profile to create a newsfeed list of just those who’s updates I want to see so I will see more of their updates and less of the stuff I don’t care about. In the meanwhile, I will continue to post to my blog and to Twitter as I have been doing. I am glad that I am posting more to my blog, especially in the photos section, because my blog can go with me even after Facebook is long gone. It saddens me to know that everything I have posted to Facebook will one day be gone. There was a lot of time invested in all of that posting. If I had just posted to my blog instead, all of that content would be somewhere I had total control. Even thinking back to the days of Myspace, my blog could have been a fantastic timeline in and of itself.

I realize that this post could make it sound like I don’t care about people. That is furthest from the truth. I do care and anybody who has taken even a moment to see what I am about knows this. The problem with social media is the lack of context and personal connection. I miss the personal connection that should be a part of every story. Maybe the answer is that all of our posts should be video instead of text. I think that is where it is going as video blogs on platforms such as Youtube continue to permeate our culture. I have tried video blogging or Vlogging a couple of times and have a hard time getting into it. I already know that it is the video content I have created that has done the most good for me and for others. My online courses on Udemy have over 70,000 students taking them. People have said that they enjoy the video format instead of reading books or tutorial papers.

As I write this I am on a Virgin America flight to Boston for a couple of days to photograph and film for a company I often work with that organizes conferences for online marketers. It’s interesting stuff to me and the people who attend are definitely social media people. I also realize that maybe updates like this should be done in video. Maybe my next challenge should be to do all of my updates in video rather than text. That would definitely make my dumb jokes and comments I post to Twitter more interesting, or maybe more annoying…

What do you think about what I have had to say. Is there anything you agree or disagree with? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Two Weeks Without Facebook

Today marks two weeks without using Facebook and three weeks without having the Facebook apps installed on my devices. Now that I am two weeks in, I have really started to notice the benefits of not being on Facebook. Here are a couple of things I have noticed.

I talk more with my wife
When I was checking Facebook periodically throughout the day, I would see all of my wife’s posts and when I came home, we would have nothing to talk about. To be honest, sometimes I would say that I didn’t see something just so I could hear her tell me about it. I had already recognized the fact that social media had taken away the ability to catch up with each other’s day before we went to bed. My wife still asks me if I saw the photo she posted with the kids earlier in the day and I can enthusiastically say that I have not and then get to experience it and the story that goes along with it. The rest of the world may have known about it already, but I get to hear about it from the source.

I am slightly more disconnected but this is a good thing
It was already hard to stay up on what my closer friends and acquaintances were doing but now I have to personally ask by sending a text message or making a phone call. Actually reaching out to people makes for more meaningful conversations. Sure it would be nice to know more of what is going on but do I really need that?

I am less worried about missing things
At first, I felt like I didn’t know what was going on in the world of the people I know. Now, I am less worried about that. We never used to know every little detail about what was going on in each other’s lives. We used to get together to “catch up.” I am looking forward to doing more of that.

I am more focused on writing
I have been blogging more often, which is a good thing. I don’t want to waste too many thoughts on Facebook because what happens when Facebook goes away? So will all of the time I spent posting to it.

I use Twitter more
I save my quips for Twitter where people seem to have more of a sense of humor. Twitter users also do not feel the need to comment on everything and give their opinion when it was not asked for. Twitter also has a different tone. There are a lot of business minds that I follow on Twitter and I have been paying more attention to their writings. I would rather ingest positive information that helps me grow than negativity and complaining.

Final Thoughts
Not going to Facebook to mindlessly scroll is kind of liberating. I have had several people reach out to me and ask that I continue to post to Facebook. I guess you don’t realize who actually likes your posts until you stop. I thought about posting to Facebook through another app but I don’t like the idea of putting stuff out there and not coming back to it to respond to comments. I am enjoying not being plugged in to Facebook for personal usage. As I have mentioned before, there is too much negativity on Facebook. Not everything on Facebook is negative, it just seems like there is an excessive amount of narcissism going on there and it’s too hard to filter through it these days.

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One Week Without Facebook

I'm logging out of facebook - One Week Update

Two weeks ago, I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone. Last week, I decided not to log into Facebook to check my personal profile anymore. You can read more about that decision here. Part of me kind of feels childish for just not going on Facebook. For a moment, I felt like the kid who decided to leave because the other kids wouldn’t play nice. The problem with the majority of the people on Facebook is that they do not respect the thoughts or opinions of other people. These people have no regard for others. What is interesting to me is that these people seem to only exist on Facebook. There is a different mentality on other social networks such as Twitter, Linkedin and even Instagram.

