Am I the only one in a love/hate relationship with social media these days? At times I find myself spending too much time on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and being less productive in my personal and business goals as a result. Does that sound like you? In order to overcome this challenge in the new year, I’ve created some social media guidelines in order to discipline myself and the time that I spend on such sites. These suggestions for participating online are my attempt to intervene social media addiction. Having an online presence is a great networking and marketing tool for business; finding like-minded groups of people with similar hobbies/interests; and for staying in touch with family and old colleagues. However, individuals should assess the time they spend online and if it’s making him or her counterproductive. An intervention may be necessary; as I mentioned in an article post on Yahoo Voices, “Social Media Burn Out: Do You Need An Intervention?”. It is my hope that these unspoken rules will help me maintain focus and monitor time spent online for greater productivity in my life because “time is money”. Enjoy!
1) Do give yourself a weekly or daily time limit. It can be addictive; so all day everyday is not cool. There’s a real world going on outside of social media.
2) Don’t use it to communicate with close family and friends—unless it’s only for fun. Talking on the telephone is more intimate, and sending a text message is more personal than communicating online; even in business.
3) Do use it for positive social networking, business connections, and promotions. You never know who you might meet that can invest in your business idea or become a potential client, customer, business colleague, or employer.
4) Don’t use it to “vent” about your personal life or personal business unless it’s funny lol. Remember every one of your FB friends or Twitter followers is not necessarily your real friend; some of them are just lurkers and “haters”.
5) Do use it to keep current with media, social, and world news; especially if you don’t have a TV like me. I’m going to get one of those antenna devices this year and get some local news and TV programs running so that I know what’s going on in the world.
6) Don’t over-post random shit. Your Timeline is constantly being bombarded by randomness from you, your friends, celebrity and support group pages you follow. Give it a rest sometimes. If you are annoyed by some of the same posts that you see all day everyday, people are probably annoyed by your posts as well.
7) Death to the “Selfie”. I am guilty as charged on this one. If you must take selfies, pictures of yourself, personal photo shoots in your bathroom, just text the selfie to a friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Resist the urge to constantly post them on your social media sites; even Instagram, because some people are lurking or could be stalking you without your knowledge. I’ve watched enough “Criminal Minds” and “Lifetime” movies to believe that serial killers do exist. I have over 100 selfies stored in my phone and all of them have not been posted online, but many of them have. I’m thinking of deleting some of them off of my Facebook page and saving them to my computer’s hard drive. If you happen to go through an introverted social media phase, don’t become the “lurker” or stalker yourself because you really don’t have time for it.
8) Don’t use it as a public display of your relationship status especially if it changes weekly and “it’s complicated”. Social media has turned us all into V.I.P.s so stop being the headliner of the day or week. I’d love to change my status from “single” and post lovey-dovey pictures, but I have none to post. Suit yourself on that one.
9) Do use it to check-in with old classmates and networks from past jobs, church, or groups with whom you’ve been affiliated . Your former colleagues may have job leads or information about a city to which you want to relocate. I believe in its inception some of these social media sites were created for these purposes only. There was one called “Classmates”. It pre-dates Facebook. Also, I remember when Facebook first began, you had to be a college student or in one of the school networks in order to join the site. Now it’s open to everyone and everything. Social media has definitely changed in the last ten years.
10) Don’t believe everything you see or read on there. Everyone is not who they say they are online. Don’t feel bad if your real life doesn’t match your online life. I believe in stretching the truth and acting as if to become all you desire to become; thereby creating the life that you desire. However, you don’t have to become a totally different person as some people online are doing. I believe this tidbit of advice will help those who are considering online dating, certain job posts, or Craigslist advertisements. Just be cautious overall when dealing with people you meet online. You won’t know who’s who until you actually meet them in person.