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Friday, September 30, 2016

eNidhi India Facebook policy!

Facebook is consuming lots of time in everyone’s life, without any measurable returns in terms of entertainment, money, knowledge or other benefits. Many of us loose precious time and often our peace on various things that happen on facebook- trying to prove our point or most of the time, trying to prove the other person wrong. More the time people spend on FB, FB gains to make more money, so facebook has its own set of tactics to hit on the right sentiments and make people spend more n more time on facebook. This post explains how I approach facebook and what I do/don’t do.  You’re under no obligation to do things the same way and your comments are welcome.
David-Speaking at fb-developer garage
Contextual photo- David Recordon in Chennai during FB Developers Garage 2010
1. Family and Work matters are kept out of facebook: I try to keep my work and family off facebook. I seldom post anything about my day job, family members on facebook. We are leading a normal, decent middle class middle class life and we are content with that. Though most of my family members have facebook account, we don’t tag each other every now and then in posts or pics. Even at work like any other employee I will have my highs and lows- may be good things like awards, opportunities and promotions or bad things like denial of the same- but these are celebrated/addressed in right forums and not made public on facebook. This is partly because of privacy concerns and more because I don’t believe in having to show the world what a loving family we are or what a cool life we are leading. Any joy or trouble stays within the family/office and not discussed in public. (At least I prefer it that way). Linked In has some amount of professional details on my job, which is adequate.

Even on my personal level, I don’t post extremely personal information. I don’t look to facebook for sympathy or emotional support if I am in trouble. I am leading a normal middle class life, so don’t have exciting stuff everyday worth sharing. I usually share information related to my travel and my blog posts.

2. I don’t have a comment/react on everything that happens around: I do keep an eye on current affairs and am familiar with various hot news topics- but I don’t always post anything supporting or opposing these developments. My reasoning are as below
-    I don’t have first-hand experience/information on the news item to make an informed comment or pass a judgment.
-    Most of our opinions are based on primary news reports, which may not be 100% correct. Media is expected to do proper due diligence, exercise caution and give both perspective but news channels today run breaking news as soon as they get a clue, jumping to conclusions and passing judgment. I don’t feel like reacting to those immediately. I prefer to wait for few days for other perspectives to come out.
-    Also I won’t have any value to add on such items- my views are aligned to those of majority of us who want a fair, progressive and eco-conscious society.
-    I value my friend’s time. If I don’t have any value add, just posting something in support/oppose of a major event will add to information junk on the internet, costing more reading time to everyone else. I am trying to save those few seconds of your time where I can
-    I can’t really make any difference to what’s happened- my post will not convince terrorists to stop doing what they planned to do, my changing profile pic will not undo the damage caused.
-    I can live without a day or two or more without posting anything. If I don’t have something interesting/useful/new to share, I keep quiet.

3. I prefer to stay away from time-waste activities and contests: Facebook wants its users to spend more and more time on facebook. It tries to achieve the same by enforcing various emotional stuff on us. I see these as total waste of time

Me changing profile pic to express solidarity with some terror strike is not going to help much, various apps that tell us which Ramayana character are you or whats you status update will be 10 years from now and the ones like that- I don’t feel like wasting my time. There are hundreds of contests where you stand to win something big, if you promote the contest and gain votes. These again seem like waste of time and effort, as probability of positive returns is usually very poor. I don’t feel tempted to try out every app that comes out- I can wait for some time and see if it is really worth- most usually die silent death after initial hype. It is important to avoid impulsive reactions.

4 I usually avoid birthday wishes. It is special if you personally remember someone’s birthday and wish them. In facebook it is too simplified- it throws on your face that someone has a birthday and you can wish them, you can enter some wishes without even visiting their profile and then after each and every wish they receive, you will get one notification wasting your time. All reasonably popular people will get 100s of such birthday wishes and next day will post a generic thank you note. I feel like respecting my time and theirs and stay away from being part of this mass movement. My birthday is not made public on FB. I am fine if no one wishes me. Some people need excuse to celebrate- so birthdays, festivals etc make perfect excuse. I celebrate when I can experience something new- like a new destination or adventure etc. I do this at my own terms, when time and price feels right. I don’t a public celebration for these.

5 I do not tag people unnecessarily,
just to get popular attention and hopefully more likes and shares. It is annoying being tagged in posts in which I am totally irrelevant. If I have to tag people, I have begun to tag them in comments, so that it only notifies them and do not appear on their timeline.

I respect other individual’s choice. Most of us spend lots of time correcting others- or at least attempting to do so- trying to explain what is wrong and why. I have not taken contract of correcting the whole world, so I sit back and relax. Facebook has all kinds of people- some are happy to share three dozen updates morning till night from what they ate, saw, did, whom they met, chatted or sleeping with. Others try out every useless app over there and permit those apps to access their friends details and try making those friends also use the app. Many keep sharing news and updates already available on the net and add their overnight expert comments on top of these news. Everyone is a social media expert in his/her own belief, anyone can become a foodie, traveller or photographer as there is no pre-defined qualifications to pass. I have come to terms with this. I don’t have the time and motive to correct people. Everyone is free to do what he/she feels right. I will use tools at my disposal- such as unfollowing/unfriending people or staying off facebook for sometime or in most cases simply ignoring certain things
Shrinidhi is male or female? gender confusion
Facebook having confusion over my gender

I periodically review my profile and remove permissions given to apps: If you have tricked me into giving permission to some apps, it might be temporary. I regularly review the apps and remove which are no longer needed/relevant.

Things we do online can have far reaching complications. Thus we should exercise caution.
Using facebook at work can land you in trouble
We have no way of knowing how other people read, understand or interpret the contents we post online. Because of difference in culture, mindset etc what’s acceptable in one place/person may not be so elsewhere
Careless Facebook posts have resulted in police arrests, communal clashes, broken marriages, lost jobs, deaths and more. Don’t think it is worth it.
There is a life outside Facebook: I am not a big fan of real time facebook updates. I prefer to indulge in the experience and post my experience/observations at a later stage. I am yet to try facebook live. When on travel usually my updates are done once I am back in hotel room. Many things I do, if I feel it is not worth my friends’ time, I don’t share on facebook.

We all have so many things to achieve/do in our respective lives. Each one of us need to assess what % of our precious time is being wasted on facebook and how that can be reduced and how we can use facebook for more meaningful interactions, information exchange and reach. I see increasing number of people going off facebook for weeks or uninstalling facebook app and reporting that they now have more time at their disposal every day. I think it is a good move- everyone should try it once in a while.

My personal opinion only. Not intended against anyone and not bound on anyone. Please use your discretion.

Similar: My experience with facebook ad * Facebook forcing users to download malware * Notes from Facebook Developers Garage, Chennai (2010) * Book review- It all started with a friend request *

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