Social media has enriched our lives in a lot of different ways. We’ve all heard the stories about the high school sweethearts who reconnected on Facebook and lived happily ever. And many of us who live here in East and West Wichita have loved ones spread across the country with whom we are able to share photos and keep in touch online in a way we never could in “real life.” And how did we ever organize our home improvement ideas before Pinterest?
Facebook has also revolutionized how people search for and interact with local businesses. Downing & Lahey has a vibrant online Facebook community where we’re able to interact with the families we serve and offer them grief resources, information on community events, advice on preplanning, information about the services we offer, and more.
As is with most things in life, there are downsides to social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat – these outlets were created to enhance our lives, not foster unnecessary tension between friends or family or detract from our lives or time with loved ones. So, what’s the best way to make sure you’re making the most of social media and avoiding the pitfalls? Here are four tips to get you started:
1.) You may not want to treat Facebook like a diary.
Some people might disagree, but there is such a thing as oversharing. While your close friends and family might be interested in the intimate details of your life, it’s easy to forget that a lot of the people you are connected with online are just acquaintances or perhaps co-workers. Even in the information age, not everyone needs to know everything about your life. There are privacy considerations as well. For instance, sharing your vacation plans or information about where your children or grandchildren attend school is not advised. If in doubt, remember less is always more.
2.) Don’t neglect “real life.”
Have you ever sat down to quickly check social media and didn’t look up for an hour? Social media can be a deep well of education, information, and sometimes just plain fun! But try to be aware of how much of your day social media takes away from one-on-one time with your family or friends. Maybe instead of sending your friend a Snapchat, you could schedule a time to have coffee with them. And try to be aware of not picking up your phone during family dinners or time relaxing with your spouse or partner.
3.) Ask yourself: “Would I say this to someone if I was standing face to face with them?”
It’s all too easy to hide behind a keyboard when jumping into political or cultural discussions on social media. We are sure this past election season, you’ve seen one or two disagreements on Facebook about a political post – sometimes even between family members. Always consider whether weighing in on a topic is worth the aggravation or tension that might ensue. And it’s always a good practice to not post words you wouldn’t share with someone if they were standing in front of you. If you’re are upset with a company or an individual, always try to write them directly through e-mail or call and resolve the matter before blasting them on Facebook. Time-tested values like the Golden Rule should still apply on social media.
4.) Remember, nothing online is 100% private.
Sure, Facebook has settings to share photos and posts just with people you know. But before you post that silly photo or complain about your boss, remember that social media is, indeed, a social network. Chances are good that someone on your page will know someone connected to others you know, and it’s all too easy for information to travel. And even if you post something and choose to delete it later, someone may have taken a screen shot of it before you deleted it. So, before you post, make sure you’re okay with it potentially reaching anyone, anywhere, for all eternity.
So, use social media as it was originally intended – as a wonderful way to connect, learn, and share experiences and knowledge with others. But always use it carefully! And don’t forget to connect with Downing & Lahey on Facebook, and if you like the content we share, tell your friends about it.