Facebook etiquette for what is basically, a year-long vacation?
December 20, 2013 11:01 AM   Subscribe

After years of saving and planning, I've been able to realize my dream of traveling the world for a year. I'm 6 months into my trip and I've been posting photos or updates about where I am in the world on facebook about 2 or 3 times a week. While many people have expressed appreciation for the updates or interest in what I'm doing, I've noticed about 7-10 friends who used to interact with me all the time on FB and real life have totally stopped liking/commenting/sending messages although they're still very active on the site. I kind of suspect some of them have blocked me from their timelines. I know not everyone will have an opportunity like this and I try to be sensitive to that. I'm not preachy about "the importance of travel", or posting pics of 5 star hotel rooms and fancy restaurants (I'm doing this as cheaply as possible, mostly hostels in developing countries and couchsurfing.) At the same time I LOVE seeing others' travel pics and, well, want to share some of the exciting, amazing things I'm experiencing with people in my life. But some people seem put off by this, so I'm wondering - am I being a jerk? What's the etiquette here?
posted by horizons to Human Relations (54 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you're being a jerk necessarily, you're just not posting things that those people particularly want to engage with. I personally am bored to tears by travel pictures, and would never click on or look at any of them, even if I liked and cared about you and still wanted to be friends. I "like" when people have a triumph at work, give birth, or say something funny about the news. I couldn't care less about their vacations.
posted by juliapangolin at 11:06 AM on December 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

The etiquette is that you exercise your right to post whatever you want, and if someone doesn't want to see they exercise their right to ignore it. Why be insecure and offended by it? Live your dream; don't worry about who may or may not be bothered by it, or who isn't even bothered but just doesn't feel like seeing it for their own reasons. Beanplating.
posted by curtains at 11:06 AM on December 20, 2013 [43 favorites]

You realize that Facebook does not show your every update to every friend, rather, it picks and chooses which of your updates to share with whom based on an algorithm that's entirely opaque to users and changes constantly?

Do not take this personally. If you're missing a particular friend, try sending them an email or a chat message to say hello and ask them what's new. Do not mention the "missing" likes and comments. Put this from your mind and go on enjoying your life.
posted by trunk muffins at 11:07 AM on December 20, 2013 [24 favorites]

Your behavior is well within normal facebook limits and if I were your friend I would love to see your travel pics. I do the same when I'm traveling - just a post here and there, not every day, and I'm always excited to see other friends posting about their travel as well.

Be yourself. There will always be people irritated by things we do without intending to be irritating. You can't control that.
posted by something something at 11:07 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

You are not being a jerk, but people are just tired of seeing your shit. We get it, you're on vacation, and now we're hiding your updates. Maybe talk about something else?
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:07 AM on December 20, 2013 [33 favorites]

Dude, what do you care? People who don't want to see your travel photos are blocking you! It's fine! They're just not interested in what's going on in your life right now. If you want to connect, reach out to them (NOT asking why they don't comment anymore).

Short-short version: let this go, it's not a big deal.
posted by mskyle at 11:07 AM on December 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

I find the difference is how you package the experiences. People don't simply want to know broadly that you've traveled everywhere and how great it is, and how you're so happy you saved for this experience, they want to share in the actual value of the experience. I have a friend's blog who always posts really great stuff that is entertaining, insightful, and makes me stop to rethink my life and connection to others around me in a positive way.

So what are you learning? Can you share those lessons with others? For instance, did you have a moment when you realized that you would run ten miles if you could just get a meal with your best friend back home? Did you realize some basic rules for traveling that others can apply in their own (more local) lives? Maybe something like "when out by yourself- whether in the local park or in a country half way around the world- it can lead to some amazing moments when you stop to ask a grumpy looking man if he would like to see a picture of your dog?

Good luck!
posted by cacao at 11:07 AM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

The etiquette here is that if someone doesn't enjoy seeing another person's posts, then that someone should politely and quietly block them from their newsfeed so they don't have to see the posts.

