It is often painted as a time waster.
It is often said that your social media “friends” aren’t really friends.
It is often fasted from, weaned off, and talked badly about.
Some days your social media feed can be filled with controversial topics and opinions,
And the next can be filled with precious pictures of babies, cats, and dogs.
Now, I know there are ways to abuse social media.
I know there are hours to be wasted on social media.
I know you can feel like you have friends that you don’t really have.
We can use a good thing too much.
Or we can use a good thing for a harmful or hateful purpose.
Social media is the same way.
It is just another tool to connect…
and it is up to us to control it.
To use it intentionally.
To make it work for us!
As an person who gets energized by social interaction,
while being a mom who works from home…
being surrounded by my kids 24/7,
Social media has helped me in several ways.
It’s all up to how I use it.
Here are a few things to consider when using social media:
1) What are you using it for?
- Is it a virtual after work party or coffee meet up with friends to chat about your day?
- Share pictures of your kids and accomplishments?
- Is it a way to connect with family that is spread out across the country?
- Is it a way to share business related materials?
- Is it a way to share your religious or political views with friends and family?
- Is it a way to try to convert acquaintances to your religious or political way of thinking?
- Is it a way to find support over common problems, health issues, educational challenges, or interests?
- Is it a way to find like minded moms and dads who share similar goals and child-rearing approaches?
- Is it a way to connect with people without leaving your home?
- Is it a way to plan events? keep up with local opportunities?
- Is it a way to stay connected without a lot of time spent on the phone?
- Is it a way to connect with friends at odd hours of the night and day without having to be on the same schedule?
- Is it a way to read and learn?
- Is it a way to share freebies, deals, and contests with friends?
- Is it a way to connect with your teens?
Knowing HOW you are using specific social media sites will help you make better choices in what you post,
how much time you spend on it,
and who to accept as “friends.”
2) What filters will you use?
I am not talking about a photo filter (though I love those!)
I am talking about what you allow yourself to post.
I like to picture myself at a gathering of my friends that I’ve accepted in my social media world,
and think about talking to them as a group.
- What things would I be comfortable talking to them about?
- What things would be most likely misunderstood?
- What things are no one’s business?
- What things do they really care about?
- What things do more to hurt them than to help them?
- What things are negative and I would regret having said?
I’ve heard employers talking about deciding not to hire people after seeing their social media posts.
We’ve all heard of someone getting in trouble because of a careless tweet or Facebook picture.
By keeping these self imposed filters in my mind as I get on social media sites,
realizing my pictures and posts are not truly private…
well… Helps keep social media working for me… not against.
3) How can you use your social media time to work for you?
- I can talk to a friend while sitting in a dr’s office waiting room.
- I can catch up on my sister’s baby’s pictures while I am sitting in a dentist’s waiting room (instead of watching the waiting room tv!)
- I can wish happy birthday to all of my friends, and let them know I care about them.
- I can find out about special days, accomplishments, births, engagements, graduations, and more…
- of people I have loved and been fortunate to have lived close to at one time or another.
- I can share funny or uplifting stories, videos, and pictures with my friends and family.
- I can plan an event and quickly make an event page to help organize it.
- I can meet new people and learn about their story, and what is important to them.
- I can share positive events with many people quickly.
- I can find support in times of sorrow, without having to call a bunch of people and tell the same story over and over.
- I can find support for unique situations, connect with friends over common interests, and share concern over the miles.
- I can re-connect with friends from childhood, and be a tiny part of their current life… rejoicing in their joys and sharing their sorrows.
- I can connect with my kids and share funny things and thought provoking articles for them to read whenever they want.
I have found that I experience true friendship through many of my Facebook relationships.
I connect with communities of friends who like similar things.
I’ve connected with brand new and old friends around the world that deal with living with allergies, share common lifestyle choices, and interests.
They encourage me, and help me feel understood.
I connect with friends of different religious, lifestyle, and political views.
They also encourage me, and they keep me thinking.
Several of these friends I would rarely get to talk to without a social media outlet.
When I do get to see these friends in person, I have a lot I can talk to them about.
I can ask them about their trip, their dog, their kids, their work, their bargains… etc…
It’s just another way to connect with those I care about.
So yes, though I do agree that social media can be used for negative…
I chose to use it for positive in my life.
I like connecting with many people…
and my season of life doesn’t allow for much travel, or time talking on the phone.
Social media allows me to connect across the miles,
at any time,
with any friend.
And that’s pretty amazing.
It’s not the only way I want to connect,
but it is sure a fun and easy way.
How about you?
Do you have a social media site that you use?
What is a way you have found it to be a positive tool in your life?
Share in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!