Love, Life & Facebook03.18.13
With more than a billion active users each month, Facebook has made it easier to connect with people across the world. And as many of us have learned, Facebook connections can affect our real-world relationships. Spending too much time on the ubiquitous and infectious site has its consequences – some positive and others negative. Facebook has become one of the greatest forms for people to connect with new friends and reconnect with old. But heavy interaction online has been known to create isolation, jealousy and insecurity. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Setting boundaries with social networking sites can be empowering. Kimberly James, founder of the matchmaking site FindYourPlusOne.com, spells out five simple ways to maintain healthy relationships online – and in real life.
Limit time on the site. As with any guilty pleasure, the rule should be everything in moderation. Checking status updates is not only time consuming, but it’s information overload. Set aside time as Facebook time. Choose time frames that have a beginning and ending time such as the train ride to work, during lunch hour or on the stationary bike at the gym. By having a designated time to get updates, it establishes a healthy pattern to learn how to disconnect from social networking.
Real life tip: Use this same amount of time to call, email or visit with friends each week.
Use categories. Various studies state the average user has anywhere from 130 to 359 Facebook friends. This is generally a mixture of acquaintances, co-workers, friends and family. Utilizing the category feature enables users to group people together. Categorizing creates a subliminal reminder of how these people are connected to the user in real life. Seeing photos of friends and family should be viewed differently than photos of acquaintances. Because the level of association is not as personal, the reaction to the photos should also not be too personal.
Real life tip: When choosing who to share personal and intimate experiences, choose people that fall in friendship and family categories.
Do not have Facebook connected to all devices. Internet browsers and apps make it simple to have the site on smart phones, desktops and tablets. Even refrigerators have Twitter and Facebook apps on the door. Designate one device as the only source for Facebook.
Real life tip: Use a singular email address for friends and create a second email for newsletters, subscriptions and mass email.
Look at pictures sparingly. It can be fun to look at friends’ pictures from a fun night out, a vacation or a special event. It’s important to know that people generally post the best shots and not the worst. And it’s simply not necessary, or healthy, to keep up with every photo update of someone else’s life.
Real life tip: Print out favorite photos and place around the home and office .
Control the news feed. As more friends are added, more updates and photos populate the news feed. Turn off the news feed for the things that are not of interest. Limit the feed to people that share your same interests.
Real life tip: Treat real life conversations like news feeds and engage with healthy positive people.