Day 22~ Facebook for the Generations

When Facebook started, it was intended for college aged kids. That lasted for about a year and then the teens found it. When I started my profile in 2007 it was very much an under 25 social tool.  However, gradually parents wanted to see what their kids were talking about. Aunts, uncles, cousins got in on the action and entire families became connected via Facebook.

Facebook is NOT for young people. It is NOT for college students.  It is NOT for parents spying on their kids.  Facebook is for everyone.

I am always sad when I hear about parents who know absolutely nothing about Facebook but know their kids are on it. They have no rules or boundaries because they have no idea how it works.

I also find it incredibly naive that parents would let their 13 year olds have an account but never monitor it or teach their kids how to post respectfully and appropriately.

Facebook is for the generations.  Currently I have aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and extended family from the ages of 13 to 85 on Facebook. Yes, 85.

Some grandparents and older generation folks have heard the talk and banter coming from their grandkids and family members. They felt like they were missing out so they joined in. I think it’s fantastic!

I have noticed that those over 60 don’t post nearly as much as those of us in our 40s. But that’s okay. They are THE BEST encouragers and cheerleaders. They don’t feel the need or want to post statuses and links and photos often but they are great at responding to statuses and photos. They are always encouraging and uplifting. They are engaged and present and THIS alone keeps young kids(and some of us middle-agers) accountable and filtered.

When I was a child, we knew that “children were to be seen and not heard”, which sounds so archaic and unfair. But understand this:  it wasn’t that we were shuffled into a bedroom or shushed into a corner, it is just that we were taught when adults are in company children should not be disruptive and interrupting. But we were always welcome and encouraged to be present and engage with multi-generations. Whether playing games, having a meal, sitting in church, attending weddings or hosting parties, we were learning from our parents and other adults.

I think it is ridiculous to say that Facebook is for teenagers and young people only.  If there isn’t a multi-generation presence, they will never grow and mature. We learn from each other and we are mentored by those who have walked the path before us.

Let me encourage you- if you are not on your children’s friend lists, you should be.  If you’re not engaging with them socially on line , are you engaging with them in person socially?

I will keep beating this drum: Facebook is your living room.  If you’re going to have conversations, laughter, share stories and photos there, then include everyone…not just those in your age demographic.

Besides, your kids will behave better if they know you’re watching. ;)

For the other posts in this series click: Facebook 101

Day 21~ The Diary Mentality

So, you’re on Facebook and you have a few friends. You go to your newsfeed to catch up on news, photos and other fun stuff. And then THIS happens:

“Today I have lots to do. I have to wash some dishes and then go get the mail. And then I’ll have to get at that pile of junk in the garage. And then I guess I should think about supper. Hoping it’s a good day.”

Hmm….okay then.

And then later you see this:

” I just finished the dishes and made supper. Before that I cleaned out the litter box and cleaned the garbage out of all the bathrooms. Now I’m going to sit down and watch some TV.”

I’m probably going to get some negative feedback but guys, seriously? Facebook is NOT your diary.  It’s not a journal log of everything you did in the past hour, 24 hours or week. No one cares if you’re doing dishes again today like you did yesterday(and yes, I have friends who actually post that daily).

We want to hear not WHAT you’re doing but HOW you’re doing. We want to know HOW you feel and what is motivating you or speaking to you or exciting you.  We want to hear if you’re upset(but not a cryptic status please) and we want to share those ups and downs of life with you.

Listen, we all eat, we all clean up, we all poop and we all go to bed. We get it.  This is not news. This is not social interaction. Again, back to the living room analogy. Would you invite your friends over and say: ” Ya, so I just took a dump before you got here and before that I made the bed.  Oh and I emptied the dishwasher. “

Not likely.  Ewww.  But for some reason this is how some people use Facebook.

I hide them. Or delete them. Not because I’m mean….well, okay, maybe I am.  But because that’s ALL they ever post. Like for real. I’ve gone through their timelines and it’s the same thing every day.

This is where that whole idea of self-editing comes into play.  Go back to your timeline and see what you post. One thing I do notice is that those who regularly post what they’re doing(like a list of things) get very few comments, sometimes none for days or weeks. If that’s you- consider content.  Just a friendly little heads up. Remember, this is SOCIAL networking. If you’re not being social, you’re doing it wrong.

Day 21 From last year’s Redeeming Christmas series is Just One Thing

And for all the posts in this Facebook 101 series, click here.

