Peace and love on FacebookEvery once in a while, social media freaks me out and makes me want to run screaming altogether. That’s what happened to me recently when I Twitter-clicked my way to a blog post titled “The Five Most Annoying Couples on Facebook.” The article describes the horror of having couples as Facebook friends who do things like “I have the most amazing husband in the whole world!!!” and “Excited to stay in for ‘movie and pizza night’ with the hubby!”

I’m not even sure what, exactly, got me so upset. I think it was a combination of things: I go back and forth in my own feelings about social media and the time sink/payoff thing… I wasn’t that cool in high school and sometimes social media gives me flashbacks to that experience… and then there’s the fact that I might be one half of one of those couples on Facebook! In fact, here’s my most recent Facebook update:

Michelle Barry Franco Totally digging my work/writing retreat at Suttle Lake Lodge. Serious creativity flowing. Bummed I forgot my usual t-shirt of Jim’s for sleeping, but pleasantly surprised that I brought his socks instead of mine. Like a little piece of home right here on my feet.

 

Source: www.thelodgeatsuttlelake.com
the Lodge at Suttle Lake

 

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See where I say the thing about my husband’s socks being like a “piece of home” on my retreat?!
Maybe I’m just defensive because I am one of the “too much in love” people they describe in this article, but is it really all that awful to see people appreciate one another publicly? I mean, don’t we see enough of the other side to warrant a little online PDA here and there?
My question to all the cool Facebook people out there is this: does my status update above make me worthy of “unfriending”?And if this one is somehow forgivable, what about the one last week where I described how my husband made me coffee and brushed the snow off my car? And THEN, what about the update earlier that same (clearly family-absorbed week – GASP!) where I posted a photo of my 5-year-old who lost both of her front teeth nearly at once? Surely I belong on some blog post somewhere as an example of a dreadful Facebook friend who talks too much about the people she loves who are at the center of her life.

 

I think social media has the potential to be useful, fun, and inspire connection and growth. It seems like a great place to share stories and offer little windows into the details of our lives for those who are interested. The beauty is exactly that – listen if you want. The tools are fabulous for customizing your own feeds – and for skimming over content that is of little interest to you.

I’m getting confused about exactly what I am supposed to be saying on Facebook (and this comes up on Twitter, too) that would keep me worthy of “friend” status.

From a business perspective, I definitely notice that people handle social media in vastly different ways and the key seems to be finding the kind of disclosure that is most comfortable for you. So far, I have generally kept my Facebook profile for personal use and used my Facebook Fan Page for business. This is evolving, though, as my business and personal life intertwine more and more, as happens for so many of us.

Incidentally, the article mentioned above was not a business article – it seemed to be about personal Facebook use. But since my focus in this blog is on entrepreneurship, I am thinking about all of this from both a personal and a business perspective.

With the emphasis on transparency in business right now, these mean-spirited messages about how to behave on social media can make navigating these online social interactions tricky. It sucks to be made fun of and stifled of self-expression.

Ultimately, I think it scares some really good people who have nice and even interesting things to say from joining the social media conversations at all.

What are your thoughts?