Minnesota, USA April 25, 2011- For the majority of us, we are intrigued by the moment-to-moment recap on what is happening within our family and friends' lives - I say 'majority' mainly because there is a very small amount of people who do not participate in social networking. It is obvious that those who do not take part in these activities - only one person I know- are labeled as weird and possibly 'anti-social'. However, can we label the activities on these networks to be 'social' or is it entirely off track from what it was envisioned to be
I have seen the extremes of both sides: people who cannot take their hands off their phones all the way to people who cannot get a phone for fear of being contacted by someone and being 'reminded' of responsibilities. It is annoying when I need to get in touch with someone who is consciously trying to avoid all people who need something. Then again, it is also annoying to engage in a conversation with someone who looks down at his or her cell phone just so he or she can put up a new status stating something like, "Out with ladies and having lattes.. great fun!" I even experienced the extreme where a few people at the same table actually engaged in conversations on Facebook over the phone even though their arms were actually touching! Is this social or anti-social I cannot draw the line.
I imagine that I am not the only person who can slowly see this growing division occurring between the people who are social network maniacs and the 'I-can-give-you-twenty-reasons-social-networking-is-ridiculous' type of people. I admit, I am somewhere in between. After hearing the cases between both groups and observing the types of activity on a handful of networks, I opened up a plan that could enhance our experience and get our 'social network haters' on board as well.
Do NOT take out your cell phone when you are out with family and friends unless there is consensus that all people involved will do the same - If this is happening, there are chances that there is a communication problem among those you are around or just in general. Explore different people and settings to see where the problem is - Is it really just technology or do you do this in particular situations
Please keep the maximum of status updates to two a day - I understand that some days may be more 'eventful' and interesting and filled with the most exciting news; however, there is only so much that someone will read until they deem your posts as excessive and annoying. If you are posting more than this, you may consider writing a blog where your family and friends can access it.
Back off on the photo uploads - All friends are happy for their loved ones when they have a special moment, although we do not want to see every picture of it every second. We love to hear and see special moments, but please keep it to a minimum. The less there is, the more special it seems and the more we will adore them.
When commenting, make sure that it is something you would say in person - We are all guilty of making a comment that did not require much thought prior to posting or after; however, we must realize that in face-to-face interaction we censor ourselves so we should also do the same in social networks. It may feel more comfortable to say negative or outrageous things over the internet, but we must remember these people on the receiving end are our friends, so we must treat them that way.
Keep the posts and picture uploads simple - I cannot count the times where I saw pictures that I never thought I would ever see anywhere. When situations like this happen, we start to question whether we know that friend/family member at all. Make sure that your photos reflect your life; if they do not, there may be many confused people after they're posted. Be ready to answer questions or receive negative feedback if you choose to post somewhat controversial images.
Have fun, but not too much fun - You may understand when you are joking around with someone but others may not be able to detect that. It is difficult to show 'joking' without voice. Basically, have fun but also be careful. You do not want to offend any of your friends since it is likely they will see a preview of the posts and wonder what is happening.
Do not do activities for the sake of social networking - Sometimes it looks like people are trying too hard to look 'social'. If you attend a party, do not let it be because you want to take trillions of photos, update your status to 'party!', or mark yourself as attending an event. Social networking should live up to your life; you shouldn't need to live up to 'social networking'.