DIY Social Networking: A How-To

I recently read an article about people, such as myself, who do not use Facebook. Here is the link. I could definitely refute this claim, as many people have (here is one example), but, honestly, the original claim is such bad science that I can’t take it seriously. So, instead, I have been warning all of my friends of my possible condition and, of course, making sure that my other Facebook-free friends realize that they are most likely psychopaths.

So, what if you’re considering becoming a “psychopath” as well? You’re probably wondering how I have managed to stay connected to friends and family, and whether, 17 days after my decision, I have been beeing more isolated.

The answer is that my online social-life has slowed down considerably, but I’m definitely not isolated. In fact, I’ve never felt more connected! I’m able to chat with the people I actually want to chat with, to have meaningful discussions (rather than seeing pictures of what everyone ate for breakfast!), and to avoid all the negativity that surrounded my Facebook experience. I’m definitely still in the loop with my family, thanks to e-mail and telephone.

So how do you set up a suitable alternative to Facebook? Here are some good steps to take:

1. Share your e-mail address. Go through your Friends list and send messages to those with whom you would like to keep in touch. Make sure that they are not the people who have been sources of negativity. In the message, say that you will be leaving Facebook, but that you would like to stay in touch via e-mail, and provide your address. Give them a couple days to get in touch with you. Sadly, you won’t hear back from everyone. Then, post on your wall, letting everyone know that you are leaving, and share your e-mail address if you want. I did this, just in case I missed some friends that I wanted to keep in touch with. Also, if any of the spreaders of negativity did decide to keep in touch, it would be their decision and on my “turf,” so I figured we could resume our friendship, at the point it was before Facebook. Interestingly, though, none of these people have contacted me so far.

2. Expect a Modest Turnout. Like I said, you won’t hear from everyone. I wrote to 37 people. 20 have written back, and I correspond with about 10 on a regular basis. This is out of 200-some “Friends” that I had on Facebook! But it’s a matter of quality over quantity. Most of the e-mail buddies I have now were people I hardly ever chatted with on Facebook.

3. Visit a Few Social Sites, to Find More in Your Tribe. I was already a member of Michigan Natural Parenting, and I continued posting on that forum, since it is a positive place that has connected me with many people I have met in real life. I added a few people from there to my e-mail list, as well. Then, I used my Internet time to visit other minimalists’ blogs and began corresponding with other like-minded people.

4. It Will Take a Lot of Time at First. When I was setting this up, and getting in touch with everyone, I found that I was actually spending more time online than I had been spending, back in my Facebook days. However, things fell into a much more manageable pace within a couple of days. Now, I get about 3 e-mails a day. I use a little bit of time to check the blogs I follow (subscribing by e-mail can save time in this area!) and to check in at Michigan Natural Parenting. Overall, the time I spend online is greatly reduced.

5. Go With the Flow. I exchange novels on a daily basis with some people (mainly other bloggers—imagine that!), little blurbs with some, and pictures and links with others. Some people write everyday, and with others, it’s less often. Sometimes we begin exchanging novels, then run out of things to say and move on to blurbs and pictures. Whatever you do, it’s okay. Don’t try to force anything, just enjoy the way things go.

6. Find Some Low-Tech Activities to Fill Your Newfound Free Time. There’s no need to find time-waster websites or start watching television, when you can fill your time with valuable activities. We now have a family movie night, and Rob and I have bought some board games to play. I may start exploring some new recipes, and we want to start inviting friends over.

Good luck with your new Facebook-free lifestyle!

8 thoughts on “DIY Social Networking: A How-To

  1. I am still a Facebook user, but understand your stand. I only use it because I live far from my family and it is convenient to keep up with everyone back home.

    I do enjoy email better though, we already have had better conversation than we would have on FB.


  2. It’s funny that e-mail has become an “old school” form of communication. I still write occasional letters. I also still read books rather than a Kindle. But, I ALSO Facebook. Is it any wonder we have such busy lives with so many options.

    • Letters are nice, because they’re spaced out a bit better than e-mail. You get more time to gather things to write about! I’ve been thinking about checking my e-mail every other day, for that reason. But, I’m an Internet addict, so I should take it one step at a time. LOL

  3. I don’t use Facebook and never had. I was hesitant before starting my blog because I didn’t know if I had the time to commit to it. I know I haven’t got time for Facebook and I don’t feel pressurised to be “normal”. I see my hubby on Facebook (not a big user) and whilst it’s nice to see what people are up to there is not usually much of great interest for me. I totally understand why people use Facebook to keep in touch with others when distance is involved – but an email or phone call is so much more personal. Well done Bethany on finding alternative means of communicating and using your time xo

    • Good for you, for starting a blog without relying on Facebook! I thought I had to use it, in order to find readers. Only when it decided my blog was “spam” and blocked all links, did I see that people would find there way here without it.

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