You are horrified by the oversharing taking place on Facebook.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but let’s say you avoid it because it renders those old feelings from junior high when you felt vulnerable.
Perhaps you think you have to be witty and interesting but aren’t (or don’t think you are.)
Mostly, sharing on Facebook just goes against the grain for you. You’re a private person and don’t want people to know what you’re up to all the time.
Conceptually, you know it’s good networking and enriches relationships. We all know the more people you know, the more opportunities present themselves to you and I’ve always considered something like Facebook which is the most mainstream right now, to be a very time-efficient way to keep in touch with all of your people from each chapter in your life. I find it’s a great way to scale relationship-building.
Because let’s be realistic. If you don’t have the time for Facebook, you certainly aren’t taking the time to pick up the phone or send an email to your high school friend or colleague from 3 jobs ago to see how they are doing. On Facebook, at least you can do it in a few minute spurts even if it’s to give a thumbs up on your former boss’s kid’s basketball picture. Those mini-interactions add up over time.
If this is you; You, my friend, are a social media introvert. You are far from alone, and I have some ideas, so pull up a couch, because the doctor is in, and I’m going to help you overcome your objections.
A Word on Protecting Your Privacy
This is my favorite objection and perhaps the easiest one to overcome. If it’s private, don’t say it.
There is plenty to talk about without violating your personal space.We’re not staring at our newsfeeds awaiting you to chronicle your life, your meals, discussions with your spouse, your day’s tasks and events.
However, do take a little foray over to your privacy settings and take the time to choose the options. Go up to the snowflake in the top right corner. (I know. I know. It’s not a snowflake. But I see out of snowflake lenses.)
We interrupt this post to tell you that as I type, I clicked over to Facebook to get the location of privacy settings and spontaneously got involved in a chat with a friend from Hebrew School whom I haven’t seen in person since I was 13, although we’ve been in regular contact over the years via FB. The chat evolved to her looking for a digital marketing agency, and “OMG, can you send me your bio and agency fact sheet?” I mean, just in case you were wondering about the value of Facebook.
And we’re back.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the privacy settings because you can find help all over the internet such as here.One important feature I’d like to highlight is the ability to control who tags you in photos. I set mine so I have to approve any photos in which I’m tagged. I keep thinking one of these days a cruel high school friend is going to post an incriminating photo. Fortunately we’re mostly protected because revenge is sweet. But just in case:
Go into Timeline and Tagging and turn this feature on:
Review posts friends tag you in before the appear on your timeline?
While you’re there, click through everything and carefully make your selections. Facebook can get tricky on you.
Don’t worry about being a chatty Cathy. Just watch. Comment on others’ posts. Answer their questions. Stroke their egos. Tell them how cute their kids are, their dogs and cats. Share stories and get involved in the conversation. I revert to this phase when I don’t feel like I have anything to say. You don’t have to be the one to start every conversation.
See? That’s not hard at all.
What the hell should I talk about? I’m boring.
You’re not boring. You think you are, but your normal is only normal to you. Get outside of yourself to see that you actually do have interesting things to talk about. Everyone carpools. Everyone goes to the grocery store. Why do you think there’s a whole section in the US Magazine called, “Stars: They’re just like us?” There’s a reason why Seinfeld, a show about nothing, was so successful. You don’t have to be changing the world. We all just want to relate to each other.
After you’ve watched the conversation for awhile and interacted from a reactive standpoint, you’ll start to get ideas. Don’t force it. Don’t think “what should I post on Facebook?” Just be natural. If you wouldn’t say it in real life, don’t say it on Facebook. Don’t be a douche about it – I always use the “real world filter.” Would I say this sentence out loud? If the answer is no, don’t bother.
Go ahead and talk about the little stuff. Share stories and funny moments. Ask questions. Stop worrying about what people think. You’re just trying to have a conversation for crying out loud.
A final word for social media introverts
Be selective about who you friend. This will largely dictate your experience. Unfriend or hide them if they are annoying you. I use the “hide” feature if I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I unfriend if they have driven me over the edge and I just don’t care what they think.
Lastly, I didn’t talk about goals or a strategy because this is your personal page, not a business page. You likely have an agenda of some sort; a reason why you want to have a solid network. This is just about building that and giving as much as you can, because when the time comes that you need something, you’ll have an entire community upon which to call.
Social media introverts, what do you think? Come on out of the woodwork and comment here. See how it feels. 🙂
And to the others, if you’re still here, do you have advice to add?[ssba]
It’s like you read my mind! Although I was thoroughly entertained, I’m not cured, but I’ll keep working on it…Loved the post. “Nailed it!”
Lisa Gerber says
Just the fact that I got you to comment here not only warms my heart more than you know, but feels like a small victory- a small step in the right direction.
Bob Reed says
Can you PLEASE get out of my head?? You’re always writing what I’m thinking. Time to start beating you to the punch, dear Lisa.
Lisa Gerber says
This makes me indescribably happy. Can you guess what I’m going to write about next?
Davina K. Brewer says
Oh but I AM boring.. and never cared for ‘Seinfeld.’ Facebook is tricky for me and gonna have to write this someday, this hair-brain idea: in some ways I’m more free to be me – at least my biz w/ a little balance of personal, silly self – on other networks b/c my ‘F&F’ aren’t there, watching.
Yes I have biz ‘friends’ of course but even so, I don’t really want to have FB be yet another place I dump my blog yada, rarely mix into those threads, discussions. Now if the labyrinth of privacy settings would let me comment on the SM rant du jour – and not alert high school buddies XY – I might. Don’t want to be the boring ‘all biz’ person, like those obnoxius ‘all politics’ friends I muted. 🙂 IDK the personal/professional line is tricky, even more for a shy, boring introvert like me. FWIW.
I see the comments posted are from 2013, Alas. This is still very relevant for some of us today. I totally agree with the other posted replies. You nailed it and I am working on forcing my self to get over myself. These are some baby steps I feel I can utilize to get started. Thanks
Lisa Gerber says
Hi Jac – yes, totally still relevant. Thanks for commenting because I hadn’t even read this in a long time! Glad it was helpful to you. – Lisa