“Just Facebook me, and we’ll figure it out from there…”

Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and every other type of social media is now looked upon as such an ingrained part of our lives that many people don’t know what they would do without it.   However, letting social media become too big a part of your life, or getting into the party in the wrong ways can lead to some very stressful situations that you’d much prefer to avoid.   Here’s a few tips to let social media work for you, while also still remaining enjoyable and not stressful!

1. Avoid political debates.

As you undoubtedly saw before, during, and after last week’s elections — political debate on social media can be incredibly heated and intense.  Everyone has different feelings on politics, and you will find yourself alienated to only friends who support your views if you are not careful.   Feel free to wade into the political pool on Facebook and Twitter, just remember — you probably aren’t changing anyone’s mind.

2. Avoid religious discussions.

I could have probably rolled this right into #1, but I feel this definitely deserves its own spot.  Obviously, everyone has their own beliefs and faiths, and this is another area where no matter how much you debate, you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind.   Honestly, religious debate and my being an atheist led to me closing down two different Facebook accounts, and now I fully abstain from discussing religion on social media or my blog, except to tell you here not to discuss it. 🙂

3. If your grandma wouldn’t like it, don’t post it.

I’ve treated social media for years as stress relief, and as a soapbox for me to proclaim my views and opinions to the world.  Anyone that knows me in a non-professional manner knows that “a mouth like a sailor” is doing me a huge compliment… but you need to remember at all times that when you post something on social media, it is there forever.  Rarely, you have a delete or edit function — but otherwise, your twelve curse rant at your ex-girlfriend, or your 140 character tweet about your evil boss are going to be lifetime examples of just how uncouth you can be… and you best believe it will come back to bite you on that big job interview, or when you are trying to secure a book deal, or something equally massive in your life.  I was horrible at this, and I’ve made a large effort to improve this on my new social media outlets.

4. Not everyone gets the joke…

You’ve just caught so-and-so in the best spot ever for a witty joke.  Instead of letting fire with your awesome joke, you should probably just keep it in your brain.  Sarcasm especially does not translate well on the internet… and especially if you are expecting to use the internet in any way to try to make money or reach people — you could wind up turning off a potential customer, but for the majority of us — a FRIEND.

Social media is a great tool and can be used for many great things.  It can also be used to cause a grievous amount of stress, harm, and pain.  Make sure you keep YOUR “Social Media Monster” in check…