The problem has solved itself. Some people don't care about your trip. Personally, I wouldn't care about your trip. I would probably block you, too. It's nothing personal, it's just that your pictures of that lovely open air market in Marrakesh are taking up space that could be filled with my friends' dogs, so you have got to go.

Post your pictures and updates. People who want to see them will follow. People who don't want to see them won't. Easy-peasy!
posted by phunniemee at 11:08 AM on December 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

There is nothing you can be posting 2 or 3 times a week that would be inherently poor Facebook etiquette for the frequency alone. I really, really doubt the lack of participation is anything but people looking at them and having nothing to say about them.

Also, do you comment on their stuff? I generally don't keep in touch with people who don't reciprocate.
posted by griphus at 11:08 AM on December 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Different strokes, etc. Some people love seeing regular photos, others don't. One of the nice things about Facebook is that, if someone is annoying you, you can silently hide them. I know a bunch of my friends are still posting .gifs with out-of-context Obama quotes or whatever, but I no longer have to see them every five seconds.

Enjoy the feedback you do get. Don't worry about the feedback you don't get.

In the old days someone would invite people over for a slide show. People who didn't want to see slides found a polite excuse to not come. It's all good.
posted by bondcliff at 11:09 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

As someone who hasn't taken a vacation in the past 15 years, I am personally put off by and tend to ignore others' vacation photos. But that doesn't have to do with the people posting them so much as myself. You're not at all being a jerk. Don't worry about it!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:10 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can't dictate other people's behavior on the site. There's been studies suggesting that too much Facebook can bum people out --- as I've heard it said, you're comparing your behind-the-scenes to other people's highlight reel. And you, my friend, are the Calvin Johnson/Lionel Messi/Jackie Chan of your friend group right now.

Don't feel you have to stop talking about the awesome stuff going on your life. But if there's particular people you miss interacting with, reach out to them privately and say hey, what's up. Tell them you miss them and wanted to check in. I suspect that'll help loosen them up a little.
posted by Diablevert at 11:11 AM on December 20, 2013

I am happy you are on this incredible adventure. But I have already stopped caring about it. Six months is a long time to have to care.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:15 AM on December 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

I tend to hide people from my news feed when they only talk about one thing - what their kid ate that day, how far they ran that day, how many more days it is til they get married, etc. I like travel, but I think I might get a little saturated with holiday pics if they were all someone posted and I wasn't that into the places they were visiting.

(Because I am really paranoid about boring people on Facebook, I pre-empt certain people hiding me from their news feeds by setting my privacy settings so that I'm hidden from theirs - then I never get offended by them ignoring everything I do, because I know they can't see any of it. You could think about doing something similar if it's really bothering you.)
posted by raspberry-ripple at 11:20 AM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

Facebook recently changed their search algorithms again, so it's entirely possible they just aren't seeing your posts in their feed anymore.
posted by skycrashesdown at 11:22 AM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Do you ever post about the not-so-great days? I have a complicated relationship with Facebook, and try to avoid it mostly because it makes me feel like crap about myself, but I do find myself more inclined to read people who seem to have a mix of posts about awesome stuff and honest reality stuff. I can't stand to read people who are always "awesome awesome awesome," even though they have a right to choose what story they present on FB. But to answer your question, no, you aren't being a jerk.
posted by megancita at 11:22 AM on December 20, 2013

Something to remember as well is that time when travelling is more packed and moves kind of slower. In one week you might visit 3 countries and have seven adventures and be bursting with stories and memories to share. Back home, in one week people will have worked a lot and rested a lot and maybe watched a movie or gone out once or twice. With such a mismatch in rhythms it would be easy for your friends to feel bombarded. Not that you should stop or anything, but don't take it personally if people don't have the energy to be constantly engaged with you.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:23 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Another option:

You can post an update - "hey, I'm going to stop posting most of travel pictures, except to a friend-list of people who like them, so you won't see so many of them unless you want to be included on the list. Drop me a message, or leave a comment if you'd like be added to my travel-updates list!"