Over the last week I have ran different situations through my head that could get me back to Facebook such as deleting a lot of these negative people from my friends list or just deleting my entire friends list altogether and then add people back that I want to remain online friends with. All of this sounds like too much work. There is no easy way to do this when you have 4500+ friends in your friends list. I don’t want to delete my account because as I have mentioned before, there is a timeline of my life for the last many years on there and I do not want that to go away.

I also noticed that my Instagram was posting to my Facebook profile and my wife mentioned that people were commenting on the photos I was posting from our trip to Newport Beach last week. I wish that you could pin a post to the top of your profile like you can with a Facebook Business page. Since Facebook does not show much of what you post to your entire friends list, many people do not know why I am not responding. There is no easy way to make that known. I did add a message in my about me section mentioning that I am no longer checking my Facebook profile but people who are already my Facebook friend would have to dig to find it.

I have been considering disabling my Facebook profile because that would make it easier to remove myself from the equation. A friend of mine deleted his Facebook profile and then started getting messages and calls from people asking if he was ok. He said that people thought he might be having marital problems or that maybe something went wrong with his health. This is the kind of weird OCD or whatever it is that people on Facebook have. Facebook is so engrossed into people’s lives that when something doesn’t seem right, they assume the worst and have to know the gritty details. The issue I have here is that most people would never bother to call or check in on you personally so long as you have your Facebook profile going. The moment you remove yourself from the tribe, everybody assumes the worst and must know the drama. When there isn’t any drama, they go back to scrolling Facebook on their phones in hopes to find something else they can feed off of.

What is hard is that all of my family uses Facebook to stay up to date with what we are doing and to see photos of our kids. To be honest, I kind of like it that way. My family and I talk maybe once a week, sometimes a little less than that. It’s just the way we have always been with communication, even before social media. My wife’s family talks much more often and seeing a post on social media often triggers a phone call. When I decide to post to my blog or another social network, my family often does not see that post. Being on Facebook does make it easier because everybody is there.

Not posting to Facebook all week has also changed how I feel about Facebook pages for businesses. The more Facebook forces businesses to pay for advertising the less I want to be involved with it altogether. When there was talk of the Facebook IPO, I knew that they were going to have to switch gears quickly into money mode and that is what they have done. Facebook runs tests on us showing us different content to see how we react to it. They show us less of what we actually want to see so we spend more time there. For many, it has turned into an addiction. For me, I would spend a lot of time there just trying to find something interesting. It would take me 10 minutes of scrolling to find something that was interesting enough to read or comment on.

I get it, we are all busy these days. We have filled our lives with so much stuff to keep us occupied that we don’t have time for real life interactions. We don’t get the details on each other’s lives like we used to so when we see something on Facebook, we obsess over it. We have also lost context. We are left to draw our own conclusions. To be honest, I would rather that less people know what is going on in my personal life. I would rather those who do care about what I’m up to ask me what I am up to by giving me a call or text message. I miss the days of getting coffee with a friend and talking about life.

Whats next?

I am going to continue not logging into Facebook and will stop Instagram from posting as well. Hopefully this post will remain on the top of my profile so people can see that I am not physically present on my Facebook profile. If anybody wants to stay up to date with what is going on with my family and myself, you can follow this blog or the links below. There is also a Photos section of this blog that contains photos I have been posting here rather than to Facebook.

I have also been reconsidering my presence on several other social networks. Instagram is owned by Facebook so I am sure they are working toward making changes to it like they have with Facebook. They have said that there will be ads and the feed of photos will start to change. It’s only a matter of time before Instagram becomes more of a time consumer.

When talking about social networking with people, I have always told people that I would rather be someone that somebody Google searches for than someone who just shows up in somebody’s news feed. I want to add value to the internet and that means coming up with content that is useful and interesting. I want to connect with people who have similar interests and desire similar things in life. Facebook has not been the correct platform for that.

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I’m Logging Out of Facebook

I'm Logging out of Facebook

About a week ago, I decided to delete the Facebook app from my mobile devices. I did this because all day long I would get notifications and updates. Most of the updates could have been turned off if I had spent some time customizing, but I didn’t want to deal with that. I felt that my phone had became too much of a distraction in my life and I wanted to get some part of that time back.

