Making Facebook your friend


Facebook gets a lot of bad press. It enables the spread of misinformation, some of it quite dangerous. It seems to inflame divisiveness in politics. It causes friendships to melt down and families to break apart. It enables target marketing of users who may then spend money unwisely.

But me? I kind of like Facebook. There are a number of rules I follow that seem to eliminate many of the negative aspects.

  1. I only “friend'' actual friends. This may be the single smartest thing one can do when using social media - period. I know the people personally whose posts I read and who can read mine. One of the joys Facebook brings me is seeing photos of family and friends having good times.

  2. I drop the inciters. Now just because we are friends or relatives, doesn’t mean I read your posts. In fact, if you have a tendency to be overly-political, I will remain your friend but turn off your post feed. 

  3. I only post things I would not be ashamed for my mother to read. I learned many years ago when I started blogging that my mother, my daughter, and my boss all read my posts. I got called on a few of them, but I was a quick learner and tried to keep anything I put online PG, as rational as possible, and respectful of others’ privacy.

  4. I don’t click on polls. “If you could choose only one dessert to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?” “Write a line from a movie that would indicate the title of the movie.” “Take this quiz to see what house at Hogwarts you’d belong to.” You’ve seen these things. They are simply a method of data gathering. 

  5. I get my news from vetted sources. Professional journalists have training, standards, and a code of ethics. Nut jobs on Facebook don’t. While no news source is 100% free of bias, those run by professionals (newspapers, national/local TV and radio news, magazines) are still the most accurate.

  6. I wait to click the “Buy Now” button. This one is tough for me. Amazon just loves showing me gadgets they know I’ll find intriguing in my Facebook feed. So if something really interests me (that decorative paper towel holder for my kitchen), I’ll add it to my wishlist and think about it for a few days. Most of the time, I just delete the item when I revisit the list.

  7. I limit my time. I only log into Facebook twice a day - once in the early morning and once in the evening - and then only spend a short time scrolling through posts. I admire those folks who say they only access the site every few days. Perhaps a goal worth pursuing.

There are, of course, people who seem to need conflict and anger and use Facebook to satisfy those needs. Set your own guidelines. Work toward making your world a happier place.

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