My friends keep telling me I should be on Facebook.
I don’t get it.
It seems like a big waste of time to me.
Am I missing something? Should I be on Facebook?
There are many benefits to using Facebook to stay connected to friends and family, but there are drawbacks as well.
Facebook is like having a “hi there” moment with your friends and family whenever you choose. This is a good thing. It allows you to let them know what and how you are doing and lets you see what they are up to.
Staying connected to positive people can be a great way to reduce stress.’ I’ve been able to reconnect with long-lost friends, and enrich friendships by sharing more about our daily lives. I feel more connected with my sister, who lives in another state, than I have in years – because I get a glimpse into her day and we can communicate quickly. A shared laugh over Facebook is still great!
The downside Facebook is its seductive nature. It is easy to spend hours searching out long lost friends, peeking in on what others are doing, and playing with the wealth of games and applications available. Leaving Facebook open constantly distracting. Each update ping draws your attention away and makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. Read more about electronic induced stress. As with many pleasures – moderation is the key!
Here are some do’s and don’ts to staying connected on Facebook:
Do choose your friends wisely. Studies have shown women who maintain positive relationships with other women are less stressed and less likely to develop heart disease. Facebook can be a great tool to surround yourself with positive influences. Facebook is also a great way to turn acquaintances into real friends. You’ve met someone at a party or event and thought ‘wow, she’s great!’ The opportunity for a new friend can slip away easily – but Facebook can let you stay in touch. Don’t be offended if she doesn’t accept your friend invitation however, she may be carefully choosing her Facebook friends as well.
Do use the privacy settings. Decide who gets to see each item you add to Facebook. You don’t have to share the photos of your vacation with the whole world of Facebook, choose to share with your friends only, your friends and their friends, or just a select group of friends. Make good decisions about who sees your status updates – your boss or your clients may be on Facebook too! Think twice before complaining openly!
Do use a photo of yourself for your profile picture. Recent is good — although a picture from your youth is fun too. Change it every once and a while – let us see different sides of you. Putting your kid’s picture instead of yours is sad. Group family photos are okay for a while, but not forever. Remember this is YOUR page. It is an opportunity to bring together all the different parts of you: daughter, sister, wife, friends, professional, mom, etc. Bring it all to your page. Let us see YOU!
Don’t be a Facebook Whore. Facebook should be a way of keeping in touch with people you know, enjoy, and who add value to your life. Avoid the temptation to be everyone’s friend. There are many FW’s out there, don’t feel compelled to accept their invitation to connect. It’s okay, just hit the ignore button. Also, don’t be offended if you don’t get a response to a friend invitation. Most likely you’ve found someone who isn’t active on Facebook — but perhaps she is limiting her friends too.
Do make your invitations personal. Unless you are certain the person will recognize you, give them a clue about how they know you. “Hi Wendi, remember me from 5th grade? I sat behind you!”
Do seek out people you used to know. Blue Zone studies have shown people who are connected to people who have known them across the span of their lives live longer. It is easy to forget the person you were in high school or college when you are busy with your job or kids (or both). Perhaps you lost touch with your best friend from high school (or just don’t seem to find the time for a call or visit) Facebook is a great opportunity to reconnect and share memories and your current lives. Use the search tools to find people from school, work and organizations.
Do be respectful when posting pictures of other people. Not everyone wants the beach picture shared – or wants to relive the 80’s hairstyle! If a photo you don’t like gets posted, you can untag yourself to remove your name and link or ask the person to remove it.
Don’t over-share. We don’t need a blow-by-blow description of your day. Share a little peak into your life. I like to know my sister is enjoying a sunny day, or my mom is on her way to golf. Post a picture of what you are doing or a link to an interesting article or blog post. When something good happens to you – share! When you are having a tough time, share that too.
Do hide annoying friends. If you have a friend who over-shares, over-posts, takes too many quizzes or just doesn’t add to your feeling of connectedness, hide her. Use the little arrow to the right of her status post and you won’t see anymore updates unless you unhide her or go to her page. It’s okay – she won’t know. You can also un-friend someone, but this is a fairly hostile act. Unless you really want to make a statement, just hide her.
Don’t replace face-time with Facebook. Facebook is a great tool for staying connected, but it isn’t a substitute for real face-to-face human interaction. If you are spending time on Facebook instead of spending time with your family or friends you are defeating the purpose. It is easy to get caught up in other people’s business or simply just while-away hours playing around with applications, quizzes, and games. Turn off the alerts when you are working. Avoid the temptation to check in more than once or twice per day.
Do join fan pages. Fan pages are Facebook for businesses, organizations or causes. It’s okay to join them — in fact many fan pages provide great information. Here are some of my favorites:
- Busy Woman’s Guide (shamless plug, but please join!)
- Kim and Jason (more fun and less stress – don’t we all want that?)
- Joy Trip Project (sustainable active lifestyle — cool!)
- Productivity Pro (tips to stay productive, organized and sane!)
- Gettin Geeky (very helpful!)
- Paper-doll Katie (official Go Red for Women Info)
Do get some help! Confused about how to get started? Don’t worry! Gina Schrek has put together Facebook tutorial videos. They are quick and simple to follow. Check them out at Gettin Geeky (you should be her fan on Facebook too)
Facebook can be a great tool to stay connected and stress less. Use it wisely to move in the right direction!
Thanks for your question!
Eliz Greene survived a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggled to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and searched for a way to hold on to the perspective and passion she found in her near-death experience. Drawing on her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.