It was three months back that I had floated the idea of not cross posting from my blog to Facebook. Was soundly denounced by all commenters not to do any such thing. Not exactly of sound mind or body, I went ahead and did it anyways. Actually took Parijat’s advice of “try out for some time”.
I thought I will try it out for a month. It has been three months now. That itself says something. Here are some learnings…
What I gained:
a. A lot of time and self control: It was preposterously difficult in the beginning – missing out on all the comments and counter comments and likes and a rewarding engagement model with the readers and commenters. But over time, I realized what a time waste it had become for me. Now I check Facebook for 15 minutes in the morning – usually there is nothing for me – so, I scroll thru updates of others, smile at the furious points and counterpoints on mask versus no mask, virus versus hoax, Democrats versus Republicans, BJP versus Congress and log out of my laptop screen.
b. Focus on the quality of my blog: With that extra time, I have started focusing on my blog. The writing is still as bad as before but I have started working on how the blog looks. That – and some great encouragement from Larry – led me to learn HTML and CSS (and now I am learning PHP) to make all sorts of tweaks to the blog. You remember how the first time a kid learns fonts and colors and soon the whole document is filled with all the colors of rainbow and all font styles and sizes possible? Yes, I am that dangerous now.
c. Learnt to tweak the model: Over time, I learnt how to mix and match for best results. I still post once in a while directly to Facebook (like this one). After requests from folks like Kenneth, I started a email subscription to my blog (initially I was against it). Instead of immediate email notifications, there are weekly digests that go out. And then somebody suggested – why not send the digest to Facebook with links. Which is what I do now. I am also getting good tips – from folks like Milind, as an example, how to make a lot of things in my blog still better.
I would have missed all this if I had not “tried” out this experiment, that I am afraid is here to stay with me.
What I lost:
d. What I miss most is all the random updates of friends. I had to ply thru a lot of political and other opinions to get those posts, but usually I would get one or two interesting updates every week. Spending 15 minutes on Facebook does not get to that.
Net net, I think Facebook had become an addiction. I think I have been able to get myself back to where I wanted – it is a tool and I will use it as I deem fit and not the other way around.