Day 20~ Married People on Facebook

I’m married, so is my husband. ;)

The reason I say that is sometimes we women forget that there are TWO of us in this. You know that whole thing about the two shall become one? Well, that’s a real thing. And it really matters how you conduct yourself online as a married person.

So without belabouring this, let me just give you a few brief guidelines for how my husband and I approach our Facebook lives as a married unit.  We are two individuals with two individual friend lists but we operate under the assumption that we speak for each other and respect each other:

1. NEVER, EVER EVER EVER throw your spouse under the bus in a status, comment or other post on Facebook. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to them.

2. Never be cryptic in your posts all the while stewing about something your spouse said or did or didn’t do. Chances are, even if no one else clues in, your spouse will and that’s betrayal of trust right there.

3. If your spouse is NOT on Facebook they should have 100% unlimited access to your account- inbox, privacy settings etc. This is about open trust.

4. Don’t inbox “friends” of the opposite sex other than what would be a normal conversation if your spouse were there. And this is a tricky one because there are grey areas- surprise birthdays, gifts, etc.  HOWEVER,  when you carry on a conversation in an inbox, you are building intimacy. Which is very natural. But when you build intimacy over a long period of time with someone you are not married to, who is not family, you are asking for trouble. I will leave it at that.

5. Keep your arguments off the internet. I cannot tell you how many women(particularly) have aired their dirty laundry on Facebook and done real and lasting damage to their marriages.  Your marriage is private. Your routine, normal, everyday struggles as a husband and wife are no one else’s business. If you have an issue, deal with it offline and in person. If you berate or disrespect your spouse on Facebook, I will defriend you. No question.

6. The opposite of above is essential: brag about, honor, bless and respect your spouse in “public” on Facebook. You don’t have to be gross or sappy, but be real and encouraging. This goes a LONG LONG way to building trust, respect and good communication in a marriage.

Anyone have anything to add?  I’m a big proponent that married folks have either a joint account or are both on Facebook. It never bodes well if only one is on and the other feels left out or ignored.

For all of my posts in this series on Facebook 101, click HERE. 

From last year’s 31 Days series on Redeeming Christmas:  Christmas in a Box 

Day 19~ Promoting Yourself on Facebook

I follow a LOT of bloggers and authors on Facebook.  I often choose to follow them based on more than just one article I have read. There has to be substance and meaning to what they post in order for me to follow them daily.

Every once in a while, I am disappointed. They either have a completely different Facebook presence than what their blog may have led me to believe OR they have no Facebook presence at all. The latter doesn’t really affect much since they’re never really “present” but the former, that makes me hit unLike.

I have also noticed with my Facebook friends who are in business, who are philanthropic or who have various passions that they will post on that particular topic a lot. That’s actually fine and what Facebook is for. Heck, I do that!

HOWEVER…..

Some of my friends and even family rarely, if ever post about  their day, their family, their home, their church, their friends….their LIVES!  What they do post is whatever they are selling- ads, promos, articles.  The passionate ones post about their causes.  Which is fine except for ONE LITTLE THING…..they never post from first hand knowledge or their own personal take.  They are always linking to someone else, something else, some other person’s thoughts.  It’s tiring and frankly, I hide these people. They post the same stuff ALL THE TIME.  It isn’t interesting or engaging. They lost me.

They lost me when they never shared why they were passionate. They lost me when they never talked about all the other parts of their life. They lost me when it all started to feel like one big sales pitch or “show me the plan” kind of Amway meeting. They lost me when they slammed every other product, service or opinion that was not linked to their product, service or opinion.

Hey, I’m all for self-promotion. I’m all for tooting your own horn and raving about something that you love. But never at the expense of every other person out there trying to make a living with their products or raving about their passions. If you want to help the shepherd people of Guatemala, great! Tell me something interesting and appeal to my senses! But don’t bash all the people who eat lamb for supper.  Maybe lamb is all some people can afford. (okay, I’m being facetious but I hope you can see through the analogy to get the point)

Chris Marlow, who is an author/blogger/motivational speaker/humanitarian posted this on Facebook yesterday:

If all you do is promote yourself or your product, people will eventually ignore you.

 

Sometimes I delete. Sometimes I just hide, but whatever it is, I do it because narrow-mindedness and never engaging are just not what Facebook is about. At least, not for me.

 

For all the posts in this 31 Day series on Facebook 101, click HERE.

Day 18~ Using the Internet for Good,Selfies and Socktober

Selfies.

