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Sunday, January 25, 2015

What I Learned in Facebook Jail

Yes, it's a real thing, Facebook Jail. Facebook doesn't call it that, but that is what it is. Their little computers run their little algorithms, and when you violate some unknown part of the hundreds of pages of the user agreement you mindlessly agree to when you set up your account, you get blocked from using Facebook in all it's glory.

For me, it was groups. I was blocked from posting and commenting in all groups. For two weeks! I have no idea why.

There are two main reasons I use Facebook groups - business and support. I participate in groups related to Origami Owl that include a secret group run by my upline mentor and a VIP group for my customers. There are others as well for networking like my favorite bizzy mamas group, which help build business relationships. I also have my support groups for the boy like a Chromosome 6 support group, and for just being a mom in groups like the Main Line Parent Community. So, being banned from participating in these groups was a bit of a blow.

It's sad but true that 80% of my social life occurs on Facebook. As a SAHM of three that runs an at-home business, Facebook is my connection to friends and colleagues. Instead of sharing a cup of coffee in the break room, I drink it while chatting with my friends on Facebook. Being banned from my groups felt like being in sixth grade all over again -- standing in the corner watching the other girls laugh while I was cast aside. It sucked.

But, like everything in life, it was a learning experience. Here are a few of my key takeaways:

I actually do have real, live friends.

Sometimes it might seem like all my friends are online, but those online relationships have formed real friendships. During my time off of Facebook groups, I went to a networking breakfast and talked face-to-face with the bizzy mamas I usually only see online. I hosted a party at my house to support my friend Courtney with her H2O at Home business (which is awesome by the way!) and enjoyed a fun afternoon with friends from multiple circles in my life. I also had an amazing weekend away with my three best friends from college.

Sometimes a my opinion really doesn't matter.

So often I comment on a thread and contribute to a discussion just because it's there. I couldn't do that. And it made me think, would this comment really add to this discussion? In most cases, the answer was no, not really. In the case that it did, I found a private message to be an acceptable alternative - usually one that sparked a more personal discussion with the friend asking the question. Yes, sometimes everyone in the group benefits from the discussion, so taking that discussion private might not always be the best option, but now my bar for adding to a discussion will be would I send a PM about this? If the answer is no, I probably don't need to comment.

I spend way too much time on Facebook.

I have said that as my hours of sleep decrease my hours on Facebook increase. I'm more easily distracted when tired, and the link to the 50th blog post about being a tired mom is certainly going to be the one that solves all my problems! Even though I haven't posted about it in a while, I'm still concentrating on my theme of Simplify, Organize, Focus and Believe, and spending less time on Facebook definitely hits the first three. During the years shortly after we moved to Philadelphia, it was my lifeline, but now that I've made friends in the area (see above point) it's not as necessary as it used to be. Don't get me wrong. It's still a great way to keep in touch. But do I really need to spend hours on it each day? I don't think so. BUT, this is going to be a hard habit to break!

It's funny, I started writing this post and didn't get a chance to publish it before writing my final thoughts, so I saved it as a draft. The next day, I read What Facebook Means to Special Needs Families. Yep. All that and more. So I likely won't be breaking the Facebook habit anytime soon. But I will try to stay out of Facebook jail… (which would be much easier if they would tell me what I did!)

P.S. I actually have a Facebook page for this blog! It keeps my eight loyal readers riveted to their computers!

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