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Everyone’s talking about Facebook today.
As you’ve likely heard, Facebook announced changes to the News Feed that will show you more posts from your friends, family and groups while showing fewer posts from pages, brands and businesses.
Personally, from my perspective as a Facebook user… I’m a little worried about being flooded by too many messages from groups and I already saw too few posts from pages I’ve liked. As a Facebook Page owner, it’s rather frustrating as they already only showed our posts to a small percentage of those who have liked our page.
But that algorithm change is not what I’m talking about here.
All this extra chatter about Facebook today reminded me how careful we need to be on Facebook as parents, business owners, and as simply as individuals who value our own happiness.
Facebook has the power to ruin your life.
That may sound extreme, but some of the crap that happens on Facebook is brutal.
Facebook conversations and viral posts can ruin relationships, businesses and could even make some people suicidal.
As parents we need to model good behaviour for our kids, as business owners we need to keep our interactions professional, and as individuals we need to respect other people and our relationships.
Over the years I have watched so many people be hurt on Facebook. So I wanted to take a moment to remind us all how we can make sure Facebook doesn’t ruin our lives.
If you’re a mom or dad on Facebook, you have an extra level of responsibility to watch what you say on your profile, in groups and in comments on other pages.
Now I admit, I’m extremely careful what I say on Facebook, and you may think this is going too far.
But I’d suggest, before you type something on Facebook, consider whether you would want your child to read it. Maybe even go as far as consider what would happen if your child had to stand up in front of their school class and read what you said.
Obviously, that’s not likely to happen… but if you want to be sure what you’re saying is safe, put it to the test in your mind.
You want to be a good example to your child. You want them to be proud of how you treat other people and you don’t want to embarrass them.
It can be really tempting to share funny and potentially embarrassing photos or things your kids say. But be sure that they would be okay seeing it now or ten years from now.
Even in private groups, you need to be careful. Posts get copied and pasted all the time.
And as a parent you want to teach your kids how dangerous Facebook and all social sites can be.
Watch carefully to see if your child is being bullied on any social channels. Most kids aren’t using Facebook as much these days as they are other apps. Try to stay current on what platforms your kids are using and check their text messages.
As Business Owners…
I’m shocked at how many business owners lash out in comments or on their own personal profiles or even their brand pages.
And when I say business owners… I’m including professional bloggers and those who work as virtual assistants, graphic artists, PR reps, etc.
If you do any business online, you should be careful of what you say on Facebook and other social channels.
I’ve seen countless people get in comment wars or publish posts that alienate huge groups of people (aka potential readers, customers and clients.)
It can be so difficult in today’s divisive climate to bite your tongue and stop your fingers from typing too fast. But you should keep your comments professional.
I’m not saying that you should never share your political or religious views on Facebook. But I do suggest that you are careful and respectful when you do post and comment on sensitive issues.
Facebook unfortunately often leads to unhappiness. But it doesn’t have to.
If you put out positivity into the online social world, it will come back to you.
If you put out negativity… well, that will come back and kick you in the face.
We often think about cyberbullying as something that happens to kids and teenagers. But cyberbullying is rampant amongst all ages and all demographics.
There’s a whole spectrum of online ugly behaviour that can range from a nasty comment to full blown cyberbullying that destroys lives.
My motto is not to participate in ANY level of negative online behaviour.
It breaks my heart how many people I’ve seen be hurt from mean comments, online gossiping etc.
You might feel that you are trying to stand up for someone else and so you fight back in a comment thread. But I suggest you never participate or even respond to any degree of cyberbullying on your profile or anyone else’s profile or even in any group.
If someone starts to be rude to you online, try to end the public conversation as quickly as possible and consider discussing through direct message.
Sometimes threads in private groups turn into heated debates that then spill out onto personal profiles and might lead to cyberbullying with devastating consequences.
While your personal profile may not be public, you’d be wise to treat what you say there as if it were public. Remember that copy and pasting is common.
Each situation is unique, and there are no easy answers when it comes to coping with online drama, but I suggest that in most online arguments, there is more to lose than there is to gain.
Facebook Is Watching You
You are teaching Facebook what they should show you.
Every time you react to a post, you’re telling Facebook to show you more posts like that.
So if someone makes you mad with their political or religious comment that goes against your beliefs, if you hit the angry emoticon and leave a nasty comment, you just taught Facebook that they should show you more posts like that because you engaged.
In fact, now you are a TARGET. Literally.
Facebook pages, brands and businesses… including political campaigns (even illegitimate supporters of political parties) will target their posts to people who are more likely to engage with political content.
If you don’t want to spend your day fighting about politics, do NOT engage with political posts or comments.
Facebook is full of enough judgement. Sprinkle your profile with kindness and leave goodness in comment threads.
If you read a post that makes you feel angry, just keep scrolling and invest your time and energy in a post that makes you feel happy.
Let’s all put a little more love on Facebook… And the online world will be a better place.
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Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom
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