Social media is everywhere. That is a captain obvious statement, I know. Take a minute here and think. When was the last time you went a full twenty-four hours without checking in on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Can’t remember? Me neither. The other day as I was listening to a podcast narrator drone on once again on just how much time American’s waste on social media. I started thinking, and thinking often leads me to writing. I ended up jotted down several of my ruminations governing my actions when it comes to the subject. The list was cut considerably and now covers covers vanity (bad pictures anyone?), notifications, and posting topics. So in no particular order, here are my top 5 rules for social media.
Let’s start with posting group photos as they can turn into a sticking situation quickly. First, before you post anyone in a group image, look at the picture. Are eyes open, is there anyone going to be seen in a less than flattering way? Would you be embarrassed for the world to see the photo if it were your eyes squinting, mouth a jar, looking like Friar Tuck on a three day drinking binge drool about to spill from the mouth? Nooooooo, you wouldn’t. Practice the golden rule here, especially if you want to keep said real world friend, by deleting the offending picture. Better yet, start by taking multiple shots and tell everyone to smile while your are smiling back at them (usually a person automatically returns a smiles if you are) as you snap away. When I’m with my girlfriends I have started seeking out Instagram approval before posting. Really, it just takes a second to pass your phone around to get everyone’s IG/FB okay. Plus this small gesture will keep your friends happy which is generally a good thing.
The other day while scrolling through Instagram I came across a young friend’s post in which she was responding to comment made by, I’m guessing by the content, a former friend. What initially caught my attention was her posted picture. She was holding up the middle finger and the message typed across her chest, well I’ll just say it went along with the hand gesture. The comment below was @insertexfriend’sname, and was a rant about how fake the person was. Of course I’ve seen “FB fights” before. We all have, right? My rule is to ignore them, and move on. If you find yourself unable to look away at the “train wreck” in action, at least refrain from chiming in your opinion in the comments. Why? For one, bad behavior begets bad behavior. Those engaged in the back and forth aren’t effectively communicating, nor are they working things out. Once you put it out there on social media, it’s there forever, even if you delete it, someone will have read it and remember what you wrote. The rule here: avoid social media fighting with others and avoid the drama.
Selfies, what can one say on the topic? The occasional one is nice, but posting ten a day is a bit much. While we are discussing this, I will take the liberty to interject my opinion on the abuse of Snapchat filters. Snapchat filters are fun in small doses, and meant for snaps. I like most things (other than chocolate) in moderation, and this includes photo filters. I believe we all should pledge to limit selfies to one a day at most and lay off the filters already. Teddy bear ears are cute, but not on every selfie taken. Rule number three: I limit selfies and filters, because I am an adult.
Initially I signed up for Facebook to keep up with family and friends. Admittedly, it has been a great way to stay connected with those I rarely get to see in person, like my Aunt in New Jersey. I exchange messages and comments with her more now than I ever did while growing up. It’s nice to see how she is doing and I enjoy seeing pictures of her new grand baby. With this said, do any of you have friends that post their every move? Do you tire of seeing them check in at the mall, Wal-Mart, Red Lobster, the gynecologist’s office, etc.? The world doesn’t need to know every detail of our lives, so stop the constant narration via Facebook. A little anonymity in today’s electronic age is a welcomed change especially when applied to social media usage.
Recently while scrolling through my news feed and I realized I didn’t actually know about half the people posting to it. I thought it was a fluke, but it happened again and again. You know how you get a friend request, and the person knows several people you know and you think, maybe I know them? You really aren’t sure though, but not wanting to appear rude, you go ahead and accept the request? Apparently, I’ve done this a lot. I’ve also gained many “friends” through one time meetings, past jobs, and ex’s. Recently I whittled my thousand plus friends down to 768, and I’m not done cutting. So now I ask this question before accepting a friend request… If I don’t know you, then why would I be your friend on social media thereby granting you access to my personal life?
I believe I’ve saved the best for last. At the suggestion of the earlier mentioned podcast host, I’ve turned off the social media notifications on my phone. Acknowledging a bad habit lead to this action. See, anytime there’s a number over one of my apps, I feel a pressing urge to open and deal with it. This particular obsession has lead to hour upon hours of wasted time. If I take the time to look at a notification, you can bet, I’ll take the time to respond to it and then look at other stuff since I’m already there. Since adopting this rule, I may look at Facebook while sipping coffee in the morning, and check Instagram or Snapchat once throughout the day. I also allow myself a few minutes to scroll through social media in the evening before dinner. The point of this self-limiting behavior is to control my time on social media, not the other way around.
Do you have rules when it comes to social media? Or do you just wing it? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time.
Daisies, Coffee, and Chocolates,