Monday, April 23, 2012

That's it! I'm quitting Facebook!!

I have heard this statement time and time again: "That's it!! I am done with Facebook! As of so and such date, I will be deleting my profile." And so they disappear...only to reappear in days, or weeks after a much needed break.

As many faithful Counseling Corner followers know, I am an avid Social Networker. One MIGHT even say addicted. (But I won't admit to that!). Some ask me why I am so active and even laugh about my posts. My uncle recently told me that he doesn't read all the crap I post on Facebook. I actively maintain a Twitter account, THREE Facebook accounts (one personal, one professional page and I am an administrator of my work's page as well), LinkedIn, Google+, Counseling Corner, Pinterest, Etsy, and about 6 different email accounts (and I'm sure I'm forgetting something).  I'll bet you wonder if I even sleep....

I originally joined Facebook, reluctantly, in order to stay connected to family and friends across the world, many of whom are serving in the military. Facebook has been an invaluable tool to keep up with what is happening in their lives, as well as the lives of my children and, now, grandchildren. In the process, I have reconnected with many of my friends and acquaintances from school and have repeatedly had the world get smaller and smaller when I discovered that two of my (seemingly unrelated) friends know each other! And that's just plain fun. In my professional life, networking is just that, an opportunity to branch out, market myself, and maintain a public presence.

I am here to tell you how you can use Social Media to 1) stay in touch with family and friends, 2) express your individuality and creativity, 3) network and market your (business, jewelry, Blog, etc), 4) have a great time and laugh every day.  All this? Yes, and even learn how to manage your time so that you can still actually have a life.  Do you need to cancel your Facebook and denounce Twitter? No.  Do you need to have a simple strategy and some self control?  Absolutely.  Read on....

1. Social media is a choice. Plain and simple. If you don't want to use it, don't.  You will experience peer pressure and ridicule (just kidding), but you have the right to say no. It's a personal decision.  Additionally, your level of involvement is also your own choice. People tell me all the time they are keeping up with me on Facebook, and I never see them post a thing.  You can have as many, or as few, connections as you'd like.

2.  It is increasingly important to learn about what you are using. So many people become frustrated when they feel that Facebook is invading their privacy.  Simple knowledge about privacy settings can make all the difference.  I have heard people say "Facebook posted this and such.".  SOCIAL NETWORKING, people. It's the whole point. Educate yourself about privacy settings and how to protect your photos, and personal information.  

3. Set aside time each day to check your accounts. So many of us hit that refresh button every 3 minutes to see if any new emails came in, or if there are any new posts. This type of thing can be the biggest time killer and each time you change your focus to check, you have lost several minutes of productivity. To easily train yourself, you will have to have discipline at first. As silly as it sounds, develop a strategy and plan. (for example, I will only check Facebook at lunch one time, and not for the rest of the work day. Or, set a timer for yourself with regard to checking email, one per hour, or some other scheduled time frame).  You will be shocked at how easy it is and how rewarded you will feel.

4. Turn off the computer (What? Did I just say that? yes, STEP AWAY FROM THAT MOUSE!). Decide each day what scheduled time you will spend online. And then, TURN IT OFF.  This will allow you to spend some actual face to face time with your family and friends. Go have a life that you can post on your status or tweet about tomorrow.

5.  If you are feeling burned out on social media, it's perfectly fine to take a break. Sometimes we become very enmeshed in what is happening in our online world, and its inevitable that drama will ensue.  Just "click and close". It will be there tomorrow, next week or next month when you come back.  I occasionally find that I am awake at 3am checking email. If you do this, the answer is simple: Keep your phone out of reach of the bed. Sleep is important, folks.

6.  Along the same lines as 5. above, do not play out personal issues or drama on social media. Many folks post every personal argument and issue they have with their family and friends.  These generally become the people who make the statement that is the title of this Blog. Keep your personal business, well, personal. In fact, if you MUST post personal things, there are ways to designate a core group to share those issues with (if you want to know how, ask me). Your coworkers and boss don't need to know about the fight you had with Sally last night at the club.

7. People who post on Facebook or Twitter can be extremely negative, or totally positive about everything. Some people say they feel bad about their own lives because everyone on Facebook is so awesome, beautiful, blessed and happy.  Keep in mind that out of 24 hours, people post ONE THING that happened that day. I am always glad to see people happy and posting positive things.  That does not mean they don't have the same troubles and concerns that we all have. They just don't dwell on them.... Good for them.

8. Keep it in perspective. There are much more important things in life than Social Networking. Family, Friends, Pets and actually getting outside in the sunshine from time to time. The Internet and all sites are there are out entertainment and networking. Don't forget to live.

9. Finally, use responsibly. Remember, what goes on the Internet stays there. More and more, prospective employers, and even colleges are using Google to find out about you. Go ahead, open a new browser window and Google yourself. You may be surprised. You can't take it back once it's out there. Be cautious but not paranoid. It can be a good thing if you use it correctly. 

As always, I am happy to be able to provide this valuable information to you.  If you are having difficulty with moderation, or with any of life's challenges, there is help available.  ASK A PSYCHOLOGIST!!


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