Over the last year I have noticed that I check Facebook much more often than I used to. I used to get on once a day for a few minutes just to see whats new. These days, Facebook has figured out how to get us on there more often and I believe they do it by showing us less of what matters to us. I have noticed that I don’t see much from the people who are closest to me. I have to scroll past a lot of nonsense before I actually reach something that matters to me. I know that part of this is due to the fact that I used to just accept all friend requests and this resulted in 4,500+ Facebook friends. In reality, I have probably have seen 100 of them in the last 2 years, maybe less.

I also had noticed that most of what I come across on Facebook is negative. It doesn’t matter if it’s a comment under a post I make or posts that are in my newsfeed, they are negative. I can’t share anything on Facebook anymore without someone throwing me under the bus for it. Sometimes my posts are snarky but often I post about my take on things. It is then that I get thrashed by people who are my “friends” on Facebook. Nobody honors anybody’s opinion these days. Nobody can just let a person have their opinion and make it known these days. Posting it online means that you are going to get crap for it.

I am not running away from confrontation or differences of opinion, I just realize where my time could be better spent. Social networks come and go and for the most part, the friends that are kept there are not friends, perhaps not even acquaintances. I will keep posting, but I won’t be checking for comments or responding to them. I will post to my blog, which posts to other places such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

I will continue to check Twitter because I have an interesting feed there. On Twitter, you can craft your news feed to contain posts from people you want to hear from. You can do this on Facebook, but it is not as simple as it is on Twitter. Twitter keeps posts short, so scrolling past long winded complains is a thing of the past. Google+, though not a popular social network with many people I know personally, has a lot of professionals who post valuable content that I find interesting. Because of that, I will continue to check Google+. Because Twitter and Google+ are not filled with ads and other nonsense, it takes less time to check them.

Why not just delete Facebook?

I have been a Facebook user since the day it became available to the public. At the time, I wanted something other than Myspace, which had became just as horrible of a place to spend time as Facebook has become. The problem is that I have a lot of content on Facebook. I have posted countless text posts, uploaded 1000’s of images and videos. I know that I can export them, but I don’t want them to go away. My wife, family and close friends are still on Facebook. If they want to tag me in something, I want my name to be there. I don’t believe that deleting Facebook is the answer. I never deleted my Myspace profile.

Since joining Facebook, I have gotten married and have had 3 beautiful children. There are a lot of posts and images that comprise a timeline of that chapter in my life. I may want to scroll though that from time to time.

I will be posting more to my blog

Rather than posting to a social network that will most likely go away one day, I will be posting to my blog. I started this blog in 2005 and had been blogging since 1996 when I created my first website with Frontpage. I have a photos feed on my blog that I have been posting photos to that I would normally have been posting to Facebook. To make it easy to go back and see photos by subject, I have been tagging photos. For example, you can see photos I posted during our Newport Beach vacation by viewing the Newport tag, or photos and posts from Nascar races by viewing the Nascar tag. People who care to can still post comments under my posts, photos or videos and they can do so without the Facebook ads and other nonsense. People who actually do post comments there will most likely be actual friends of mine who are not just trying to take me down a notch.

I have always been a big advocate of driving traffic to your own website rather than sending it to social networks. Most of what I write does get posted to this blog, my company blog or other sites of mine, now I plan to post all content to my own websites.

It will take some time to completely log out of everything that Facebook sends notifications to, but I will get it done. I have already deleted all mobile apps, logged out browsers and system updates on my Mac. I changed privacy settings to show a notice to those who happen upon my profile informing them that I am not logged in any longer. I am sure it will take me a few weeks to figure out the best way to keep Facebook active while remaining logged out.

Will I be back?

I am not sure. I am already enjoying other things rather than hoping for at least one positive post on Facebook for every twenty I scroll past. I have started catching up on blogs I follow and will even have some time to find a few more to read.

I finally got to a point where I realized that Facebook was a distraction that mostly brought negative energy my way. I will still get notifications of me being mentioned in other conversations because I have had many people tag me with questions. I enjoy being useful and love answering questions when I have a decent answer to provide. I will just provide whatever feedback is required through email or in person.

I will also continue to post to my Facebook pages. I have Facebook pages for my Photography business and my Marketing company. Facebook is still a somewhat decent way to keep a feed going with updates.

What could you do with your time if you were not scrolling Facebook all day?