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About the Author
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1 SHOW UP AND BE YOURSELF
Social media is about relationships, and relationships are formed by real people connecting with each other. That's social media.
It isn't about numbers, such as how many friends, fans, or followers you have. It's not about how many times a day you post. It's not about making sales or converting friends to leads. It's simply about being where you are, meeting people where they are, being who you are, and connecting with others who are themselves.
It's also not about being perfect. You don't have to pretend to be the perfect parent or spouse. You don't have to pretend you have the perfect job or kids. We all know that's a sham. Nothing and no one is perfect. The only thing you're perfect at is being you, and that's who people want to connect with online.
There is no right way to be on social media other than to be yourself. Now, that doesn't mean you have to reveal every part of yourself at every moment of every day ... but we'll save that for later.
If you have to be someone else, or if you're always there with an agenda, what's the point of being there at all?
People connect with you because you're you. So just be yourself. It really is that simple.
Action: Take a look at your social media channels. Look at your profiles, posts, words, images, and media. Where are you not being yourself? If you find examples, remove that content and make a commitment to yourself to move forward differently.
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Be authentic in your communication so people can see who you are at the core. It's who and what you are at the core that makes the difference.
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2 THINK BEFORE YOU POST
In social media (and everywhere else), sometimes it's easy to lose ourselves in the chatter and fast-paced reality that swirls around us. The world of social media moves quickly, and with friends posting information every minute and brands trying to sell to us everywhere we look, it's easy to become frustrated or overwhelmed with the abundance of information and communication that is thrown in front of us.
Instead of jumping in immediately and allowing yourself to get frustrated, take some time to connect with who you are before you engage in the social media conversation.
Many people have regretted what they've posted because they reacted in anger or frustration. Just as with face-to-face communication, once words are out there, they can't be taken back. In fact, on social media, they can spread like wildfire. Just because you delete them doesn't mean they haven't done damage.
So just as you consider the words you speak, consider the words you post. They have an impact that reaches much farther than you think.
Action: Before you post any content online, remind yourself to take ten seconds to read through what you are going to post. Say it out loud, and see how it feels. If it evokes any negative thoughts or emotions, don't post it.
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Just as you consider the words you speak before you say them, consider the words you post before you post them.
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3 LIKE IT
It sounds simple, right? One little action, one press of the button. It's an easy thing to do, and its reach is much greater than we likely imagine.
What does it really mean when we like something? Well, it means many different things to different people at different times. The only thing consistent is that it means something good.
It can mean any of the following:
I'm proud of you.
What a great picture.
I'm glad to share this with you.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
I'm here for you.
I support you.
I share in your pain.
I love this.
I love you.
... or so much more.
Think of what it means to you and how you feel when it happens for you. You've posted something special or shared a picture, and you get dozens of likes from your friends. It's not about how many there are, but rather the feeling of friendship and support that those likes convey.
Likes also bring us closer together somehow. In that moment, when you see the names of friends who have liked your post, it's as if they are there with you, sharing in your life, even from very far away.
When you consider it like that, something as simple as a like can actually create a very profound connection between people.
So when you scroll through your own newsfeed, consider what your likes might mean to your friends. When you want to make sure your friends know that you're there with them in the moment, like their posts. And remember: like it because you mean it.
Perhaps a like on Twitter doesn't do as much as it does on Facebook or Instagram. But those hearts sure are cute!
Action: As you scroll through your social feeds, don't just be an onlooker. If something holds meaning for you or if you want to be supportive, click that like button.
4 USE REACTIONS
Want to one-up your like? Show a greater range of emotion when you can. Although it may seem odd, those signs of emotion convey meaning and make a difference.
Facebook now makes it easy for us to select various reactions: love, sadness, laughter, surprise, and anger.
You should know that these reactions do not just convey meaning to those whose posts you're reacting to. Your reactions also tell Facebook how much you really like something, and this impacts how content is shown in your feeds.
So choose your reactions wisely.
Action: Be mindful that reactions will impact what you see in the future. If you really like something and want to see more of that type of content, give it some love, laughter, or wow. If you are actually reacting in anger, consider whether you really need to react at all or if you would be better served by stepping away.