You can use the "promote" feature to make sure this message is prominent on your friend's feeds so they're likely to see it (promote costs a few dollars per message).

Create a friends list, name it "travel". Put the people on it that want to be on it. It might not be a lot, it might be a lot, who knows.

Continue to post sufficiently big/important travel stuff normally so everyone can see it, but such that that travel stuff is now a minority of your updates, not the majority, just an occasional update on where you are and how your trip is going. The bulk of your travel stuff now gets the privacy settings pointed to the list of people that you know are interested.

The stuff that you post to the interested-people list can now lose all the self-censoring you've been doing - you don't need to second-guess whether you'll be offending someone, or fear you're rubbing anyone's nose in anything, you can gush unapologetically about the things that are exciting you.
posted by anonymisc at 11:25 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Instead of posting regular FB status updates, you should start up a blog and post there. You can let people know via Facebook that you've started a blog and that they can check it out whenever!

You'll still be able to share your experiences (and have it all consolidated in one place), the people who want to see what you're up to can choose to do so, and you don't have to waste your travelling time worrying about all of the "likes" and "comments" you're getting.

I would have to agree with everyone else above who's said that regular vacation updates (even 2-3 times a week) would get kind of old. I'd probably filter out my friends' posts and just check their page at my own choosing - so a blog would function just as well, if not better!
posted by thebots at 11:28 AM on December 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

In addition to the foregoing, keep in mind that you've already been gone 6 months, and people move on. Life moves quickly.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:28 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think a trip like this is a great occasion to GYOB instead of posting all your updates on Facebook.

As a relatively new parent I've taken way too many pictures of my daughter. They go on to flickr where people who want to look at them can. Maybe every couple of weeks I will post something exceptionally cute on Facebook but otherwise it would be too much.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:30 AM on December 20, 2013

Not to pile on, but they aren't interacting with you anymore because you're posting the kind of crap that no one but you cares about. Books, TV, movies are all littered with comedic references to people being forced to look at their friends' vacation photos.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 11:31 AM on December 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

I love looking at friends' travel photos myself, but you're upset because people aren't giving you enough attention for them while you are away galavanting around the world?

Sorry, but... get over it. Enjoy your trip and stop worrying about trivial nonsense such as facebook likes.
posted by wats at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2013 [15 favorites]

I think you have to remember why you're posting stuff from your travels, and what the goal is.

If you're doing this to put content out there for people to interact with (like, share, comment, etc), and people have stopped doing that, you do need to think about what's turning people off.

If you're doing this for people who might be interested, or especially for close family and friends who want to know that you're OK out there, just keep doing what you're doing. Who cares if some people don't want to see it?

One thing I would say is to be careful about your tone with this stuff. I have one friend (who's not a very close friend) who recently moved abroad and does a lot of traveling on weekends, is able to visit some really exotic destinations on her vacations, etc. This is fine and nothing too unheard of in my social circle, but there's just something weirdly braggy/obnoxious about the way she phrases her posts. I can't explain what I mean, and I think a lot of it has to do with my opinions about her behavior in person. She's always been sort of status-oriented about things like this. But there's just this TONE to her posts that makes everywhere she goes seem like some kind of ultra-exclusive luxurious experience that is not accessible to the hoi polloi. AKA the rest of us, her friends. In light of this, I'd recommend trying to stay unpretentious and down to earth.
posted by Sara C. at 11:34 AM on December 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

I have a two-year-old. You don't want to see pictures of her? Block me, de-friend me, whatever you want. If you're not interested in my life I don't give a shit if you follow me on Facebook. Not everyone I've ever met needs to care about my daily goings-on. If you filter out all my posts on Facebook *I'll be OK*.

