Monday, 31 March 2014

Why Facebook is a Personal Nightmare but a Business Dream

Ever notice how everyone on Facebook seems to be doing something cooler, and more exciting, than you? Ever notice the abundance of smiling faces in wall photos and how they seem to hurt because you know you don't feel half as happy as those people..?

I truly have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, and I think social networking goes so much deeper than what you view on your screen. I had Facebook for a long time when I had my daughter in 2010, and as I mentioned in the previous post, I suffered from a severe and debilitating postpartum depression for nearly 2 years after.

Not only did I feel like a crappy mom because of my complete lack of affection towards my new baby, but then I went on Facebook and got to see "real" moms loving, cuddling, and kissing up on their new bundles of joy. Well I MUST be a heartless human being, I thought to myself. Look at how awesome these other moms are at motherhood and how utterly pathetic I am!! The only message I got from Facebook for the longest time was:
You are a complete failure.

Something deep inside me couldn't give up my addiction to "staying connected" though - I mean, what would happen if I didn't have Facebook?! I would drop off the face of the earth completely! Then one day I was having a horrible horrible day and I said something to the effect of "some days I even wonder why I am here". I did not mention my daughter in that status, nor did I (in my opinion) elude to her being in any danger. Well, one of my "friends" did not agree, and they called Family and Children's Services on me. That is a story in and of itself, but due to my hospitalization with PPD, FACS had already been involved and had placed my daughter into a kin home on several occasions. I had recently (a few months prior to the Facebook status) gotten FACS out of the picture and they had closed our file.

Now it was re-opened. It crushed me because I had waited over 18 months to be free from under their watch and now it was here again.

So, after that incident (and I will say that FACS did a quick investigation and ruled that the filed could be closed), I decided enough was enough. I was going to quit Facebook.

It was a strange transition, and I felt a little "out of the loop" for a few weeks, but after that I absolutely loved it. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but once I stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing, and what they thought about what I was doing, I started to flourish and come back into my own. I started doing things because I wanted to, not because I wanted to post it as my status and show off what amazing chocolate chip cookies I had baked while also doing 5 loads of laundry and polishing my silver.

I had been off Facebook for about a year when I started my painting business. I was quite content to use local classifieds and my blog as advertising, until a few friends mentioned perhaps starting a business page. I was extremely nervous because I did not want to fall back in to old ways. I had come SO far and I couldn't bear to think of returning to that place where all I did was feel badly about myself when I looked at my news feed.

I started slowly again with Facebook, and I opened a new profile so that my old list of friends wouldn't know I was "back" since I wanted to lay low. I used my new profile merely as a catalyst to start my business page. Another painter was gracious enough to give me some names of buy and sell groups that I should post my stuff on.

I started my business page with no help from my "friends" since I didn't have any on my new profile, nor did I really want to ask anybody to "like" my page for fear that other people would notice I just kept minding my own business and posting my items on the groups and slowly but surely I started getting "likes:!

I am THRILLED that in about 4 months I have surpassed 400 "likes" on my page! That is so very exciting to me because I know those are all "legitimate" likes and not ones that came from my friends list or from bribery (that's a whole other post!). I am appreciative of every single fan and each new "like" makes me feel so good.

So, in summary - I stand behind my beliefs that Facebook is an awesome vehicle for small business owners to promote and sell their goods, however, I also feel that on the personal side Facebook can (for some) be a trigger for self-blame, guilt and envy.

All in all your biggest protection is self-awareness - know what you can handle and what you cannot. Know when to stop creeping that person you went to highschool with that now has a gorgeous husband/wife and high-powered job.

After all, who's to say that's even real anyways?

Thanks for reading,

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