1. Social media allows us to get up close and personal without getting up close and personal.
It is so easy to throw an opinion out there and not feel like you have to use any tact what-so-ever.
It is also easy to put a comment on someone else's opinion again without using tact.
The problem with this is that it often leads us to say things we would never say to someone if we were face to face with them. That face to face conversation has a filter, or tact, that keeps us civil and friendly even when we disagree.
I believe this had come full circle in our society, however, and I believe that because of the tactless conversations we have on a day to day basis on social media we have lost the ability to remain civil even in our face to face conversations. If you watch how people talk when the disagree in a face to face conversation, you can see some of that social media tactless-ness come out.
2. Social media is not secure.
It's the internet, it's out there, it's not secure or safe and we must take precautions to make sure that we are safe in the real world while using social media.
They give you all kinds of privacy settings, give you a space on the internet you can put YOUR name on and even have little icons of locks on your page. But in order for you to maintain some security you need to stay aware, and take precautions when you post on social media. You need to look over your pages now and then and see the page how othes can see it. Most social media sites allow you to "see as" others do when they click on your page.
The information you put out there is your's to place. If you choose to give your address, or phone number, that really is up to you but be aware that you are doing it and make sure you maintain some common sense in the real world.
3. Social media takes us out of the "real world".
No matter how little or much time you spend on social media that is time you are not spending with your family and friends. Now, that does not mean that social media can't have a place in your life, but it really is up to you to regulate how much time you spend there. Think I'm crazy? Take a timer, switch it to "stop watch" then for one whole day, without clearing the time, click start when you get on social media and stop (without clearing) when you get off. You will be surprised how a few minutes here and a few minutes there adds up. Get back to the real world, want to touch base with a friend? Give them a call and ask them to coffee, don't just do a drive by "hi" on their timeline and call that staying in touch.
4. Related to #3, Social media is a time suck.
You get up in the morning, head to the kitchen to mix your lifestyle mix and click social media on your phone. Your intention is to mix the shake, and jump on the treadmill, but before you know it you've been sucked into story after story on your timeline and then an hour has passed you by and now it's time to get the kids up and moving and you have just missed your opportunity for a workout on your treadmill.
Be deliberate with your time on social media. If you are stopping in for "just a second" don't, it will never be "just a second".
5. Anyone can make a page and anyone can write a story.
I have noticed that since social media has come along I have seen many more stories that turn out to be false. They look real, they seem plausable, but when you get into the meat of them they are just made up bits and pieces. It's just too easy, especially with social media to make it look real.
And thanks to social media and the ease of sharing etc, there is a whole new wave of "satire" news pages. Some of them have gotten very good at turning the rediculous into a seemingly everyday news item.
Now, before any of my REAL LIFE friends looks at this and says "wow, pot calling the kettle black", yes, I am very aware that I fall right into all of these categories of social media problems. Knowing the problems does not mean one does not contribute to the problem.
What I can tell you is that I have set some definite goals for myself in the last couple of months. As I have shared with you, I have gotten involved in some challenges that will help me with those goals and I have noticed that in order to accomplish those goals I have had to stay away from social media during specific times of the day.
It's funny how social media has become such a huge part of our lives, and it's not all bad. I do feel there are some good things that come from social media. My extended family can see what is going on in the lives of my children easier and quicker on social media. I have acquired some friends because of social media that I might not never have met otherwise. I have been able to stay informed in some areas easier on social media then I might have.
Here are some steps we can take together (yes, me too) in order to make sure that social media is less of a problem in our future.
1. Take that stop-watch test for one day. You'll be surprised at how much time you spend on social media.
2. Take a look through your social media sites once a month and make sure that you don't have any information out there, that you don't want "out there".
3. Be kind! If you make a comment to someone, write it out, read it, then ask yourself if you'd make that comment if you were face to face with them. If no, delete it. If yes, go back to "be kind". As I said before I think social media has skewed our idea of civil conversation.
4. If you choose to share something from social media, either verify it or be ready to be "caught" sharing something that isn't true.
5. Be kind. Because it is worth stating twice.
What have you seen is your biggest problem with social media?
How much time did you spend on social media when you did the stop-watch test?
Was it more than you thought?
If you stayed off social media for one week, what do you think you could accomplish?