Likewise for this.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2013

Response by poster: Okay, got it. The general consensus seems to be, I'm not a jerk, just a bore. I'll do my best not to take FB as personally. Thanks for the feedback, all.
posted by horizons at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When I took my solo adventure, granted it was a much shorter trip, but Facebook really helped me stay connected to people back home. Solo travel can be lonely, that's almost a cliche, but your friends may not realize how meaningful a silly "like" or two-sentence comment on your photos can be. So while you may not be able to get your friends who've already hidden you to un-hide, it may not hurt to post a lighthearted status update to everyone else showing a little vulnerabililty and letting them know you appreciate it.

Also, I don't know how much you are posting, but people's eyes really glaze over when someone posts a 60-page album to Facebook. Keep posting 2-3 times per week, but choose your top five or ten photos for that period and no more. This also really helps when you get back from your trip and you want to put together an album for yourself, because instead of looking through a year's worth (!) of photos all at once, you already have picked out your greatest hits.
posted by payoto at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

You need a blog, or at the very least, a facebook fan page for "horizons' travels!" or something similar. That way, those who are interested can choose to follow it and those who aren't don't have to. Facebook really isn't appropriate for this kind of thing. Just because I was friends with you in middle school doesn't mean I need multiple updates a week about your amazing travel adventure, or whatnot.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:40 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Travel pictures are maybe my favorite thing to see on Facebook. Friend me, I'll gladly favorite your pictures :)
posted by COD at 11:40 AM on December 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

Take this with a grain of salt because I'm a notorious FB curmudgeon, but if you want to connect with someone in particular, send them a few photos in an e-mail with a personal note. You know, like you're not just Radio Horizons broadcasting your stuff, but actually want to communicate with them specifically. Too many people to do this with? Well, that's something to think about, then.
posted by HotToddy at 11:44 AM on December 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

I like when people either post a link or two to an external photo album location (so the updates aren't spammed on facebook) or just post a few albums all at once when they return (or maybe one every 2-3 months).

I really like looking at people's travel photos but having them pop up 2-3 times a week for 6 months would be annoying to me and I'd probably hide you too, like I hide the people who post pics of their children every few days for months on end (but similarly, I wouldn't be resentful about it or anything). I'm a lot more likely to check out the photos if they're posted all at once rather than spamming me with them every week.
posted by randomnity at 11:45 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have hidden people from my timeline for a lot of different reasons.

- One person that posted a lot of good stuff posted over 20 times a day
- Another constantly posted pictures of her cat (um, something I am also totally guilty of, but I don't want to see her cat that much - just mine!)
- A third person complained constantly about things and didn't want solutions or help
- Another person came off really passive-aggressive and she's not like that in real life but her posts bugged me because of this
- The other person I hid posted a lot of stuff that didn't jibe with my political beliefs

I still like all these people, would hang out with them, have coffee with them, give them a ride to the airport... I just don't want to see them on Facebook unless I specifically go to their page. And I do, for all of them, visit their pages on occasion. I didn't unfriend them - I still care about them and want to be involved... just not that involved. Facebook is weird, because it's like inviting whoever happens to be on my newsfeed into my brain every time I check it, and sometimes I've decided that I don't want to give that brain-space to someone, so I hide them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: people may or may not have hidden you, and they may or may not have reasons that relate to your travel posting for hiding you. I know that people have hidden me because my pictures of my cat and my boyfriend's dog are a bit annoying (but then there are a few people who "like" every one of them). Whatever. I post one or two every few weeks, but that's too much for some people. That's cool.

You can't please everyone. Just try to please yourself. Keep doing what you like to do, enjoy Facebook for what it is, if you no longer enjoy it, you can leave. And enjoy the rest of your year traveling!!!
posted by k8lin at 11:45 AM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'd also suggest that all your travel photos go into appropriate albums (ie "SuperTrip 2013" instead "Mobile Uploads"), so all your friends (not just the travel-list signups) can still have access to your photos if/when they want to go browse them, but they aren't getting spammed by them as status updates.
posted by anonymisc at 11:49 AM on December 20, 2013

People don't simply want to know broadly that you've traveled everywhere and how great it is, and how you're so happy you saved for this experience, they want to share in the actual value of the experience. I have a friend's blog who always posts really great stuff that is entertaining, insightful, and makes me stop to rethink my life and connection to others around me in a positive way.

