As we celebrate Facebook’s 10th Anniversary this month, it may be hard for many of us to imagine a life without the colossal online world that we’ve all come to love and hate. To date myself, I remember a time when I didn’t know what everyone was doing… every second of the day, and I miss those days. At the same time, we’ve probably all learned some valuable lessons from engaging on Facebook. After 10 years of posting, sharing and liking, here’s what I’ve learned:
- It will never be a substitute – Never in the history of our society have we been so connected to one another. But, messaging/liking/sharing with your online friends is not the same as picking up the phone or speaking with someone in person.
From a business perspective, social media can be a great tool to engage with customers and incentivize them to purchase your products. However, humans craves personal communication that involves touching, feeling, seeing and hearing. Don’t let social media keep you from being a caring member of society. Pick up the phone, send a hand written note, or even better – invite someone to come and talk to you in person.
- It can be a time waster – We’ve all been there… you jump on your home page, check a few headlines and the next thing you know you’ve spent 30 minutes looking at your BFF’s pictures from Disney Land or reading a 2000 word blog post about why you need to buy the latest version of P90x. Just like Mark Zuckerberg and his team of digital nerds have planned, it sucks you in and keep you for far too long. If you must spend time on Facebook, set a timer to let you know when you need to stop and get back to the important things. Even better, download an application like Hootsuite that will allow you to make posts in advance without actually going to the Facebook website.
- It can toy with your emotions – So and so got a new job and you’ve been unemployed for months. Or your favorite actor just died and your social feeds are constantly being cluttered with RIP messages. No matter how mentally sound you are, seeing the constant ups and downs of all of your friends can wreck-havoc on your state of mind. Don’t be scared to take a break from time to time and remember that what you are doing is far more important than what everyone else is doing.
- It can be useful – For as much bad as Facebook brings, it probably brings an equal amount of good. Businesses and individuals now have a way to connect with friends, family and customers in a way that we never thought was possible. Non-profits now have a unique way to raise badly needed funds and the news media can give us second-by-second updates on stories, often resulting in a positive result.
Like it or not, Social Media is probably here to stay! Just keep in mind that it really is about how and why you use and that it’s never too late to step away from your computer and go outside to smell the roses!