My Facebook strategy

Let me readily admit that there are people who see me as being a tiny bit unstable.

Okay. That’s out of the way.

I change my mind as often as I make decisions. I revise a lot. When it needs to be done anyway.

I started using Facebook in 2011. At the prompt of one Nadine Harman at a media college I attended. It was during a Journalism lecture and the topic of discussion was Blogging. At the time, I’d only created my profile but left it dormant. I didn’t have a lot of friends on the platform, so I lost interest in it. So much so that I forgot the password for the profile.

Some five years later, though, I found myself questioning why I was using Facebook in the first place. Was it because most people I knew were on it? Or perhaps it was for my growth – reading a wide array of content from anywhere in the world, making connections without geographical restrictions? I was not sure anymore.

So, I deactivated my account. But not before I un-friended every single person I had on my list. I needed a breather from the platform if it was to be of any value to me, or anyone else who connected to me through it.

I enjoyed the lecture that morning. It was poetic. She, Nadine, waxed lyrical about how the media landscape, communication in business, political discourse and the blurbs we write in our personal lives were about to change in ways we hadn’t imagined possible. She outlined the (global) power and reach of the social media platforms that were starting to proliferate.

Keeping up with friends was easier. Looking inside a company you want to work with became a little more transparent and took less effort. Building a strong online presence that acts as your billboard was now possible. Collaboration was now magnified. Time and space became irrelevant. The world became small.

After that class, I went back and edited my account and got going. I came out of exile. I resent friend requests to friends and acquaintances, who found it odd why I left in the first place. “I changed my mind about it,” I said to most of them.

I think of myself as a motormouth. I always have something to say. So I had fun using my Facebook profile to express myself and connect to people. But then, after much (re) thinking, in 2016, I questioned again the reasons I was using my personal profile (Facebook had introduced business pages then, and I had created one to publish stories about my writing and speaking projects). Did I even need a personal profile?

For the second time in six years, I killed off the personal account – un-friended everyone again! The thinking was that from that point on I would use only my business page to publish everything. And I did. That went on for close to a year. And I then learnt about the limitations business pages have compared to personal accounts. The biggest benefit I had, though, was being able to filter the stories I was consuming because I was not subjected to ones friends published. My timeline was cleaner.

But I missed the intimacy a personal profile afforded me. I was thrust into a dilemma – if I get back to a personal profile, it’ll be repetitive as I also publish through my page. What to do?

That’s when I developed the strategy pictured above. The personal account would end with my real surname whereas the business page would remain Themba Jay. The personal would promote the page. There’d be some variation between the two.

I had also decided that my platform would contain mostly my stories instead of sharing other people’s work more than my own. My writing took centre stage. And I committed myself to never publish anything that’s not of value to me – thus gossip-y stories and attacks on people didn’t make the list of subjects discussed on a platform that bears my name.

In the way of friend requests, I was determined not to load people onto my list for the sake of merely having people to connect to. I would rather have fifty friends with whom I connect on a deeper level than have five thousand with whom I waste time. Impact and making noise about my work and the things I love became an impetus for getting back to using a personal profile (and any other online platform, for that matter).

I’ll admit this to you…

Many people I sent friend requests to (a lot of them for the third time, mind you!) thought I was annoying by playing back-and-forth and changing my mind wily nilly. That I should be decisive! And, a long time ago, that push back would have had a negative effect on me and on my confidence. (I decide thing one moment and some time later, I think about what I decided and if I feel I should, I do decide against it. I am always thinking. And because of that, I’m comfortable with contradicting myself.)

And at this point, I am curious about how you use social media; your reasons of using them – what is your strategy around social media?