The Casual, Preliminary View of Facebook And What I Need To Change
Facebook is one of the biggest social media platforms used today, even despite reports saying “it’s just for old people.” It hosts profiles of diverse persons, businesses, and agendas, including journalists. However, Facebook is just as casual as it is professional.
How People Use Facebook
In my opinion, the casual use of Facebook to younger generations growing up with it may taint its use in the future. It’s hard for someone to use Facebook as a casual platform and then shift into a professional mindset. That being said, Facebook itself is so vast and everchanging that there’s always something new to learn in your settings, which may bridge this performance change that users may have to go through in the future.
I consider myself one of those people. Growing up, I used my mum’s Facebook account to play games and explore the internet before I came of age to legally use the platform. I remember some of my elementary school teachers being on Facebook in the back of the classroom in their downtime when we were testing, one in particular that used to play Farmville when we were learning how to type. And even at that young age, many of my friends lied about their age and were already posting and sharing things online, then turning their electronic devices to share with their neighbors. To me, Facebook has always been pretty casual and looking at it from the business and journalistic perspective is new and intimidating.
In one of my classes, we have been discussing the specifics of Facebook — the analytics, pages versus profiles, and different kinds of settings. Most of these conversations has put my digital footprint on high alert in my mind, and I’m very anxious about it. I don’t know what is and is not appropriate for myself anymore — how do I use Facebook? I’ve fallen into something parallel to a social media existential crisis.
Using Facebook Professionally
Before these lessons, I was aware of the “follow” feature on individual profile accounts, but I did not fully understand it. My personal Facebook, admittedly, has a few people that follow it, but I never understood what that meant or what they got from my profile. I never gave it too much thought, either, as they continue to exist and float around my profile. However, I plan on deactivating this feature for my personal Facebook, because I believe in utilizing a page as a journalist rather than an account, and this account is for my personal friends, family, peers, and coworkers. This separation between personal and public profiles is essential to my performance on social media as a professional journalist.
Further on this topic, I fully support any kind of account type (page or profile) for the average journalist. While I can use the page format better to my agenda, I recognize that others have just as good strategies for profiles. I like the page format because you can better review your analytics, invite a larger audience to watch parties, and witness negative feedback easier to adapt your posted content to your audience. The Facebook page is also “in” right now; it’s the current “style” for people who wish to make a name for themselves or staple their content into any social media algorithm.
Sitting down and reviewing these features and their functions will help me, not only with my personal page and agenda, but as the Editor-in-Chief of my college newspaper. I hope to look into our settings and post analytics more in-depth in the next couple of weeks to adapt our posts to our audience. I particularly want to focus on the “When Fans Are Online” tab to cater our articles towards the curious citizens of the internet. I believe this will help us thrive, and I can pass this in-depth knowledge to other club writers who may not take my Social Media in the Media class and/or who are just as clueless about Facebook as everyone else.
I am also hoping to use similar strategies to restart my “professional” Facebook page. I started it for my “wannabe YouTube career” several years ago and have spent time filtering through the pictures and posts. I hope to convert this page, as it already has a small following of people who will easily follow me into my journalistic content.
Using Facebook Personally
On top of deactivating my personal profile’s follow feature, based on this week’s class content, I see myself adjusting my use of Facebook to more filters in my “See First,” “Unfollow,” and “Saved” selections. These are three features that I knew of previously and heavily used, though I don’t think I was utilizing them to their full potential.
I use “See First” for close friends and family members, especially those that do not share or post a lot. This includes my mother and my partner. I also use this feature to highlight pages of high interest to me, like some news and wrestling pages. However, I do think there are more profiles and pages I am missing from this list and others that I no longer care to receive highlighted posts from.
Similarly, I need to review pages and profiles that I have unfollowed as some can be removed from my current list and others that need to be added. I enjoy liking pages to support their causes, though I might not be interested in seeing their content regularly. Similarly, I like building connections with friends, but I don’t always want to be involved in their meme sharing, though I don’t want to unfriend them (connections are getting only more and more important nowadays). I see Facebook’s “unfollow” feature as a loophole to these problems and a way to remove myself from situations without burning bridges.
Finally, I save a lot of posts from friends and pages. These posts can range from recipes I want to try to silly videos that will always cheer me up to important news I want to share later. However, whenever I visit my Saved tab on Facebook, I am bombarded with hundreds of unorganized links. There are pictures, GIFs, videos, statuses, external links, polls, and so much more in a giant unfiltered list. I have recently found out that you can create categories within your saved list, kind of like Pinterest’s new update with their Boards. Using these new categories, I need to reevaluate what I am saving and why. I believe this will help me look at Facebook from a new perspective and analyze every post I see and its importance to my personal goals and values.