Teaching Heart Mom

Just a Mom With a Teaching Heart. Find fun activities to do with your kiddos and students (infant to age 10). www.teachingheart.net blog

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Black Hole in My Life - FACEBOOK

Okay, my name is Colleen and I am somewhat addicted to Facebook... truthfully, it is the blackhole in my life. For those of you that do not know what Facebook is, it is a FREE way to connect with the people in your world. Facebook incorporates a news feed type system where you can see what’s new with your friends, for example if they posted some pictures last night, or made a clever remark on the Facebook page of a friend you have in common. Overall it’s an online social tool. One can use Facebook to catch up, to waste time, or to organize an event , reconnect with a long lost friend, and much more!!!

Being in my early 30s, I assumed I was out of the target range of the typical Facebook consumer, so I paid little attention to this social community. Then, one day, I received two invitations from friends in my age-group to become ‘friends’ with them on Facebook. So as not to be left behind, I thought I’d better check it out. No sooner had I signed up then old and new friends, ex-boyfriends, work colleagues and friends of friends started coming out of the webwork. I also found family members online. Many of which I now keep up with on Facebook.

The first month I joined, I did not pay too much attention to Facebook. I had a few friend requests, snooped on pages of some of my old friends, and wrote to a few long lost friends. My cousin Erin, who is one of those 20 something Facebook users who have like 300+ friends told me that the first thing she does online before ever checking her email was to look at Facebook. I just laughed and was glad that wasn't me... few months later some of my favorite friends joined Facebook and began posting pictures and updating their status. O-NO!!! Then, I was on Facebook once every AM before I even checked to see how many CDROM orders I got over the night. For years, Paypal was my first stop to see how much money I made while I was sleeping. Not anymore, for some reason I found myself checking Facebook first.

I am going to be honest here... at one time, I was checking Facebook up to five times a day. I had to put the stop to that as my work and housework were suffering greatly. So I made a rule with myself: Facebook three times a day and I set the timer for 20 minutes max for each log in. I log in once in the AM, once in the afternoon, and once at night. Sometimes, I may even skip the night log in. I have these rules because I have found that Facebook can become a BLACK HOLE (as my friend Jamie once put it) if you let it. You think you have been on there like 15 minutes commenting on people's status and pictures and then you find out it has been an hour. I was up to like 2am filling orders because at nap time I did nothing but social networking and social snooping that I was way behind on Teaching Heart file sending. THUS, I really stick to my rule. I have found working from home you need rules like this. I have the rule that I can not get online in the AM until my house is straight, the kids are dressed, and the dog is fed. At nap time I can be online once I have picked up and gotten dinner set-up to cook. I have a computer addiction problem and I have to set these rules! It just works for me and maybe it may help another facebook fanatic.

Really anyone can get hooked on Facebook. My husband is not at all into social networking. Still, without his knowledge, I set-up a page for my husband. He was not into it at all until he realized many of his old college buddies were online and he had the chance to reconnect with them. When he posted his first status I knew he was in! Although he has much better control than I. He logs in maybe once a week.

Some things I have learned that may be helpful to a first time Facebook user:

1.) Set your privacy so only your friends can see your page. When you set-up your page, it automatically sets it so anyone can see your page. You have to change this once you set-up your page. So many times I have viewed pages without being an authorized friend because the person who owned the page did not change their privacy setting. I could see pictures of their kids, their home, and other personal notes... Luckily I am a pretty good person. I can imagine there are some bad/sick people who would like that information for use that isn't of the best intention. So, click on the "privacy" link at the top right of screen and go through each category of settings. This will allow you to specify who is able to see your profile, what they are able to see when they arrive at your profile etc.

2.) Make sure you fill in the section that asks for your schools. That is how people find you. If you do not have your high school or college names in the school section then your classmates cannot search by school to find you.

3.) I read an article once that stated that all parents should learn how to navigate social networking sites. The article stated that in today's age, parents need to be up on what their kids are into. I agree, I will be so logging onto my kids facebook pages when the time comes.

4.) Your newsfeed publishes information on everything you are doing on Facebook. I’d turn most if not all of these off. At the very least turn off the Show times in my Mini-feed option — no one needs to know you spent all morning tweaking your profile.

5.) Choose your Facebook friends... if I get friend request from people whose names I don’t know and whose information doesn’t look familiar, I won’t add them.

6.) Another cousin once posted that she was home all alone over a weekend on her status... she has 300 friends and she is only 16. Ummm... sorry, not a good idea. One of those friends has to be a little physio. I told her that and she told me I was paranoid (still love her, but don't agree with her). Be careful what you post on your status - all your facebook friends can read it.

7.) Watch this YOUTUBE Facebook story!

Now go to http://www.facebook.com/ and get social networking!!!

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