I’ve been reading a lot of articles about how Facebook is dying. I see studies about how engagement is down. I see people talking about how deleting their Facebook was the greatest thing ever.
Then why am I using it more than ever?
This summer I trained for a Tough Mudder race with a group of my friends. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a 10-12 mile obstacle course designed by British special forces. It is true to its name and very difficult. Before the race, we could barely finish a 5k. We definitely couldn’t do a half marathon with obstacles. So, we all needed to train.
We formed a Facebook group to coordinate the training. We had weekly Tough Mudder Boot Camp sessions and planned events like a spaghetti dinner before the race. We posted motivational pictures and teased each other when we missed workouts. We used the social network to be social in real life. After the race, we used it to share pictures of us from that day.
Is there any other tool that could have done all of this? We weren’t going to group message each other on WhatsApp (all of us have unlimited texting anyway). We weren’t going to share goofy training photos on Instagram (we’re the only ones that we want to see it.) I guess we could have figured out some shared calendar thing through a Google calendar.
My point is that we couldn’t have done everything without a lot of friction.
So, while this is just an anecdote, I think it proves that Facebook is more than just a newsfeed. It shows that Facebook is useful for real people and real things. Snapchat might be fun (I use it regularly) but it doesn’t get anything real done. Instagram is a great way to share quick moments, but it’s not a place to catalog your photos.
The Tough Mudder group is just one of many ways that Facebook has become nearly irreplaceable in my life. I’m not saying that nothing can replace it, I just don’t understand all the people saying that something already is.