How to Use Facebook and Not Lose Your Friends

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Welcome to Facebook! The place where relationships are perfect, liars believe their own bullsh*t and the world shows off they are living a great life; where your enemies are the ones that visit your profile the most, your friends and family block you and even though you write exactly what you are thinking, there is always someone that takes it the wrong way.

I copied that from a friend’s Facebook wall and shared it on my own a few weeks ago. I think this pretty much hits the nail on the head. Facebook and I have a love-hate relationship at the moment, and it will probably remain that way for a while.

Facebook is like a really bad drug addiction. I’m actually in the process of writing a song inspired by someone who lost his life to drug addiction, and one of the lines I have so far is:

You knew who you wanted to be
But you didn’t know who you were

I think Facebook does that to you. It’s like an obsession that takes over you if you’re not careful. You wake up in the morning and instead of checking your e-mail or brushing your teeth, you peruse Facebook (as if any status updates have posted since all your “friends” went to bed. Come on, guys. I know I’m not alone in this.) You’re engrossed with your friends and the so-called “perfect” lives their living. What they ate for breakfast. What they thought about last night’s Glee episode. What they want for Christmas. Or how they’re so thankful for the wonderful time they had last night at their Bible study group. In a nutshell, you become so enthralled with their lives, that you begin to lose sight of your own. Your status updates are written with a competitive edge. Your witty one-liners have to be funnier and more engaging than everyone else’s. You have to get at least 10 likes on your latest post or you’ve failed as a human being. You know who you want to be. But who are you? Besides someone who let Facebook get the better of them.

Here’s another reason why Facebook is my enemy: because I’m honest. And because I’m a writer / creative type who likes to express her honest thoughts in poetic ways sometimes. Or I’ll say exactly what I think, without meaning any harm and someone takes offense — even if I’m halfway smiling as I type the status. I’ve learned the hard way several times that you can’t do that on Facebook. An example:

I started a new job with this company a while back and had to write copy for 2 mini-sites about designer handbags one day. (Note: I’m not talking about Belk, so if any of my current, fellow employees are reading this, it’s very important that you make NO assumptions here.) Anyway, how much can you really say about a Coach or Prada handbag? Or about a site that sells knock-off versions of them but claims that they’re the real thing? Well, you cant say much that’s positive, that’s for sure. So I was having a tough time. Not to mention, I don’t care for bags that have designer logo prints all over them. I love Coach, but I won’t carry a Coach bag that’s covered in C’s. Just a personal preference. I’m not knocking anyone’s taste here. So I posted something on Facebook about how I don’t care for designer handbags. I wasn’t complaining about having to write about them (at least not publicly). I was merely stating my personal taste in a public social forum. Big mistake. I was fired shortly after that and was told that me “complaining” about my work on Facebook was unprofessional. Now that I work for Belk, I write about designer handbags almost daily, and I very much enjoy my job. Funny how that worked out.

Okay, I think I’m done ranting now. Here’s the list you’ve all been waiting for (in no particular order). How to use Facebook, and not lose your friends. Or your job, for that matter:

1. DON’T post dozens of links about the negative things that are going on in the world. We know our country is on the verge of becoming a military police state. But Facebook is all about showcasing your perfect life, not bringing everyone down with your videos and articles about the government. And when someone else posts something that you don’t agree with, be tactful when you comment. Getting into an argument with someone who doesn’t share your beliefs about certain politicians isn’t going to sway them toward your platform. No matter how ridiculous you think their opinions are, it’s best to let them fester in their ignorance. They’ll wake up one day.

2. DO stick to shallow topics. What you ate for breakfast. How horrible the traffic was on I-85 this morning. Links to youtube videos of your favorite musicians. How much you love your spouse or significant other and how thankful you are to have him or her by your side. (Okay, that last one’s not shallow, but you get the idea.) Hearts, rainbows, butterflies, smiley faces, pictures of your kids. No negativity or brutal honesty allowed, here.

3. DON’T criticize other people’s religious beliefs. Okay, okay you’re an athiest. We get it. Christians have ruined society and our last president claimed that Jesus was his biggest influence, yet he was pro-torture and supported spending massive amounts of money so that we could invade other countries and kill a bunch of people. The world is full of hypocrites. We don’t want to hear about why your beliefs (or lack thereof) are right and how the rest of us who believe in hope and grace are just naive little people.

4. DON’T try to be poetic when expressing how you feel. If you’re mad about something, just approach whoever made you mad and tell them in person. As the saying goes, “face your problems; don’t Facebook them.”

5. On that same note, DON’T assume that anyone else’s status is about you or directed at you. Just because you got in a tiff with someone and they happen to post something less-than-nice on their Facebook wall the next day, that doesn’t mean they were talking to you, or to anyone in particular for that matter. We all have multiple things going on in our lives at one time that influence our decisions and how we express ourselves. Making assumptions about the things people say in black and white on a computer screen will only make matters worse. If you don’t like what they said or feel it might be about you, then ask. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. My assumptions about other people have gotten me in trouble on several occasions. (As a side note, if you’re reading this post, and you think it’s directed at you, it is. It’s directed at me too. And my husband. And anyone who uses Facebook. We all make assumptions. It’s part of being human…)

That’s it for now, but I feel a part two coming on. Perhaps my readers can help me with that. What are your suggestions? How do you use Facebook to ensure that your friend count continues to go up, and not down? (Assuming that you even care…)

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