Sunday, April 3, 2016

Decision Making on the Fly


We all make decisions every day of our lives. Some of them are big, life changing decisions that (should) require a bit of planning and research like buying a new house. Others are run of the mill daily decisions like what to wear that day or what to eat for supper. For some reason though, I tend to get the two mixed up on occasion.

For the most part, I am the type of guy who wants to know all the facts and all the repercussions prior to making a decision. Or, in other words, I am not a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of guy. I generally want to know what I'm getting myself into. This generalization of myself does not seem to apply to everything though.

Purchasing a new vehicle is one of my downfalls. I'll spend a bit of time determining my needs, the options and how much I want to (or can) spend on a vehicle. By the time I get to the point of visiting a dealership, I'm over the edge. I walk in with the intent to buy, know what I want and buy it. The problem is that I don't have the patience to wait if/when a couple "minor" criteria from my research are missing. I can justify it to myself that it's the model I wanted - who cares if it's the wrong color or doesn't have a steering wheel??

I know part of this is hereditary. Many times in my youth I heard the phrase, "we're just going to go 'look' at cars....not purchase." I'm pretty sure we always came home with a vehicle on those "looking" excursions. One time, we came home with three vehicles. (In our defense, we replaced both my parents' vehicles and added one to the mix for me.)

Fast forward to today and I still tend to make a few decisions that some may call rash or spur of the moment. I'm not talking about little things like making snap decisions based off first impressions, stereotyping people or buying a vehicle for my wife without asking her about it first. I'm talking about big picture, major consequence things like dropping off of social media.

Everything you've read up to here has been an elaborate stalling technique of mine to put off admitting that my decision to wipe out my Facebook presence was probably not as well thought out as I thought it was. Many of you have already figured out that (as of yesterday) I am back on Facebook. Some of you are probably even reading this because you saw it pop up on the average jester Facebook page. (If you don't already follow average jester on Facebook, you can go here to fix that.)

Since I am still too stubborn to admit that I was "wrong" to drop off Facebook, I will explain to you why it might not have been the right decision....hypothetically speaking of course.

Low ImpactAs a blogger, even an "unpaid, blogging for fun" blogger, I watch the numbers just like everyone else. If the views, likes, shares and comments on my blog fluctuate, I pay attention. I may be writing for my own pleasure and as a way to clear my head, but it is more fun if you know people are actually enjoying what you're writing. For that reason, I pay attention to the numbers. Since I can ramble on about anything under the sun (sometimes without an actual point to make), I can easily alter what I write about based on what people seem to enjoy reading about.

The numbers in this case tell me that Facebook was driving more traffic that I initially thought. I may only have about 40 likes to the average jester Facebook page, but closing that page for a few months had my average view per post drop by twice that much. (For my little blog - that's a lot.)

Medium ImpactWatching the numbers drop was expected so I didn't give it a lot of thought at first. Now, after a few months of being off Facebook, I am suddenly hearing from a number of sources that people are wondering if I still write the blog because they haven't seen anything lately. True, I haven't been writing quite as frequently, but I didn't stop. They just weren't seeing it on Facebook.

That actually means a lot to me. Numbers dropping is one thing, but having family members, friends and friends of friends specifically asking what happened to the blog woke me up. Wow, somebody actually noticed. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Then I remembered I was a man, got over the warm and fuzzies, and realized I was possibly being a bit selfish. Why should I expect my readers to change their habits (viewing through Facebook) just because I was sick of Facebook?

Higher ImpactAlthough the warm and fuzzies is what made me seriously start re-thinking my abandonment of Facebook, it was a bigger picture realization that brought me back. Once I started thinking about the last few months away from Facebook, I recalled how many things I missed because that's the only place it was announced.

I think it's a lot like the phrase, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Or, in this case, "If it wasn't posted on Facebook, then it didn't happen." I was pretty much at the mercy of my wife to share what she sees on Facebook as important news and life events, but that only helps with our mutual friends.

So here I am, somewhat reluctantly back on Facebook. I am (wishfully?) thinking that since I have been off Facebook for a few months now, maybe I won't let it suck up so much of my time. I no longer have that habit of mindlessly scrolling through the news feed - and I hope it stays that way. Who knows, maybe my return to Facebook will help stimulate me to get my blog back on track. I have been a little lacking in content as of late. Maybe some new stimulation from Facebook will kick it back into gear. Until next time....