Two of my girlfriends recently alerted me that they were no longer on Facebook. "No longer on Facebook? Well, why would you want to do that?" They shared that Facebook was interfering with them having a happy life. They felt too connected all the time. They felt bad when they saw all of the fun others were having when maybe they weren't. They felt guilty when they saw other moms doing Pinterest crafts with their kids when they barely had time with them. Wow, I get it. I never thought about it that way.
I admit that a huge part of why I'm on social media is for business. Social media is a great way for me to build my audience and engage with them. It's a way for people to see that I'm a real person. But what if I didn't have my business? How might my posts change? I would probably have more stuff with my kids, post less and have a tighter circle of "friends". But what to post? Do I post about the great vacation I had? Does anyone care that I went to Native Foods for lunch? Do I post about the terrible fight I had with my kids? Hard to say. I kind of like when my friend Carey posts what restaurant she's at. Gives me ideas and helps me feel connected to her since I don't get to see her that much. I like when my friend Heather posts pictures of her kids so I can see how much they've grown. And I like when people are vulnerable so we don't feel alone in the chaos of life.
Facebook can be great. It can help you feel connected to friends across the world. My mom is Facebook friends with her childhood friends whom she hadn't seen in decades. So, I'm not ready to give up on Facebook. But I am going to apply these 10 tips so that I have a healthy relationship with it.
1) Let go of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I learned this acronym from my friend Stephanie. People feel like they need to check Facebook all the time because they don't want to miss out on a post. Get over it. There are 1.35 billion users on Facebook. While they aren't all your friends, you will miss out on your life if you try to keep up with it all.
2) Limit Your Time. Are you addicted to Facebook? Many of us check Facebook in every nook and cranny of the day. I've done it too! Not healthy. Pick deliberate times to check Facebook. Put on a timer even. Get in, get your fix, and get out. Nooks and crannies of the day are rare and special. They are good to let your mind just daydream. Don't fill every space with Facebook.
3) Debate with Caution. Now I personally stay away from conflict on Facebook. Well, I actually do in life too. If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it on Facebook. A little healthy debate is fine but realize that you may alienate your friends.
4) Do not judge on Facebook. I have seen moms judge other moms for everything from letting kids have an iPhone to letting daughters wear a bikini. Whoa! Stop! I have done both by the way. Please don't judge one another. You are not in that mom's shoes. Motherhood is tough enough. We need to be a village for one another. If you want to ask for opinions on a topic like letting your kid have an iPhone, go for it. But respond with consideration, not condemnation.
5) Don't let Facebook make you feel bad about your life. Please don't feel bad when you see someone getting a new car, going on a vacation or having a new baby. Be happy for them. Realize that they have many challenges (as we all do) that they don't share on Facebook. See it as they are focusing on the good in their life.
6) Don't overshare. Yes, I think it's ok to be vulnerable. But don't share how you hate your boss or how your husband cheated on you. Unless you have only a tight circle of friends, this kind of post is going to come back to bite you. Find safe private Facebook groups if you want / need to share that your child has a learning disorder so that you can support one another. I've seen situations where a mom made a comment about her child's ADD, and then a kid saw it and teased her son when he saw him. Just proceed with caution.
7) Let go of likes. This is a hard one for me. I want people to like my posts, comment on my posts, even share my posts. It's human nature to want to be liked. When you do a post and no one likes it, you feel like that kid on the playground with no friends. We need to let go of that. Share something because it's in your heart. If no one likes it; well maybe they just didn't see it.
8) Turn off notifications. Do not let your phone notify you about Facebook. Way too many distractions from the important stuff in life. I mean it. Turn them off. For the other apps as well. Go on Facebook when you mean to!
9) Hide or Block. Use your preferences wisely. Hide users if you don't like to see their posts. Don't friend someone if you don't want to. Your time is so precious. See what and who you most want to.
10) Unplug. Maybe pick one day of the week and go on a technology detox. Make sure you are not addicted to Facebook. Plug back in to real life, real relationships and real experience.
So, will these 10 tips work for you? I'm guessing that there are many different opinions on what a healthy use of Facebook is. Would love to hear yours!