Etiquette is important, no matter where you are. Being polite, saying the right things and of course using the right manners in the right room. But what about Facebook? As a real Gen Xer, I did not grow up with an ingrained understanding of the ins and outs of our current world. As many in my age group, we were thrown into social media while our brains were still craving a gameboy. And I have to admit, I don’t know what the daily acronyms mean or the best emoji for the text conversation. For many of my friends, I seem to do social media wrong. I probably do, but I am following a clear set of rules that I gave myself and am constantly adapting. So follow along, these might help you become social media awkward and a little freer with your time.
- I don’t care about online birthdays! If I say happy birthday to one person, then I need to say it to thousands a year. I am not into that. What if I miss a day or week and 100 birthdays of people who think we are homies? So instead, if I notice a birthday of someone important to me, that means I have their cell number. Those guys generally get a text or a quick message. It’s more personal to me and them and I feel like it helps grow that friendship on a more real level.
- If I like your post, you are lucky! That sounds way harsher than it is. The bottom line is, Facebook annoys me. So many ads, opinions and sales pitches. I am trying to use it in a very on purpose way instead of scrolling endlessly. So as I scroll my feed I will throw out as many likes as I have time for. So if you are wondering why people like me don’t like all your cat memes and fundamentalist propaganda… it could be that we just don’t see it.
- I sensor who I follow and allow in my feed. Around half of my social media friends are Christians. Not the type that would mark Christian on the admission form at the hospital, but the ones who would rather post Franklin Grahams latest reason why he hates immigration and loves Trump. These are people I respect highly, are educated and hold a close place in my heart. Sometimes, I don’t agree with their religified politics… So I unfollow. Here is why, I found that I was hate reading. I would fall for hours reading non-sense (to me) that would put me on edge. I purposely did this! What a time waster and poor use of emotional energy. So I have cleaned up my feed to the point where peoples opinions push me but don’t irritate me.
- I post literally. So when Facebook asks, “what’s on your mind”. I take that question literally and say it like it is. The problem with this strategy is huge. If it is on my mind, then it is something happening around me. It also means friends are experiencing or witnessing it too. That generally means that there are opinions to go along with my comments. As someone who abstains from Facebook arguments (remember I am an adult), I don’t fight back. I don’t even fight back when haters hate in real life, so when it comes to social media I step way back. There have been times where I would just delete a post if it looks like someone might go too far with their opinions and hurt someone else. Sounds a bit like I am a giant chicken, but I just don’t want to lose time to silliness. As a guy with a young family who is planting a church, I need every minute I can get.
- Messanger is not email. If you need to get ahold of most people, your best bet is knowing their mobile number. If you don’t have it, your second best bet is email. Next try texting my wife. You could also yell at my house until I come outside. After all of these options are used up, then fire me a Facebook message. I might check it, but I usually go days without opening it at all. For example, It makes me laugh how many people will send me messages at the church Facebook and wonder why someone else responds for me. This happens because Messenger is not Email! I think using FB as a primary mode of communication is a massive societal flaw. Mostly because you don’t know how many people are on the same communication page as you.
- No notifications. I don’t have any notifications on my phone other than calls and texts. I don’t even have email notifications. I will check that stuff when I have time. If my phone is constantly going off, then how will I ever accomplish anything? Try it! It is amazingly freeing.
- No games. I play one phone game. 1. Not 15, or 30 or even 2. I forsure do not play words with dogs or farm place or what ever they are called. Essentially, I am no fun.
So thats where I am at right now. It is not that I am being rude to you on social media by being distant, it is that I am trying to focus on my actual life. I probably care very much about you and your life, just not on social media. I hope I can get to the place where a monkey or a robot does all my media handling for me, and just makes it look like I have time for those pesky cat memes, until that time I am going to have to look a bit rude.