Yes, like all good clickbait, this headline is a bit of an exaggeration as I still believe in and use LinkedIn. That said, two of the social networks that I was using a lot in the past, I barely use anymore. I’m talking about Facebook and Google+.
Let’s start with the latter. I never use Google+ anymore … because it no longer exists, at least for consumer and “brand” accounts. By my count, this was Google’s fourth try at social networking. Remember Orkit? Wave? Buzz? Don’t worry, nobody else does either.
Perhaps I was the only one who was actually using G+ as it WAS called. And my G+ network was really valuable.
For the past few years, I’ve been spending much of my time as a professional speaker, traveling the English-speaking world presenting to more than 1,000 groups in the Vistage CEO Network (see www.Vistage.com). There are at least 100 other professional speakers doing the same thing at a similar frequency.
Here’s the thing: We’re all on well-choreographed schedules, individually, to fulfill the learning needs of more than 10,000 groups each year all over the planet (literally US, UK, Canada, Peru, Australia, etc.). None of us ever intersect with each other. As such, there’s no opportunity to learn from each other.
One of the smarter things I’ve ever done (to go along with plenty of dumb things) was to set up a private Google+ network to connect this group of similarly experienced professionals. Instead of each of us learning at speed “one” (AKA individually), we collectively accelerated to learning speed “one hundred”. You’ve heard that “none of us is as smart as all of us!” It’s true! Our G+ network was awesome. And now G+ is gone.
The fact that this was a private G+ network should have been the obvious clue to where social networks are going. Who really wants to say everything to everybody? Who are you, Kim Kardashian?
With the demise of G+, I got to do something I was growing curious about anyway. We transitioned the entire group of speakers to Slack, the Searchable Library of All Communication and Knowledge. And it is.
Slack is so much better than G+, in part because communication is divided into Channels. This results in less multitasking along with the ability to exclude conversations that are not useful, or relevant, or interesting.
Slack is a closed, private, encrypted network with no spam, no phishing, no advertising, and no privacy bleed. With Google (and Facebook), since they don’t charge for their services, know that you are the product.
As for Facebook, which some people call “Fakebook”, while others refer to it as “The Social Nyet-work”, there was a time when I was pretty active there. I’d accumulated 450 “friends”.
One day it dawned on me, I don’t care where these people are vacationing. And I really don’t care what they’re eating for lunch. I deleted 300 of them. LOL. That sounds so harsh. I “unfriended” 300 them. Apparently, the human brain can’t maintain more than about 150 real relationships.
But are Facebook friends real relationships? Hmmm.
My last post on Facebook was in November … 2017. Today, I communicate with virtually everybody I care about using text messages, individually and in groups. Guess what? It doesn’t bother me in the least that the world can’t see our messages. If fact, that’s the best part.
Sure, Facebook might have 2.5 billion users. That’s a lot of people but it’s not everybody who has a smartphone (which no doubt deeply irks Mark Zuckerberg). However, all smartphone users can text.
There’s just one small inconvenience when living in the texting world; not everybody has an iPhone. I have to pay attention to whether my messages display in blue (you have an iPhone and we can use lots of fun Apple features) or green (you have an Android phone and we can’t use lots of fun Apple features). In case you’re wondering, there are no black messages … because nobody has a Blackberry anymore.
On that last point, in January 2007, it would have been inconceivable that Blackberry, with more than 50% of the smartphone market, would be gone one short decade later. Remember when “Crackberry” was Webster’s Word of the Year? Not only can it happen, it did happen.
I can see a future where very few people are engaged in broadly-public social networking (AKA Facebook as it is today). It was fun for a while but now we are experiencing the downside. Seeing everybody else’s curated lives, while experiencing the reality of your own life, does not make you happier. Sacrificing your privacy does not make you better off. Reading a manipulated news feed does not make you a better citizen.
I expect Facebook, the corporation, to survive and likely prosper. I don’t expect Facebook, the public social network, to be popular in one more short decade … and probably a lot sooner than that. If you’re still using Facebook, take a break for a week and try texting with the people you love instead. I think you’ll find it to a big improvement.