This is a real word now.

Never used to be.

But now it is.

Selfies.

Say it with me, “SE>>>>LLLLL>>>>FIES>>>>>”

It’s silly, isn’t it? Silly that we are now the MOST PHOTOGRAPHED generation in the history of the world. In fact, there are probably more photos being taken today than there have been total photos taken since the first photo was taken. (This is just a random fact I made up but it’s probably true).

My daughter has about 1000 photos of her self in her photo folders on our family computer. And I’m being conservative. I don’t get it.

Once you take a photo, isn’t that good? I mean, what are you hoping for? The perfect duck face? Perfect lighting? Are you sending head shots to a modeling agency? Why are we taking selfies??? Somebody explain this to me.

Let’s use the internet and Facebook for good. Go right now to your profile and look in your photo albums. I want you to count how many SELF-PORTRAITS you have . Then report back. Seriously. Let’s out ourselves. This is pure silliness.

I have an idea. If we maybe stopped taking selfies and used our cameras to look OUTWARD- say, I don’t know, at our neighbourhoods, cities, friends, family…maybe we’d start to see the need around us. If the camera is always pointed towards us, then we’re never really looking out.  So today, take a picture of someone or something in need around you. You don’t have to post it but I want you to look at it. And then do something about it.

Tomorrow in our city, there is a city-wide food bank drive. We have these lovely brown bags and we’re supposed to fill them up and place them on our front step. I’m doing it and I think everyone else should too. And even if your city isn’t doing it, you can still fill a bag and drop it off at a local food bank center or donation bin.

Let’s use the internet and Facebook for good today! Enough of the selfies.

And watch this….so funny and so right on!

Day 17~ Why I Love Facebook Part 2

Before Facebook, I lived in my own little world, doing what I’ve always done, minding my business(mostly) and carrying on in the best way I knew how.  I mean, we all were. We all have been living and doing all that we  KNEW to do.  Yes, the internet opened our eyes. But it wasn’t until social networking came along that we actually had the opportunity to SHARE ideas and thoughts and REAL CONVERSATIONS with our friends, family and even people we’ve never met.

This is what I love about Facebook. I have grown. Anyone who doesn’t grow and morph and broaden their horizons and thoughts while on Facebook is doing it wrong. (that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it)

Today, I want to share with you two examples of how I have learned to open up my little pee brain to a big wide world. Judgment, self-pity and criticism have too long been focused attitudes. And listen, I’m the first in line for all 3 because that is just who I was/am.  But I’m here to tell you, that you can open your eyes and your mind and branch out…even just a bit….and learn from others.

From Jen Hatmaker this morning(author, blogger, speaker and generally just a really nice mom and wife):

 I suspect we misjudge people 90% of the time. Experience tells me I can sit down over coffee with almost any perceived adversary and end up laughing until my ribs ache. We were born on the same day, we both quit reading the same book halfway through, we are both worried about parenting, we both love Jesus even if we don’t agree on all the dressings. Common ground abounds.
 
Yes, some people are genuinely toxic or unhealthy, but we should draw those conclusions from personal experience, not hearsay or assumptions. I see a strategy for fracturing humanity well in play: just keep people separated and let them reinforce invented boundaries in their imaginations. Because when people come together and really listen to each other, doing the hard work of human kindness, virtually every barrier is breached. The entire mechanism is a house of cards; we can topple the structure with courage and trust and real discussions and grace for each other.

 

Read the entire piece here: it is REALLY GOOD!   The Mythical THEY

 

The second thing I want you to read is from Glennon at Momastery.  She just nails it today with this post:

I’ve Got Spirit, And So Do You

God, whomever God is, has my full reverence. But yes, I am irreverent to everyone’s ideas about God – especially mine. And I am most irreverent to religious certainty. Because certainty does not sound like faith. It sounds like fear. Fear cannot leave any room for mystery. Faith leaves room.

- See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2013/10/17/ive-got-spirit/#sthash.hnKQXVgE.dpuf

 

If Facebook doesn’t make you a better person, doesn’t make you kinder, gentler, full of grace and mercy. If it doesn’t open your eyes to the world around you and love people more and judge less, then you’re doing it wrong. I hope you read these two amazing posts from two amazing women and feel like you just lightened your load a little today.

for all of my posts in this series, click here:  Facebook 101

Day 16~ Sharing about Family on Facebook

Occasionally I look through my Facebook photo albums.  They’re like a chronological photo diary of my life for the past 6 years which is actually pretty cool.  Every album I post usually has a theme, whether it’s seasonal(Christmas, summer , springtime, harvest) or topical( graduation, weddings, reunions, storms).

