C'mon, Facebook Is Actually Pretty Awesome

Note: This post is part 1 of 3 on “How I use Facebook, Twitter, and Path different.”

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of discussions over how my friends and I personally use Facebook, Twitter, and Path. Why do these discussions involve specifically these three? I don’t know. So I set out to really analyze how I use the three different in a quest to understand the role of each.

Today’s post is about how I (accidently) discovered I really love Facebook (seriously).

PART 1: FACEBOOK

When I first started using Facebook, I was in my senior year of high school. It was extremely personal. Over time I accumulated a sizeable friend count, but my feed also started to fill up with posts from people I “used to” know. Not only that, as Facebook’s platform matured, people started sharing a whole lot more content. Facebook eventually became an impersonal feed with content from and about people I barely knew.

My co-founder, Zach, and I were discussing this and one night and we decided to clean house on Facebook. If people weren’t good friends or family, I unsubscribed. It took way longer than I anticipated and it requires regular maintenance.

The results were fruitful on so many levels, though. Now, only people I care about show up in my feed, but if I want to check up on an old friend, I still can. Even cooler than that, though, is when I open up Facebook, it takes me less than five minutes to check out all the new posts from friends. You can also unsubscribe from certain “types” of friends and then put them in a group to check whenever you like (e.g. put all your [insert political party] friends in a group and then you don’t have to see their inflammatory comments this election cycle).

My conclusion from all of this is that Facebook’s value increases as you make it more personal and take advantage of some of its segmenting tools for consumption of friends’ content.

The other side of Facebook is about the content you share with others, whether its photos, statuses, articles, or funny cat videos. I used to share everything, but have gotten – again – more personal. I’ll cover this a bit in my analysis of how I use Twitter, but I found that Facebook isn’t the place for sharing articles about “how to increase landing page conversion,” or “why you should use [insert marketing tool]. Facebook is about sharing photos with your friends, your personal blog posts, personal musings, favorite quotations, and really funny videos you think your friends will love.

I could go on and on but I’m sure you have work to do, so the point here is that Facebook is meant to be a place for your close friends. That doesn’t mean you have to decline friend requests from Phyllis at the office though, just opt to not share things with her and unsubscribe from her content if you don’t like it. Boom - relationship saved, awkward avoided. Sounds like a win to me.

The last thing I discovered in looking at how I use Facebook is what really made me realize my love for Facebook. Their Timeline product is incredible. Is it really that revolutionary or innovative? No. That said, Facebook takes a ton of data from your life and creates an interactive scrapbook of your entire life (ironically enough, Facebook used my name to announce the timeline project here) and nobody else is doing this.

CONCLUSION ON FACEBOOK

Everybody loves to hate Facebook, including myself, but I discovered I actually love Facebook. The real value in Facebook is re-investing some time in it to curate the news feed to only display content from people you still stay in touch with (or want to stalk?). Finally, Facebook has a huge competitive advantage with their Timeline because I don’t want to lose that and to start using a new “Facebook killer” would mean I wouldn’t have all the data on that service that I do on Facebook.  

Tomorrow or later this week I’ll publish my analysis of my usage of Twitter, but I can already tell you that the my use of Twitter and Facebook are quickly diverging in a healthy manner that leaves room for both to coexist. The big question I’m already facing though at the end of my analysis of Facebook is: why do we all want a Facebook replacement so bad?

Join the discussion on Hacker News here.