I’d like to share some tips on using Facebook in a way that will help to minimize negative thoughts about our bodies or even our lives. It is only natural to compare someone’s life to our own when viewing other’s online profiles. The tips listed below share ways that we can use Facebook as a tool to communicate and connect with others rather than just tuning into other people’s lives without any form of communication.
1. Sign out of Facebook. Don’t allow for you computer or smartphone to automatically sign you into Facebook. This will make aimlessly scrolling through your news feed and friends’ timelines a little more difficult. Signing into FB every time you use it will let you think about how often you are scrolling through the site.
2. Delete friends. I know, when I have said this to others, they think it is harsh. The rule I stand by is that if you and your FB friend and I don’t communicate within a year, if they post things that you don’t agree with (for me: anything sexist, racist, etc.), or if their posts make you feel down about your life or leave you feeling negatively about your body, delete them. If you are not happy for you FB friend’s amazing new job, super cool vacation, or wicked new shoes, then it probably means they are not your friend.
3. Wait before you post. When posting something, wait a little while before you do. Review it, check your spelling, and make sure that it is how you want to be identified by. What you post reflects how people see you.
4. Remember that YOU craft your profile page. When choosing your profile picture, you pick and choose which photos you want to use. So do your FB friends. It may seem that someone goes to parties or on vacations all the time because of his or her profile page. But, he or she is consciously choosing to post certain images, status updates, and links that then allow others to get a sense of who he or she is. It is important to remember that everyone is able to craft their FB profile in whatever way they like through what they post to their profile.
5. Ask yourself why you want to post something. When posting on FB think about how certain groups in your friend list would react. Ask yourself if you would want everyone on your friend list to know about it.
6. Connect through other ways. Before posting on a friend’s timeline, ask yourself if there is a better way to communicate. Can you phone the person? Text? Email? Private message? Posting on a person’s wall can be impersonal and you might not know if he or she wants all of their FB friends to know the information that you posted to his or her profile.
7. When uploading photos, ask before you post. You might not like all of the photos that your friends post of you, and then you untag them, but you can still go crazy knowing that they are on your friend’s FB page. We can never love all of the photos taken of us, but knowing if they are on the Internet should be a person’s right. Out of respect for your friends ask them (in person, over the phone, through private message) if you can post your photos of them to your FB page. Your friends might begin to do the same when they have pictures of you.
8. Review FB privacy settings regularly. Take the time every once in a while to review your privacy settings so that you know which information is viewable to friends, friends of friends, and to all FB users. Facebook has updated their settings so that you can choose groups of people who can view certain posts. This new setting allows some privacy within your own space of FB friends.
9. Think before looking and reading. Before looking at a friends photo album or reading a post, ask yourself if that FB friend would share that information with you. For example, if a friend posts an album of his or her vacation down south, would they tell you all about it when you see him or her in person. Those friends are choosing to post information for all to see, but thinking in this way will let you connect with those that you are truly connected to.
10. Initiate the change. When something exciting happens to you, don’t post it as a status, but call your friends, send them a private message, or email them. When posting an album, change the privacy settings to allow only those friends in the photos view them. Although FB is a great way to connect and keep in contact with others, using it in a way that you connect only to those that are a part of your life (whether it is online or offline) will prevent negative feelings that you might have about your own profile.