I think this is exactly what I wanted to say, re the "tone" issue. My friend I referred to above typically will post a photo and status that highlight getting to see/experience something very status-conscious, and really never goes beyond "look at this gorgeous macaron I ate in Paris", or "I got tickets to this exclusive play in London", or "Christmas in Morocco! Ta for now!" She also does a lot of whining about non-problems and humble-bragging.

Meanwhile, I would love to hear some of the stories about her experiences living abroad and traveling to pretty cool places. She just never posts about any of the day to day reality.
posted by Sara C. at 11:52 AM on December 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

Hmm. I love travel photos, but I bet I would stop liking/commenting on them if the only things posted were photos. If there were no short stories of interesting adventures you went on, or people you met, or insights you had, and if you yourself were not commenting on my own life statuses, I'd peter out. Maybe I'm a grump but to me friendship/acquaintanceship is a two-way street, and although I wouldn't write off the friendship with you after six months of unidirectional contact, I might grumble to myself and reduce activity regarding your posts.

I'm not sure if this is what's happening with your own Facebook activity, but regardless: if you want to maintain contact with these facebook friends, broaden your approach and show them that despite your adventures you are still interested in their lives too. I've "traveled the dream" too (but not for a year - gosh I'm jealous, that sounds incredible!) and I learned that when I felt bummed about people failing to Facebook-like my posted travel photos, that feeling of being bummed stemmed from a feeling of not being connected with people from home. Commenting on stuff they posted made it better.

(An aside: it's also the holiday season so people may simply be spending less time on Facebook in general.)
posted by nicodine at 11:58 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another thing that I've found is that I tend to "forget" absent friends. I put it in quotes because it's a conscious decision I make so that I can focus on the life in front of me. If I spend too much time missing my friend who moved to Philly, I find myself starting to dislike aspects of my life here and romanticizing the idea of starting over in Philly with my friend.

I have to be very conscious of it because I have very strong escapist tendencies, but I think it's a very natural unconscious tendency that has very little to do with the absent friend.

I still carve out time for my absent friend, and I will drop everything to find out about their new adventures in Philly when they come back to town. But I could not handle three times a week of "here is an opportunity to live vicariously through me and imagine a new life in Philly".

This is not to say that you're doing anything wrong. People react to things in varied ways and are responsible for their own well being.
posted by politikitty at 12:06 PM on December 20, 2013

Response by poster: Hey all, just to clarify, I do continue to comment/like/interact with friends who don't seem to care for travel photos, I occasionally post about news/family/other things not related to travel, and only post manageable numbers of "highlights" photos, not 80 blurry shots of the same statue.

Nicodine and Payoto made really insightful comments about feeling isolated and disconnected from my normal support system during this experience - that's definitely true and I think a huge part of why I'm getting so worried about FB likes. I've found myself being way more insecure about relationships back home because I generally don't have a stable network of acquaintances and friends who have known me longer than a week in real-life while traveling. Those comments were really helpful. Anyways, thanks again!
posted by horizons at 12:10 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

2-3 times a week might not seem a lot but by now you've posted somewhere in the region of 50 - 80 photos of your vacation. Its not really surprising that people have lost interest and even the ones that haven't might have run out of variants on "great pic, hope you're enjoying your vacation" messages by now.
posted by missmagenta at 12:40 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love to travel and I love travel photos, but you know what I love even more - hearing the story behind the person's experience depicted in that photo.

I don't want to look at 18 pictures of the temple you visited today. Show me one or maybe two of the best pics, and then tell me about the guy you met who was taking tickets and how you had a conversation with him about where he got the great hat he was wearing, or whatever.

