Taking Back My Privacy
My then-girlfriend and now wife Kathryn got me to sign up for Facebook when they first allowed non-college students to register.
For the first few months she actually ran my profile, adding photos, adding friends, accepting friend requests and posting every now and then.
Soon I realized just how great of a marketing and personal branding tool the platform was so I took over my profile, quickly learning how to leverage it to benefit the startup my brother and I had launched in 2002.
Experimenting with FBML, Pages and Ads made me a digital marketing expert in some circles and I made good money helping key clients as well as deploying my knowledge for some employers.
But things are different now.
I am careful with who I have added and I’ve culled my friends list but Facebook now takes more work than the ROI I feel that I get from the personal profile.
I’ve taken two long breaks, more than 12 months each time, and they were welcome. I still maintained a page that focused on what I read, inspirational quotes and my entrepreneurship journey, but the personal profile with its attendant newsfeed timesuck, tagging, notifications and inevitable debates was not missed.
Now it’s even worse.
I have my trusted news sources so rarely pay attention to what others share on social media unless they are a personally trusted source and Facebook now serves as a constant reminder for how few people actually check their sources on the right or left of the political spectrum before sharing something.
Personally, I don’t have time for arguing and debate on Facebook. I have my political meetings and town halls for that.
Yes, I want to share pictures and videos of my kids growing up and that soccer match where I scored a hat-trick BUT I also don’t want my kids’ lives overshared because we grew up with the benefit of privacy and I do not want my kids to be denied that same luxury.
Privacy is not dead.
An entire generation does not know what real privacy is but as a Gen Y born into analog and coming of age digital, I can appreciate the benefits of privacy and those of a connected world.
I want my privacy back and I also don’t want to deal with information overload.
‘Likes’ are addictive and I’ve found myself too often looking at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to see how many people liked and/or commented on a recent post, as if it actually amounted to a damn thing!
I’m not a celebrity selling something nor am I being paid to promote a brand. My ventures are not public so you can’t buy shares in them (yet) and our RunLive app is not yet available for download.
Those likes just feed my ego and that’s not something I want to feed.
While it’s fun to see what’s happening in the lives of many people you have crossed paths with, I can check up on them once a quarter like a company quarterly report and I can provide the same.
Instead of using social media to post a ton of personal things along with the business updates I’m just going to be totally transactional going forward with the occasional family photos and especially with Facebook, use my page instead of my personal profile more.
My goals are straightforward:
- Give my children a real appreciation for privacy
- Encourage others to put their privacy first
- Remove timesucks
- Focus on brand building and revenue-generating sharing
- Enjoy my life more than looking at pictures of people pretending to enjoy theirs
I’ve never been one to care about impressing everyone or showing off a mythical good life. I just want to be a positive role model for young people and I only need to post certain kinds of content to accomplish that ultimate goal.
My rules going forward are simple:
- Promote a healthy work-life balance
- Promote self-care and self-love above all else
- Share mistakes, lessons and successes
- Share what I’m reading and my thoughts on the article/book
- Share inspirational quotes
- Share stories along my entrepreneurial journey
I can do that and still have the privacy my family deserves.
See you on social media!