Social friendship quote“We refuse to turn off our computers, turn off our phone, log off Facebook, and just sit in silence, because in those moments we might actually have to face up to who we really are.”
? Jefferson Bethke

What impact has social media had on your friendships? A LOT is what we’d venture to guess. That’s why we’re stopping today to share some great girlfriend advice on how to keep the ‘social’ in ‘social media.

Thanks MARIE ROSSITER, today’s guest blogger, for reminding us that being social requires a two way conversation. Not always, but frequently. Besides, that’s what being a girlfriend is all about, isn’t it?

Have you become a social media stalker?

I’m not talking about the obsessive, creepy person who uses the computer to trace someone’s every thought and move. I mean a person who has become simply an online observer of life.

In other words: are you an antisocial member of the social media world?

It happens more than you would think.

Posts fly by, pictures flash before our eye, attention spans are short, and time is limited. I sometimes feel like I’m crammed in the middle of a virtual mob with no real direction or purpose. With millions of voices calling out in the social media world, it’s easy to lose your own in all the noise. After all, who would hear me? Who would care? So, why bother engaging?

It becomes easier to lurk and hide behind the computer screen and be an observer. It’s safer to click a “like” button, to just re-tweet a post, or to give someone’s picture a heart to show how much you value someone’s opinion or contribution.

The funny thing is: there’s no heart in that. Reading posts and sharing links are only the first steps in being social. We ask ourselves why we don’t feel connected to others in a place supposedly created to bring people together. Critics blast social media as the reason why people don’t or can’t talk to one another anymore. Maybe there’s some truth to that.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Relationships require action to remain strong and grow. It doesn’t matter if they are personal relationships or based online. Here are a few easy tips that can go a long way to not only keep you authentically engaged, but also to help your voice shine through!

1. Take a close look at your list of friends: We’re probably all little guilty of having an inflated friends and follower list. I have 287 Facebook friends and I admit that I either a) actually don’t know all these people or b) haven’t seen a vast majority of them in a long time and probably won’t in the future. Sure, it’s great to keep in touch with old friends and even lurk around celebrity pages. But maybe it’s time to go through your list and decide who you really want to engage with and who can be weeded out. Sounds harsh, but let’s be honest: those people’s posts are likely clogging your timeline anyway. Focus on the people that matter to you!

2. Move beyond “like” and “retweet”: Clicking “like” or re-tweeting a post is like simply blowing by someone and giving them a nod after they’ve shared something with you. It’s not very friendly, right? If you see a post shared by a friend, colleague, or even someone famous, take a moment to leave a brief comment. If a friend posts a picture that catches your eye, tell them why! If a colleague shares a success story, congratulate her! If a family member shares a stressful moment, tell them you’re thinking of them. It means so much more than just another thumbs up or RT. It doesn’t have to be a novel, just something sincere to show that you’re “listening” and interested.

3. Ask Questions: This takes #2 a step farther. Sometimes you’ll read something on a person’s page that makes you go “hmmm…” Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a conversation can you buy amitriptyline online going! Social media should be about conversations. All it takes is one or two questions from a commenter and you’re off. This is not only an effective way to communicate with personal connections, but businesses, as well. Have a question about a product? Companies invest a lot of money into their social media network and often respond quickly to comments, questions, and even complaints received through their Facebook page or Twitter feed.

4. Post with other people in mind: It’s easy to fall into the trap of social media as a dumping ground or online storage area to keep your family pictures, funny quotes, video links, and random gripes you have about the world. As you post, think about how it might connect with other people. Is it truly interesting or simply space-filler? There’s nothing wrong with sharing posts that entertain or interest you, but think about why you want to share it with everyone else. You want some sort of response, right? Good content encourages people to take that extra time to share their thoughts with you!

5. Share your voice: Yes, I know I said keep others in mind when you post in the previous tip, but don’t base your online presence solely on what you think others want to hear. You have valuable contributions to make to the world’s conversation! What you think and have to say matters! Your voice is no better or no worse than anyone else’s. Post your thoughts, your dreams, your views, and even your memories. Never feel that what you have to say is not worth anyone’s time or thought. If everyone thought that way, cyberspace would be empty!  Above all else, remain true to yourself and your voice. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You can only keep up appearances for so long. Your friends will know what you’re up to and those who don’t are still able to spot a phony. Don’t be afraid to share who you are with others. You’ll be amazed at how many others are likely afraid and welcome someone who’s honest in what and how they share on social media. You’ll not only build some possible new friendships, but strengthen the bonds with the ones you already have.

MARIE ROSSITER is a freelance writer and blogger who believes everyone has a story. Her passion is to find the perfect words to tell them. She is a mom of two girls (a teen and a tween–yikes!) and truly married her best friend. To connect with Marie, visit her at MarieRossiter.com or her personal blog “Mom Gets Real”. She is also a self-proclaimed tech-geek and Disney addict!

This week on Girlfriendology:

And THANKS Cincy Chic for featuring Girlfriendology!

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