Check out Humans of New York for inspiration on telling a short, sweet story.
posted by vignettist at 12:55 PM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

My brother was hiking the Appalachian Trail for six months, and he posted a fair number of photos/posts. He did it really well, though - there were no repeats, he posted only interesting things, he gave a story or comment for each photo, and he tagged people in things he thought they'd particularly well. He was also really upfront about things occasionally being terrible, so it didn't come across as "I'm so special; I'm hiking the AT! Look at me!"

Otherwise, I would've probably blocked him for the duration of his trip, and he's my brother.

Don't take their blocking to heart. I've blocked over half my friends because of too many posts, boring posts, negative posts, or just not being as in love with their pets/babies/home renovation project/food etc. as they are. And that's fine. I love those people in real life, and that's what matters.

Also, why do you need their involvement so much? Do your trip for you. If their non-involvement affecting you to the point where you'd ask a question about it, maybe it would be helpful for you to take a month off from social media.
posted by punchtothehead at 1:03 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

You are not in any way being a jerk and have nothing at all to worry about. 2-3 times a week is perfectly fine.
posted by gimonca at 1:26 PM on December 20, 2013

Facebook is a narcissistic activity. It's totally acceptable in the Facebook universe to post as much (or as little) as you like about the things you care about (or the things you hate). That's the way it works.

You're doing it right.

They're also doing it right, in the sense that they're allowed to ignore whatever they want. I get the sense that you're even still the slightest bit perturbed by the idea that your posts might be boring. But, honestly, so much of what we each love is *boring* to most audiences. It just doesn't interest them. And that's okay. It's like the front page of MetaFilter. 85% of it is of no interest to me. But the 10% that I care about is AWESOME. (And the other 5% is cool stuff that I just didn't know that I loved yet.)

Post away!
posted by jph at 1:27 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nthing a blog for yourself as a visual and experience diary. Start today. You'll be glad to have it. If anyone asks, direct them to the blog--a photo, a few caption lines for the photo, and an occasional story. Do it! Find quirky things to photograph, not just the Roman Forum with you in front of it but the goofy gladiators you talked to out front.

The world is divided into people who like others' travel photos and those who don't, with wonderful, interested friends in each group. Facebook travel photos, bah, humbug!

Savor your beautiful experience and find personal ways to keep it alive for yourself. Buono viaggio.
posted by Elsie at 1:35 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is going to make me sound petty and small, but let me throw this out there. To me, your FB posts about your year-long trip around the world would seem like the ultimate exercise in conspicuous consumption ... I don't care that you scrimped and saved for it ... all I know is that I would never be able to do it so your posts would just remind me of that and make me think you're an insufferable, privileged show-off, so I could imagine myself not engaging.

I know that's all very small spirited and bitter of me.
posted by jayder at 2:06 PM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

Could be they are just trying to curb their Facebook envy. Travel photos are the #1 culprit, according to this.
posted by medeine at 2:08 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

one thing to note is if you are posting each photo and it comes up as a separate status update or if the photos you post in one day are all in an album and thus one status update. (i think that is how it can be done.) occasionally someone does the former and if it's 10+ photos it really clogs up my news feed. if you are doing that i would so hide your posts.

i had some friends who did a trip like this and they made a blog for it. much better solution and a keepsake of sorts for their trip.
posted by wildflower at 4:04 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ditto Wildflower: make one post max per day, not each separate picture as yet another separate post.

Look, my brother in law posts an AVERAGE of 25-30 posts every. single. day..... He posts SO MUCH that he 'drowned out' everyone else's posts. The day he posted 48 separate entries --- yep: forty-eight! --- is the day I blocked him.
posted by easily confused at 4:48 PM on December 20, 2013

I spent three months abroad last year. I mostly used Facebook as a way to keep up with people I was meeting on the road, and posting big albums of photos when I could get to an Internet cafe.