One thing I do not have a lot of, is photos of my family.

For some people this is a bummer, a downer.  And I’ll admit that I wish you could see what I see and I wish I could share more but here’s the thing, my family doesn’t want me sharing any more than I already am.

For a long time there was an inside joke about “she who shall not be named” and the fact that SHE didn’t want any photos, comments, posts, etc of her, about her, relating to her on Facebook not then , not now, not ever.  Since that time SHE has relaxed but only slightly and realizes that I am not the only person in the world who takes her photos, goes to family functions with her, sees her, visits her, talks to her. SHE has realized that she can’t control it all. So I have snuck in a few photos and some highlights that yes, SHE indeed is still alive and well and we do see HER. BUT, that’s where it ends.  SHE wants her privacy and I have to respect that.

In the same way, my kids don’t like me posting, tagging and generally commenting about them, to them or to others about them.  I have 4 kids and they are all teens. We have a rule that they MUST have their parents as Facebook friends. My oldest two have blocked me or restricted me. They still do occasionally but I have learned that even “liking” a post or photo or a generic comment may get me banned, so I just don’t.  They do let me post the odd photo of them but I can’t tag them.  However, I do tag them in statuses if I want them to see something or if I want to totally embarrass them. (Yes, that is my prerogative).  I don’t use this option often but it’s there if I need it!

The thing is this: Your family didn’t ask you to join Facebook and you didn’t consult them when you did.

And there’s a bit of compromise that needs to happen here. My family who is NOT on Facebook has to concede that although they may not want their face ever seen on Facebook , the reality is that people do take pictures and they do share them. We’ve been doing this since the dawn of photography, Facebook or not. You go into people’s homes and they have photos of you that  you never knew about. Most of us  are likely in thousands of photos in the world and we will never see most of them.  But when it comes to respecting the privacy and wishes of our family members, we have to show some grace.

 

I mean no disrespect to my family. But I will post photos that are relevant and pertinent to MY life. I never want to offend or embarrass(well, except my kids occasionally) anyone so there have been times when I have been asked to remove photos and remove tags and even though I may have disagreed with the reasoning, I did it. Because I love my family.

You won’t see a lot of pictures of my kids. They just don’t want me to post much.  However, I do find it funny how they will post a ridiculous amount of “selfies”. That’s tomorrow’s topic. ;)

 

For all of the posts in this series, click here. 

For last year’s Day 16 post from the Redeeming Christmas series: Overwhelmed By Expectations 

Day 15~ Groups on Facebook

I administrate a couple of groups on Facebook.

They are private family groups so I have them blocked out in this screen shot: 

groups

 

 

Groups are a great way of connecting with people that have similar interests as you but allows you to keep your privacy on your home page. In other words, you do not have to be( nor should you be)  Facebook friends with people in your group in order to see what they post….IN THAT GROUP.

For example, I have 2 family groups: one on my mom’s side, one on my dad’s.  These are private groups meaning they are not visible or searchable on Facebook but you have to be invited to be a part of them.  We can exchange recipes, family photos, addresses and information on upcoming events or reunions. 

This was a really helpful tool when my grandpa passed away last year. It was a great collection of photos, stories and thoughts.  Sometimes our groups are quiet for months at a time, but they are always there if we need information or to reconnect. 

 

I also belong to some photography and prairie interest groups.  I may not post anything for months at a time but I can see what others post. It’s like leaving your living room(your personal Facebook page) and walking down the street to the local coffee shop to see and hear what’s new in the area. It is social but it still allows you your personal space and privacy.

If you want to start a group page, they’re pretty simple.  Unless you’re doing something public like a community garage sale or mom/tot group, I recommend making them private and by invitation only. This keeps the trolls and spammers away.  You will still get requests from spammers to join but at least you can weed them out and block them as necessary.  Even with public type pages, I recommend having at least one or two administrators and making “joining a group” mandatory so that you protect the privacy of your members.  This option allows people to view the group but they can’t see the content or comment until they actually join. 

 

Groups keep you connected without the personal commitment to keep in touch with every person in your family or club on a daily basis!

 

For more on this series Facebook 101, click HERE.

