Today is Day 11 of the 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life Challenge. If you want to jump in, go get the book at Amazon, Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life.
Did you miss me? I took a break for the last few weeks. Lots of stuff going on, and I had to pull back from a few things to catch up. But now I’m back, and we’re still rolling with our Challenge on reducing the things that make our lives less livable.
Today’s task addresses social media. I assume you don’t live in a cave and have at least heard of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. There are probably a dozen more social sites around. Some target certain demographics. Others exist for special interest groups. It’s a mad, mad, mad world, and I don’t mean angry.
Lorilee discusses Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
I am a self-admitted Facebook addict. I don’t have an enormous friend base. Really, who has 1,000 true friends? Those profiles are for people who run a business or ministry or other outreach. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about your personal page and the friends you are supposed to more or less know in real life. I have three main categories of friends.
- Old Friends: I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with school friends. I grew up in an ultra-small town and many of those relationships run deep, despite the decades we’ve been apart. When my mom died last year, the condolences poured in from people I had not seen or talked to for more than 20 years. That’s the relationships you want to keep, whether you ever see them in real life again.
- Current Friends: Then, there are my contemporaries. People I know and see in my everyday life. Facebook statuses help us keep each other in the loop with sick kids, activities, changes in plans, etc. My favorite friends in this category are the ones with smarmy updates. Birds of a feather flock together.
- Work Friends: Be vewy, vewy careful here. Don’t play hooky and post your plans for the world to see. And it goes without saying that office gossip should stay in the office. Stupid people get fired.
My general philosophy for my personal Facebook profile is to keep it pretty light and not overly personal. My FB is not usually my soapbox. I’m pretty careful about my friend choices, so I’ve only unfriended a few people and never for anything bad. More like, now who was that again?
I group my friends by how I know them. How they show up on your News Feed is anybody’s guess because Facebook likes to monkey with those settings. Just because someone’s status updates disappear doesn’t mean they’ve fallen off the face of the earth. By grouping them, you can usually guarantee you see the ones you want to keep up with the most. To form a group, go to your Friends page and move your pointer over the Friends box next to someone’s name. There is a menu, which includes Show In News Feed, but I also add mine to groups. Then, if I want to check on a certain group of friends, I can go to the Friends list on the left hand side of the News Feed and select the group. By narrowing your focus to the people you want to connect with, you won’t be overwhelmed with the ones that suck your time with game requests and stupid application updates.
I’m still pretty new to Twitter. I use it for work some, but not much personally. I usually only get on once every few days, and I use an application, HootSuite, to quickly scan through tweets to see if anything of interest comes up. You can also create lists here (known as groups in Facebook) for the people you want to follow more closely. If I got tweets from everyone I follow, I think Twitter would make me twitch.
I just recently got a Google+ account, and that was to do my webchat with Lorilee. I haven’t been back since, but I liked what I saw. When I have some spare time, I’m going to check it out more.
So, my basic advice for social media is to develop guidelines. Target people you want to see the most with groups and lists. It’s fun to catch up with old friends and see their families. It’s handy to shoot out quick updates for last minute plans. And the video chats are just plain fun. But social media should not take the place of real-life, face-to-face relationships, especially your own family.