Also, people didn't comment much while I was posting pictures, but they were looking at them, and people asked me about them when I got back.
posted by empath at 4:48 PM on December 20, 2013

Are your photos interesting? Or are they generic landscape shots, poorly-composed random market scenes or over-exposed night shots of strange animals? Are you in the photos?

IME, the people who find other travel photos interesting are the ones who have traveled similarly themselves and who want to compare experiences. A lot of people just can't relate. They also won't be interested in your stories when you get back, although everyone will politely listen for a few minutes before interrupting you to tell you that so-and-so is pregnant/they bought a new car/the cat died.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:57 PM on December 20, 2013

If you want comments, you're much more likely to get them if you post relatable, interesting anecdotes about your adventures, than by posting pics. There must be some funny/goofy things happening, right? Every shoestring trip should be full of them.

If I were your friend, I would never like or comment on a travel photo. They're not interesting to me (I subscribe to Nat Geographic Traveler and other publications that give me photos I want); and I'm bitter as hell because I work like crazy and my foot is busted and I'm never going to have an adventure like that again in my life and I'm jealous. But if you share an interesting story that happened (particularly one that shows the grittier/lonelier/harder part of your experience), that would be interesting enough to merit some sort of acknowledgment.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:50 PM on December 20, 2013

Are you sure these aren't parents jealous of your freedom? At least on my facebook there's a large subset of my friends that only post pictures of their kids, doing everything (because everything they do is cute!), and only comment those that also have kids.
posted by ratherbethedevil at 7:16 PM on December 20, 2013

You're not being a jerk, but you need to understand that people manage their feed in different ways for different reasons, most of which have nothing really to do with you, what you're doing, or the quality of your posts. I have cut a lot of people out of my feed for various reasons that help my own mental health - less distraction, less envy, wanting to use FB for just a couple particular functions, etc. You don't need to change, and you don't need to obsess about why this happened. Just live and let live.
posted by Miko at 8:13 PM on December 20, 2013

I'm in India at the moment, with my husband and kids, visiting family. We come here regularly and stay for months at a time. (Three months this time.) This is the third trip where I've used Facebook to post photos and stay in touch with the people I care about around the world.

One thing that I've noticed...photos without one of us in it, or a curious or embarrassing anecdote about my stupidity or a reminisce about drinking with my bookclub....meets silence largely. There are always the people that like everything though.

As soon as I make self deprecating remarks about a photo in a context related to how my friends might have also reacted, people seem to appreciate it. I also tag my friends who have also lived in India in the very quintessential India photos. That's to say..."Remember this? I'm thinking of you."

My friends may be different because they all know we don't do holidays at all , ever ever ever. We save every cent for as long as we can, then come back to India to see family. So my Facebook is never full of photos of weekend getaways or Paris. Possibly that's part of it. They may also be more understanding because this is also the only way we can stay in touch with our diaspora of stateless in-laws. They certainly can't come to Australia.

But I digress. Really, don't fret about the likes. But make the photos connect to the people back home in some way. And say you're lonely if you are. I have told my dear girlfriends how much I miss them. And how grateful my liver is for this unhappy abstemious break.

And just enjoy yourself. For most people, these kind of trips only happen once in their life so...be present. (I'm not so present because my kids can give me the shits and I just want to get blind drunk with my friends and whinge about recalcitrant five year olds for a night .)
posted by taff at 10:11 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are you sure they're just not inundated with other stuff in their feeds? I'm a decently active FB user and I see only a fraction of the total amount of everyone's updates. FB seems to change it's behavior regularly, and over a few month's time I'll see more of a few people's updates and almost none of anyone else's. Then I'll see a bunch of random bursts of everyone's news, then seemingly back to maybe 12 people (out of ~300 that are truly actual friends/family, people I know/have known in real life). It's one of the frustrating aspects of FB for me, how much it changes policies, functionality and behavior.

Just throwing that out there. I would at least send a message to one of the friends you mentioned and simply ask. Pick your most scathingly honest one.
posted by dozo at 6:22 AM on December 21, 2013

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