Day 14~ Subscribing to Newsfeeds & Trolls

On Facebook, you have the option of having only friends’ posts in your newsfeed or subscribing to other pages.  I have a lot of authors, bloggers, singers in my news feed as I do like to keep up with where they are, what they’re doing, what they’re talking about, etc.

I also have Breaking News in my news feed. As well as some other local news stations, weather, radio stations, on air personalities and the like.

Breaking News is one that I have learned to read the story only and forego any passing glance at the comments. Why? Because the commenters on there are just plain nuts. This is a worldwide forum and wow do they ever get some nut jobs commenting.

I used to fire back with an intelligible thought but that only sucked me in. You see, once you comment on a news story, it’s really hard to not read the follow up comments. Many pages moderate their comments but Breaking News and other worldwide news agencies do not. So it is a free-for-all and people act like maggots on dead flesh when there is ANYTHING they could possibly extract in the way of controversy.  My trigger point used to be the abortion debate. I would get sucked in and I would try to sound common-sensical but I always got dragged through a pile of crap and all of the sudden found myself defending issues that weren’t mine to defend. And this is where I learned about trolls.

The interwebs are full of trolls.  Don’t know what a troll is? Well you probably have never commented on a news story, opinion piece, blog or Twitter thread.  Trolls are everywhere and their one purpose in life is to make you say, type and give up words and thoughts you never planned on using.  They function to make you sweat. Their game is getting you so riled up about an issue that they become the primary target and focus of a news feed.  They want all the attention and they’ll say/type anything to get it. They are heartless, vicious, mean, relentless and they never stop. They don’t care who you are or what you believe, they just want you mad and typing. And then they pull any word or phrase and make a mountain out of a molehill. Trolls are evil temptresses.

Walk away.

Don’t even go there.

Don’t start and you’ll never have to stop.

Once you take the bait, you are a feast for the sharks so don’t even step into the water.

I still have Breaking News in my feed but I never click on the comments. Usually within 30 seconds of a story being posted there are several thousand comments and that right there is a sign that nothing good will come out of this “open conversation”.

Be wary of comments. Some are just there to stir the pot and disturb the poop.

This is a great article on Internet Trolls. Click here: Internet Trolls and Why I do What I do. 

 

Day 13~Games, Google Chrome and other stuff

Hey guys, here I am- behind! So sorry! Thanksgiving turkey hangover…well, maybe the lemon meringue pie is to blame…yummmm!   So I’m going to rapid fire 3 posts today, okay?

First up: games

The bane of my existence on Facebook. Ugh.

I used to play wordsearch and scrabble.  I did a little BubbleBurst and something else. That was about 5 years ago.

It soon became clear that not only were these time wasters but  I was getting annoyed by all the other people posting game stats and requests to play with them. So I shut it all down. Cold turkey(see what I did there?).  In one day I went from playing several games to playing none and I’ve never looked back.

First of all, if you play games, this is not a slam against you. You do whatever you want to do .

But know this:

1. I frequently hide from my news feed people who play games all the time.

2. I have defriended and will continue to do so, people who regularly play games and never post anything else on Facebook.

3. I have blocked several people from sending me game requests. Because, well, there were a few that , in spite of me publicly requesting that no one invite me to play games, continued to send me game requests.

4. If new games pop up(as they do all the time) in my news feed, I select the arrow to the right to permanently BLOCK all further requests and notifications from that particular game maker.

5. Many games cannot be played on Google Chrome.  For any who are more tech-savvy than I , please bear with me. I am a mom and wife and I know stuff just based on experience not because I know all the technical terms and what not on all things techy. Make sense? Good.  Google Chrome has a superior firewall compared to many other browsers. You may have found that when playing certain games they crash or don’t work at all on Google Chrome. So in order to play some of these games you have to go to Safari, Firefox or another browser. This should be a clue and a warning to you. Games on Facebook are not created by Facebook. They are created by 3rd party developers who may be using archaic or inferior programming. Since the web and the ‘net are always changing, many of theses games don’t measure up.  This is why many of you are getting spammy virus type things popping up on your friends’ walls with your name attached to them. I just had to delete some this weekend from a family group page…because the person whose FB profile it came from is a gamer.

6. You should be cautious about who you exchange information with in 3rd party apps and games. Many times I received friend requests from people I did not know because they were part of a game I was playing. This was one of the major red flags for me discontinuing game play on Facebook.

Any questions?   I don’t play games.  If you do, be wary and we wise.

For more posts on Facebook 101, click HERE.