I must confess that I do love mornings – now that I’m retired. I cherish the slow arousing of my mind as it shakes the remnants of sleep off its back.

I veg in muddied nothingness that fogs my thoughts until dawn burns through to clarity. I indulge in the luxury of laziness that continues to feel sinful, despite the number of days post retirement, when life became mine again.

Most of all, I love my cup of coffee…

 
 

I stumble to the machine, pop in the pod and watch the brown aromatic liquid drip slowly into my favorite cup. My mouth is watering as my brain screams impatiently for its fix. Seconds seem to pass like hours until, at last, the cup is full. Ahhhh…

I’m up. I’m ready. I’ve got my cup of joe. My sleepy eyes are open. My hair’s a mess, and I’m in my PJ’s. I’m sitting at the kitchen table, laptop in front of me, hubby across from me, dogs at my feet. I’m ready for coffee hour with my friends.

I open my laptop and go to my Facebook page and there they are – my friends are waiting. They range from people with whom I went to grade school, high school and college, to colleagues, co-workers, family and acquaintances.

They are spread over multiple states and inhabit different time zones with varying degrees of FB interaction. But they are there. In all of their varying degrees of friendship, posting and commenting away, around my breakfast table each morning. I love it.

If you envision Facebook, or other forms of social media, as a method of ‘keeping in touch,’ like I do, then the enjoyment you get far outweighs the negativity and frustration that sometimes come with it.

I know several people who got affected by that negativity. They protest. They block. They deactivate. They leave. They come back. I know. Because I’ve done it.

There are no official Facebook rules or a handbook designed for online etiquette, but I’ve made rules for myself that have helped curb my own frustration.

Also, I’ve figured out ways to keep it a positive part of my day, connecting me to people that I care about. These are just a few of the rules that have helped me stay happy about social media. I’ve made the good outweigh the bad.

Monitor Your Privacy Settings

Unless you want your photos to be public, make sure your settings reflect your intentions. The privacy factor is huge with me. I even privatize my friends list, limiting it to only myself who can view my list of friends. I routinely check in, because if an update occurs, it might affect your settings.

Organize Your Groups

Create groups for your posts and default to the one where you wish most of your posts to go to. I have created a group for close friends, one for close friends and family and a separate one for ‘all,’ which includes acquaintances.

If there is someone who never likes or comments on my posts, then I move them to the acquaintances group, and they don’t see my regular posts.

You may want to keep friends posts separate from family posts. Thus – the reason for the family category. Go through your friend list, occasionally, and make sure your posts are going to who you want them to go to. You can also customize at the time of the post.

Don’t Overdo It

I don’t use FB like a diary because I really don’t think any of my friends want to know what I’m doing or where I’m at, every part of the day. Don’t overuse FB or post excessively. When you post something that you really want your friends to see, it may get skimmed over unintentionally.

Accept Marketing Is a Big Component of Social Media

You can reach thousands of people through mass marketing. I get it. It’s smart. It makes business sense. But, if you have multiple friends selling the same products, it can get frustrating to scroll through the same ads daily.

It’s easy to ‘unfollow’ those friends and then go to their site, at will, to look for the personal photos or posts that matter to you.

Be Careful with Friend Requests

I don’t accept friendship or request it of people that I haven’t met in person. It’s just my own personal rule. If I am going to share my life, in words or photos, then I want to make sure that I know the people who will view my posts. I value and cherish the word ‘friend.’

Don’t Become an Addict

I give myself an hour on Facebook, and most of the time, it’s less than that. I don’t check it routinely during the day. I don’t look at it in the presence of others. I don’t grab my phone at a stop sign to see what’s new. I can’t say that I have never done that, but I’ve learned to limit myself to my socializing time.

Facebook, and any social media, can be time-consuming and time-wasting if not controlled. When my dog paws at my hands to put the phone down, it’s time to put the phone down. My time in the morning is my coffee hour with friends, and it’s a sweet way to start my day.

Don’t Play Games with Your Friends On Facebook

Don’t count how many ‘likes’ you get. Don’t brag or judge or use it for a political stage. Or try to make someone feel bad. Or post negative comments. That’s just not cool.

Be respectful of life circumstances and situations. You are friends with people for a reason. Be their friend. Saying nothing is better than saying something that can ruin a friendship.

I think of Facebook as a large gathering place, where we can sit, in the comfort of our homes, and share our lives in ways that we’ve never been able to before. It is truly amazing, isn’t it, that we can now reach across the country – and continents – and converse with friends, all at the same time?

Many of us moved away from home and friendships long ago, making it very difficult to keep in touch. Snail mail and expensive long distance calling were our only options for communicating. Friendships were cut off and many were lost. It was a very isolated and lonely time, personally for me.

Now, with the invention of Social Media, we have reconnected and affirmed our old friendships. We no longer have to say “Good-bye” to our co-workers when we leave or retire. We can see their faces, share our life stories and stay in touch every day, if we want.

I now can know, really know, what is going on in my friends’ lives, and we can share our experiences as much or as little as we want. Yes, sometimes it may be too much information, more than we really want to know, but Facebook may be their only method of sharing with someone. It might be their own lifeline to hold on to.

So, cherish your time with your friends. Use it wisely. Don’t let it consume or frustrate you. Set your limits and use your common sense. Envision all of their faces sitting around the morning table with you, sharing their stories, recipes and beautiful pictures in the fellowship that only good friendships can give.

We are meant to have friends sit at our table to bring us all joy. Take a sip of that early morning coffee, open your computer and invite them in.

What forms of Social Media do you use, and how much time do you spend daily online? What are your pet peeves regarding Facebook posts? What are your own rules for yourself? Please share in the comments below!

Kay ArthurKay Arthur lives in Arizona, both in Phoenix and in a cabin near Prescott where she loves to write. She has retired from many years in Healthcare Administration and now enjoys exploring her creative side. Kay has developed Moonflower Blooms, a blogging website dedicated to inspiring readers to live an authentic and joyfully simplistic life in search of their true “self”.

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