Every time I scroll through my Facebook news feed, visions of Lamb Chop come to mind. "This is the song that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friends." Low-quality photos and unsolicited opinions flood the page, hurtling me down an expansive rabbit hole of existential contemplation: Why are we here? Why are we wasting our time? Why must people take pictures of their lunch before they eat it? We seem to be living in an era of constant documentation and, quite frankly, it's exhausting.In recent months, I've begun to notice that, personally speaking, the fear of missing out has quickly been replaced by the dread of catching up. No matter how frequently one checks Facebook, there's always an endless barrage of updates to zap your attention. Yet, while I once felt compelled to skim through all that this social network had to offer, fatigue now has me leaning toward the opposite extreme.
Last week, after checking Facebook regularly throughout the first few hours of my day, I grew frustrated. I recognized that this looming distraction no longer provided the mental break I desired, but served as the mental block I feared, instead. Thus, I closed the Facebook app and refused to check back until I returned home later that evening. I consciously chose to engage with reality and allow the virtual to fend for itself.
Nearly eight hours later, I revisited Facebook only to find that--you guessed it--I had missed absolutely nothing important. It reminded of the days before smartphones, when leaving the house meant leaving all such technologies behind for hours at a time. (We have so many conveniences at our fingertips nowadays, that it's often hard to recall the days when beepers were the coolest gadgets available and payphones still existed en masse.) Ultimately, of course, I felt liberated! I was no longer the zombie-like prisoner trapped behind the glow of her screen, as so many others still are. I was free to make the very memories people post about on Facebook all the time. (Note: I have since decided to abstain from Facebook any time I step outside the house. You should try kicking your vices to the curb, too.)
But, if I've personally grown tired of Facebook, how many others have, too? MySpace inevitably fell from grace, so what's keeping Facebook from eventually succumbing to the same fate? If brands truly want to stand out among the clutter strewn about by users' friends and family, they'll need to do so in ways that enrich lives and provide value without bleeding into the chaos. Facebook still holds great potential, but engagement relies upon carefully calculated campaigns that intrigue, not irritate. Just think--If consumers already follow you, that means they're probably interested. Why not live up to their expectations? If we really crave aggravation, we'll just unblock Aunt Ida's posts instead.
Oh, and just in case you aren't familiar with the song referenced above, I present this timeless classic for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!