5 STEP OFF THE LECTERN
Social media gives each of us a voice. However, if you're only listening to your own voice, after a while you'll be the only one.
People engage on social media because they want to connect with people. They want to share thoughts and ideas and keep in touch with friends. They want to foster relationships with people over distances and share meaningful experiences that show who they really are.
They want to do that with you.
If you don't actually want to engage with others-to have those conversations, like your friends' meaningful photos, enjoy the humorous videos, or post a supportive comment when they need one-then what are you really doing there?
Friendship goes two ways. So does social media.
Have conversations and enjoy the ones you have.
Action: Look at your social media feeds and notice how much you're posting, commenting, and engaging with others. If you're mostly just posting your own content, make a point to scroll through your friends' posts. See what they're up to and allow yourself to absorb the potential for using social media to lift up your friends and support them. Look for opportunities to engage with your friends and act.
* * *
It's not through posting or building contacts but through engaging in social media that the magic truly happens.
* * *
6 STEP AWAY
Sometimes only by stepping away from the world of social media can you do good.
Being authentic and real doesn't necessarily mean that you show everything that's going on inside you at every minute with everyone out there in social land.
Would you do that in the offline world? If you're angry at your boss, do you yell and scream at her in the office? If you're upset with your partner, do you post it on a bulletin board so the entire town can share in your momentary misery? Likely not, probably because you realize that it won't do you or anyone else involved any good by handling conflict in a public way. And, in fact, it could cause harm.
So why, then, would the results be any different if you post online?
The truth is that in that moment, if you turn to social media to vent frustration, you're likely not being true to yourself at all. And later, you'll regret it.
So remember: while it is always best to be yourself (online and off), sometimes you can only do that by turning the computer off.
Action: Check in with yourself before you post something online. If you are angry, especially toward someone else, do not post anything. If you are unsure, read your post out loud. If it does not give you a sense of peace, put your device down, and do not post something you may later regret.
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If you wouldn't want it on a billboard for the whole world to read, including your grandmother, then it doesn't belong on social media.
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7 BE SAFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Learning to protect yourself on social media and teaching your children to do the same is one of the very best things you can do for yourself if you are going to spend time online. And let's be honest, aren't we all?
Unfortunately, most adults have absolutely no idea what to do when it comes to protecting themselves. That also means that there are few people teaching young people what they need to know.
Every social media channel has ways in which you can increase your privacy on that network. This is true for some much more than others. The first step, then, is to educate yourself about how to keep your accounts as private as possible and to follow the necessary steps to maximize your privacy. Here are sites with tips to get you started:
Besides knowing how to protect yourself and your children on the platforms you use, here are some best practices to follow anytime you are online:
Turn your locations visibility off.
Create strong passwords.
Consider using a nickname when possible. This is especially important for young people.
Do not share your contact information publicly.
Never publicize your address.
Do not tag yourself or friends in photos. When you do, those photos of you then become discoverable when people search your name.
Never say when you (or family members) are and are not going to be home.
Keep your social accounts separated (not linked to each other).
Do not log into other apps using your social media accounts.
Delete your browsing history regularly.
Also, remember that you do not need to be friends with everyone who requests it. There are ways to report users who are violating your privacy.
By understanding the rules on the social networks we use and by taking the initiative to protect ourselves and our children, collectively, we make the world a safer place ... even online.
Action: Take every action you can, starting with the ones listed above, to keep your social accounts private and protect yourself online. Then teach your children to do the same.
8 ENGAGE WITH THE UNIVERSE
What if every day you could tap into the power of the universe to remind you what a beautiful human being you are? And what if every day you could share that message with the world through social media?
As it turns out, you can.
The Universe, otherwise known as Mike Dooley, sends out "Notes from the Universe" on a daily basis, along with other uplifting and inspiring content designed to raise our vibrations and bring happiness to the world. You can read these notes on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and you can also subscribe at Tut.com to have them emailed to you or download the app to have them delivered to your phone.
I've done all the above.
