Do you ever think about how your use of Facebook–or any social media, for that matter–reflects or doesn’t reflect your personal values? Social is personal, so shouldn’t we try to be our highest and best selves on these networks?
Doing what is most important requires articulating your values.
I’m reading Leo Babuta‘s book, The Power of Less. A key principle is learning to choose the essential, because we have become overwhelmed with too many choices about how to spend our time and we risk becoming ineffective and chronically frustrated. Because work was on my mind, I started to think about how we are constantly bombarded with social media messages and posts, and new sites and networks to try. It frequently feels like that old cable TV series, Short Attention Span Theater. We are literally being encouraged to become scatter-brained, if you ask me.
What’s the answer? Leo says, “You must ask yourself in everything you do, what is essential?” Then he gives a list of questions to help you determine the essential. The very first question is, “What are your values?” I really had to think about that.
After some reflection, I came up with this list of personal values to apply to Facebook.
- Respect for limited time and resources–This means not wasting my time on Facebook as a way of procrastinating about more important tasks. Truthfully, if I’m wasting my time, I’m probably wasting yours, too.
- Respectful and positive relationships–The truth is, I don’t always take the time to think before posting or reposting something that is disrespectful. (This is especially challenging in an election year.)
- Honesty–People want to connect with me, not some idealized version of me that I’ve created. I need to be genuine but balance that against the other values in this list.
- Reciprocity–A good rule of thumb is to make the content of your Facebook page only 30% about you and 70% about your community. I can adjust the numbers for a personal profile but still, it’s important to interact and share with others, not just constantly post about myself.
- Privacy and confidentiality–On Facebook, we all have to work hard to protect ourselves. We also have to remember not to reveal information about others that they would not want broadcast to the world.
- Skilled communication–This is a professional as well as personal goal. Yes, I am trying to reduce the number of typos I make in status posts; not being in a hurry would certainly help.
However, it does seem like a lot people are not being their best on Facebook.
Danny Brown recently published a series of facts about various social media sites, and this is what he found about Facebook:
1. 85% of women are annoyed by their friends.
2. Links about sex are shared 90% more than any other link.
3. More than 350 million users suffer from Facebook Addiction Syndrome.
4. 25% of users don’t bother with any kind of privacy control.
Danny got these statistics from the Economist, Social Times, and CNN.
What about you? What personal values do you apply to social media?
Photo credit: bluemoondream on flickr