A few character traits saved me from falling prey to the trials of Facebook. The first being that I began late. I wasn't convinced it was a good thing. I only recently became responsible for my own posts, my social media relationships, and my online presence. (I hope these terms make you giggle as they do me because in the grand scheme, they matter only as much as we allow them to matter. I cannot fathom thinking of a post, or some untoward comment on my death bed.) I was privy to the problems my friends encountered with social media for years before I ever truly understood what it all meant or how it worked. The other saving grace is that I prefer one on one communication and cannot substitute the two, social media for that certain light in the eyes.
Here’s how I use the fan dangled fan page while preserving my sanity. Beware, this requires discipline, or in astrology speak, a whole lotta Saturn in healthy aspect.
1. I do not have FB notifications on my phone so I don’t receive anything when someone involves me or responds to a post. Actually, my phone is always silenced.
2. I don’t scroll. I “like” or ignore whichever five posts appear when I tune in, then I narcissistically visit the notifications that pertain directly to me. I respond to all private messages and I’m out. Before I knew about the private messages this guy said to me after a yoga class, “Did you get my message?” I asked him if he meant email and he said, “No, I pm’d you a few days ago.” I thought “pm” meant to “psychically message” and I told him, with a wink, to try harder next time. He walked away perplexed and years later I found that message. Usually I’m on FB no more than ten minutes, unless one of the top five posts is an interesting article I choose to read.
3. I try to stick with universal themes in my posts, as well as promote my recently published book—the real reason I began utilizing FB after so long.
4. Unless there’s heavy activity, I limit my frequency on FB to four-five quick check-ins per day, and definitely avoid it and all screens before sleep.
5. I rarely check on who “likes” my posts. This isn’t because I don’t care, well, actually, it is because I don’t care. I would rather sit across from you and hear how and why something moved you and FB lacks that intimacy for me so I’m not fed by it. I will however, respond to most comments, even if only to “like” them. I think it’s rare someone takes the time to expose more of what they’re thinking, especially if it is at all controversial, and I value that particular trait in us.
6. Even if I’d love to take nature photos, my phone stays in the car while hiking or in nature. Period.
7. If I find myself thinking, “Ooh, I should post this really clever thing,” I immediately put the phone away and possibly for the remainder of the day.
8. I refuse to take FB personally, but I will use it to witness my reactions/responses to other’s posts. Overall, I intend to send joy and warmth to whomever crosses my digital path, and generally speaking, my FB friends are kind, animal-loving, nature-preserving, creative thinkers, with the occasional stranger sending an upside down naked selfie.
I wanted to share this protocol because it works for me. It doesn't increase my appetite for pseudo interactions, or feed the accolade-starved ravenous beast, or uproot me from the aspects of life that I have deemed life-enhancing.
Here are a few other disciplines that enhance creativity and connection:
- Try a full day without a phone. It is so wonderful and I find crystalizes my intuition.
- Put your phone completely out of sight when meeting a friend, lover, family member.
- In public places, leave the phone in your bag/pocket and look around, enjoy your imagination.
- Choose one or two social media avenues and stick with those, rather than trying to cover them all, unless you prefer not to live your life.
Facebook is a tool, some say a necessary evil, some say a complete joy. But my Moon is in an Earth sign and for me, nothing compares to putting my hands in the dirt, laying beneath my favorite tree, touching a beloved’s face or hearing them laugh. Thank Goddess.