When you login to Facebook, it asks, “What’s on your mind?”
But does everyone need to know what’s on your mind?
When you visit Twitter, it asks, “What’s happening?”
But Twitter isn’t just about what’s happening to you.
“We were never created to live ‘publicly,’” says Sarah Markley. No one really needs a play-by-play Twitter account of our day. No one but the grandparents want to see every moment of our lives captured on Instagrammed, and the grandparents likely aren’t on Instagram. No one on Facebook needs to know every thought that passes through your mind.
In this age of smart phones, we don’t even have to wait until we get back to the computer to air our frustration online. Witty thought or exasperated one, it’s on Facebook the moment it’s formed in our head. We’re many times more likely to Tweet a complaint about a company than a piece of praise. And when it comes to politics, we get just plain nasty on social media.
The country seems to have forgotten that if we don’t want to hear the comments about the presidential debates, we do have the option to turn off the computer and read a good book. Few of us are required by our jobs to sit and watch Facebook and Twitter streams of political rantings and ravings.
When social media starts to irritate you, close your browser and turn off your computer. “Taking the on-line world so seriously…is an IDOL,” says September McCarthy. Don’t let social media have that kind of power over you.
When you start turning to social media for solace, turn off the computer and call a friend on the phone. We were made for in real life relationships. We need to speak to faces, not avatars; we can feel hugs, not likes.
When you’re in the midst of a raw situation, ask yourself, “Does everyone need to know about this now?” Some situations need space before we can speak of them with grace in public places. Some lessons need to be learned before they are blogged. When the pain is raw, use social media with extra care.
When you feel social media swinging out of balance in your life, take a break: declare a social media Sabbath. Going offline gives you the perspective you need to share and interact wisely when you come back online.
When you go to post on Facebook or Twitter, ask yourself, “Does everyone really need to know this?” Let’s share the things that are helpful, the things that are necessary, the things that are kind. And yes, let’s be honest and open and authentic—but not to the lessening of our privacy.
What if we were to be remembered by the last thing we posted online?