Reading and sharing the most recent "Note from the Universe" as part of my daily routine helps me stay positive about myself and all that I have to offer in life. Here some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom from The Universe:
"Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones."
"Can you imagine the joy, the peace, the complete sense of satisfaction? The harmony, the live, and stitches of laughter? Can you imagine the interest income?! Good, because nothing else shapes mountains, people, and bank accounts quite like imagination."
"As surely as the snow falls, the winds rage, and the rivers run, so are you, minute by minute, day by day, inevitably drawn to all your heart desires. Act on this."
"Reframe every thought, word, and action from the perspective of the person you've always dreamed you'd be, as if your life was already as you've always dreamed it would be."
"You want what you want because you know it's possible. If it wasn't, you wouldn't. This is powerful. Embrace it. For whatever else you believe or don't believe, this belief alone can take you the distance." (1)
Give yourself the gift of engaging with The Universe. Then share that gift with others.
Action: To lift yourself up on a daily basis, like and follow Mike Dooley-The Universe on social media, and subscribe to his daily "Notes from the Universe." You'll be forever grateful.
9 CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS
Every day we wake up is a day to celebrate life and what we are creating for ourselves. Birthdays, however, are the one day each year when everyone else gets to wake up and celebrate us, too.
Now, the advent of social media has made it possible for you to share that day with friends and family far and wide. I think we can all be honest in saying that this is a great feeling. Whether you see your birthday wishes on the day or you check the next day and find them, those wishes are affirmations that people around us care about us and are thinking about us on that day.
This can be a reconnection time. Maybe you haven't heard from certain friends in a long time, maybe a year even. But when you get that happy birthday wish, they're there with you, at least for a moment. In some ways, it's like a big party just for you.
Keep that in mind when your friends' birthdays come along. Remember how nice it feels to have someone post those two simple words: happy birthday.
Or you can give your wishes a twist. Social media abounds with humorous and sentimental birthday wishes that stray from the norm. In fact, Birthday Wishes Expert has compiled some of the more original birthday greetings, so you can copy them and post them on social media yourself.
For example, consider the following:
Happy Birthday! Thanks for always being older than me.
I love you, but don't push your luck. I know your real age. Happy Birthday!
Everyone is inscribing great birthday wishes on your wall today. I certainly can't be left out. Happy birthday, long life and prosperity.
Birthday Wishes Expert has a humorous collection of birthday memes, as well.
And some favorites from my own birthday wishes:
Happy birthday, gorgeous!
You are loved. You are missed. But most of all I hope you are blessed.
Wait, didn't you have a birthday last year?
Here's to a day filled with spectacular moments.
Dananananana, they say it's your birthday, so happy birthday!
My life would have gone in all different directions if I had not met you.
You're like sunshine and warm chocolate chip cookies right from the oven. Happiness.
Happy birthday to the awesomest person ever.
Wishing you a day as fabulous as you are.
Action: Take the extra few seconds and post happy birthday wishes to your online friends. It will warm your heart and theirs.
10 GIVE QUICK WARNINGS
Social media is one of the best places to warn your local friends about things that have happened in the moment that they need to know about ASAP.
For example, is there a big accident on the highway that has traffic backed up for hours? The first absolute rule is: don't post while you're driving. However, if you are the passenger, take a moment and let people know to avoid that route.
This can save your friends a lot of time and help cut down on traffic in the area.
Is there bad ice on a bridge or flooding on a low-lying road? Once you get through it safely and are off the road, tweet it or quickly post on Facebook ... wherever your friends are most likely to see it.
Is there a break-in or other crime that just occurred? Get yourself to a safe place and then make sure other people know so they can stay clear or take whatever precautions they need to in order to protect themselves.
In these instances, the purpose isn't to spread panic. So make sure to avoid sensationalism and just report the quick facts that will help your friends avoid dangerous or difficult situations in local areas.
Action: Know that people may view your social media posts sooner than they do announcements on traditional news networks. Be the newscaster when you need to be; just make sure you are safe first before you do so.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "101 Ways to Use Social Media to Do Good"
Copyright © 2018 Frances Leary.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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