An anonymous reader asked me several great questions related to social media, so I’m answering with an entire post!
1) How do you have time for social media? I have half the babies you do and I homeschool too, but I do not have time for social media. The answer to this one is simple, though it may not be what you expect. You make time for what you want to do. When I get online to check email, blog, or be online I have a series of tabs that automatically load. One is Facebook. I can quickly look at it and interact. Or I can ignore it. For some people Facebook becomes a time warp – they lose track of time wandering in it’s vortex. Reading blogs, cruising Pinterest, checking in on homeschool forums, doing family history work - everything online can be come a time-wasting vortex. Too much of anything is still too much.
I have to practice self-control with ANY online activity and so far that has translated well into time spent on Facebook. My goal is to keep it under 5 minutes each time. It helps that I don’t have a smart phone so I actually have to go sit at my computer or turn the internet on for the Kindle Fire to get to Facebook. These are measures I put in place on purpose, checkpoints where I can ask myself “Is there something else I should be doing right now?” Often the answer is yes and I go do that thing instead.
2) Have you always had social media? No, I’m a relative newcomer. Last year my daughter turned 12 and her youth leaders at church use a private Facebook group to communicate with parents and youth about weekly activities, lessons, assignments, and more. At the same time the women’s group at church began a private Facebook group to connect the sisters, share needs, and uplifting messages. I learned how to use my husband’s Facebook account to check the private groups regularly. I would also browse the recent items in his stream to see what our extended family was up to. We have extended family living in 8 other states and 2 other countries. It was really nice to be able to interact with these family members around what was going on in their life currently unlike by email where I had no clue what was happening unless they brought it up.
It did get annoying wading through the other people/company entries my husband ‘Liked’. He is a fan of technical and political sites while I would rather be a fan of homeschool sites. I had to make sure any time I commented that I mentioned it was me and not my husband. Still, it was doable.
Then I became an Independent Lilla Rose Consultant and I needed my own Facebook account. I am part of a group of consultants and we have a large private FB group to do online training. There is a lot of information passed through the group. I got my own FB account last November for this. It’s worked out better than I had hoped.
The only other social media I have is Instagram, which is new to me this month. I joined so Makayla could participate in the TinkerLab Tinkersketch challenge. Art is one of her passions and as a homeschooling mom I try to support that. This challenge encourages her to try new things, stretching her artistic wings in new directions on a daily basis. She wanted me to sketch with her, so I do. She likes to share her work and Instagram makes it easy to share. It will pop it over on Facebook for us too at the same time if we check that box. She loves seeing others’ work for the same prompt.
Wait, is Pinterest social media? I don’t think of it that way, I think of it as a visual way to organize information for homeschooling, gospel learning, and home. However you look at it, I am on Pinterest. Again, I didn’t join until after I had a FB account, so I’ve been on there about 5 months. My Pinterest time is usually the middle of the night holding a baby who should be sleeping. I search for whatever is currently on my mind for school and pin anything useful.
3) How do you justify your time on social media? I feel like it’s not benefial to our family, but you just tied it in to homeschool so maybe it is. I really lump all my online time together so I could turn the question around – how do YOU justify your time online visiting my blog and other places? How is it beneficial to your family? For me, Facebook has become a way to connect with family members across the miles on a regular, almost daily basis. When my cousin from Canada who lives in the states now announced her pregnancy I got to see the video. When my nephews competed in their first archery event I saw pictures as it was happening. My children’s grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and more see regular peeks into our life here in Ohio because of social media.
It has also been a real help during Mason’s hospitalizations, a fast way to keep everyone updated on how surgery and recovery are going. Blogging isn’t something I can do easily while at the hospital without a computer but posting updates to Facebook takes 30 seconds.
It gives me a quick way to keep current on homeschool blogs I enjoy (many have a FB page and will share their posts). It gives me notice on freebies for homeschooling too.
4) Is your husband on social media? Your oldest child? My husband has been on social media for years. He’s a tech lover and while we don’t always agree on how much technology becomes too much, he’s an amazing man who does his best to navigate the online waters just like the rest of us. My children do NOT have social media accounts. The minimum age requirement for Facebook is 13, which none of my children have reached. I know that doesn’t stop others from giving their child an account but we’ll stick with it. Makayla is content with email. She regularly emails friends from church, family, homeschool friends, and even reaches out to authors of books she’s loved (and has received responses!).
5) If so, what are your rules? for them and for you? Our social media rules are simple:
- Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t say in front of the bishop at church.
- Jason and I have full access to one another’s accounts. We are able and welcome to log in at any time to browse what’s there. This will be true for our children’s accounts as well.
6) Basically, what benefits do you see from social media? I can see the benefit from having a blog (a written record), but somehow I don’t understand the wisdom in social media (facebook especially). I think I’ve pretty much covered this in the other questions. Social media, specifically Facebook, is a quick way to reach out to family living far away, to share our life with them more regularly than I post on the blog, to be aware of their day to day life, to keep aware of youth activities, lessons, and assignments for church, to give updates when Mason is hospitalized, and to keep up with some homeschool favorites and freebies. It is also a major resource for my continuing training work as an Independent Lilla Rose Consultant. Speaking of which, have you visited my store lately?
To my anonymous questioner – thank you for asking all your questions! Asking questions is a great way to learn and see new possibilities outside our own experience.
To everyone else – do YOU have any questions for me? Leave a comment or use the Contact Me tab at the top of the page. You can also use the search bar to see if I’ve blogged about a topic before. I’ve been writing for more than 7 years and have blogged about a little bit of everything, from homeschooling to food allergies to large family parenting.