In military life social media is key. We use it to communicate with our service member, our families and our battle buddies. We chat, tweet, snap, blog and post and we do it with style don’t we? For many of us social media is our go to for entertainment. As an army wife it’s the way I communicate with my soldier when he’s gone, and most importantly it keeps me up to date on all the happenings with distant family and in the military community. Facebook becomes my news feed and Instagram my pictorial story line. My military family is connected to social media through a variety of tablets, smartphones and other amazing gadgets and gizmo’s and social has fast become our families communication method of choice.
A short time ago I wondered if all this “connected-ness” was like the pet rock or streaking fads that plagued us in the 70’s & 80’s but when I look around every one is connected (Even my 70-year-old mother) and I don’t think that the obsession with social media is going anywhere.
Like my mom I think many of us have adopted the “If you can’t beat them join them” attitude but are worried that it will impact our lives too much. You see I believe that social media can be a great asset as long as you keep these 5 tips in mind!
Military Life: 5 Tips For Getting The Most From Social Media
Step away & Don’t forget that you need human face to face interaction
Military life can be filled with lonely nights and hours spent missing loved ones. We move often and work hard to Overcome The Distance from family and friends and using social media can feel like the only way to manage our relationships. But if there is one thing that I wish more people understood is that there is no text, post or snapchat that can replace a real life conversation.
As human beings we are meant to interact and be social and we need that face to face contact to be happy and healthy. So while I think social media ROCKs as a way to stay connected to people who are far away, I also think it has become a crutch and causes us to be lazy in the way we connect with those around us. If you want strong and healthy relationships as well as life long friendships PUT DOWN your device and phone a friend! Make plans for lunch, enjoy a chat over coffee and by all means silence your phone! I promise you your life will improve.
Use Social Media to educate, inspire and improve your life.
The amount of quality information available through social media is incredible. Within minutes you can get your hands on tips, how to and step by step guidelines to doing just about anything. I follow my favorite brands to keep up to date on new products, tips and content not to mention sales and giveaways. I engage in conversations on topics that I am passionate about, using social media as a way to keep abreast of the latest developments.
Social Media can be so much more than just a place to chat with friends, it can be an avenue to educate yourself on the topics and issues that are important to you. Take some time to organize groups in each of your platforms according to categories for easy access. For example on Twitter I have lists of my favorite bloggers, authors, social media strategists and small business guru’s they don’t get swallowed up in my feed and I can check in regularly for tweets that are of interest to me.
Add Contacts, Friends, Tweeps and Pals Strategically
In no other place is quality over quantity more important than on social media. Be choosy over who you accept as your friend. Remember in this day and age our lives are transparent, and if you don’t want Susie-Q knowing that you haven’t cooked for days you have 2 choices. One don’t share your kitchen habits or two don’t friend Susie-Q. Remember you are in control of who you allow into your online world, so choose wisely, keep it real and for goodness sake leave the drama and vagueness for someone else.
Choose 3 platforms and become engaged.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. If you take lots of pictures instagram and pinterest may be for you. If you are a chatter blogging, forums and facebook may be a better choice, and if you like bitsize bits of info Twitter may be your go to. In the case of social media more isn’t always better so choose something you like, is easy to incorporate in your life without taking it over and enjoy engaging with people who make you smile.
Understand that what you post, say and comment on is out there FOREVER!
Honestly I could write a whole blog post on this tip alone, but I need to remind you that with social media you are putting yourself out there for all the world to see. Know that while the reaction you get to that vague post may seem to come out of left field you in fact did put it out there. It’s not a private conversation between you and a friend so don’t expect others to keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves if they don’t agree with what you are saying.
People online can’t tell from your expressions or body language that you were being sarcastic or just joking around, and what you write online is taken literally. So take care in what you say and how you say it because it can’t be taken back once it’s out there.
Social media when used strategically and as a way to enhance your life can be a great tool. It’s created opportunities for military families to stay connected despite the distance and separations that occur as a result of serving during war-time. But please know that it isn’t a replacement for a meaningful talk with your spouse, a heart to heart with a friend or quality time with your children. Use it wisely and step away as much as you can.
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com