In July 2012, Americans spent more than 120 billion minutes on social media. That’s almost 3 million months’ worth of scrolling, double-clicking and tweeting—in one month’s time. Makes the head hurt, doesn’t it?
If we’re going to be on social media this much, we’d better make it count. Because of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we’re reconnecting with old friends and making new ones every single day. It really can be a positive experience, as long as we follow a few dos and don’ts.
Don’t be fake.
Yeah, we know. Social media is basically a smoke screen for people to hide behind. But you’ve got to admit, it’s exhausting to try to keep up appearances. Be yourself. Your friends sent requests based on the real you. That’s who they want to see online.
Don’t share sadness.
Be real, yes, but keep the depressing posts to a minimum. Having all of your friends and family in one place means making general announcements or requesting prayer is easy. That’s a great use of social media—just don’t let it become your dumping ground.
Don’t believe everything you read.
If Facebook is your primary source of news, it’s time to branch out. Consider the author of each post, article or blog you read—and read it carefully—before accepting information as truth and stamping your approval on the content.
Don’t avoid other tasks.
Hopping on Instagram for a few minutes is fun. Scrolling for an hour is a waste of time. Make sure your social media use isn’t simply a diversion from other more important things like chores and relationships. We have to maintain balance.
Don’t be a know-it-all.
If you really want to make the most of your online presence, this tip is key. The distance between one computer and the next gives us a level of confidence that could easily morph into arrogance. Resist the urge to be a know-it-all in your posts, comments and messages.
Do be selective.
You don’t have to accept every friend request that comes your way. It’s okay to restrict your Facebook friends list to people you actually know and only follow Instagram accounts with pictures you actually want to see. Hey, your Twitter account can even be educational if you’ll just get choosy.
Do model good behavior.
Our online activity may feel private, but we all know it leaves a permanent mark. That’s why we should consider our social media accounts as a future lesson for our kids. If they’re not watching now, they will be soon enough. Always model good online behavior.
Do promote your work.
Social media offers many ways to grow the reach of your business. We’re all for taking advantage of these benefits as long as you do it the right way. Instead of harassing family and friends through your personal account, create a new account for your business and allow the traffic to grow organically. Then you’ll know that all of your followers are genuinely interested.
Do practice positivity.
If you like a post, like it! Got an encouraging word to say? Go ahead and comment. Post a story, video or picture that’s bound to make people smile. If you’re going to act impulsively on social media, let this be the way you do it.
Do move toward face-to-face interaction.
For some relationships, the occasional online conversation is enough. For others, social media should just be the starting point. Use your online connections to schedule group outings or lunch with a friend. Relationships grow best when they happen face to face.
If all else fails, remember to ask yourself when posting, commenting or sending a message: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?