Social Media and Boundaries: My 3 Don'ts and 2 Do's of Facebook | The Speckled Goat: Social Media and Boundaries: My 3 Don'ts and 2 Do's of Facebook


Social Media and Boundaries: My 3 Don'ts and 2 Do's of Facebook

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The other night, as I settled into my flannel sheets (I may have a problem) and got ready for some much anticipated snoozin', I noticed that I was feeling... restless. And a little angry.

It wasn't a specific emotion, really... just a vague sense of tension and conflict and annoyance... and I was having trouble pinpointing it.

What was it that was irritating me?

And then I realized-- the comments section.


Just moments before, right before I'd put my phone on its charger for the night, I'd quickly swiped into Facebook and found myself embroiled in a political discussion, and the comments my relative had made were so far off base... and while I didn't reply, I just knew she was wrong and boy did it get my ire up.

It seems to me (and maybe I'm just especially sensitive to it right now, I don't know) that tension and conflict and anger are reigning supreme these days. It certainly seems that way on my social media feeds. And it's affecting me.

I think it's time to admit that it's affecting me.

And honestly? It's mostly my own fault.

When I got my smartphone, I said it wouldn't change anything really. My behaviors wouldn't change just because of this little device made of metal and glass and magic.

But- full disclosure- being in possession of a screen with access to unlimited resources and funny videos has definitely, 100% changed my habits.


Now, don't get me wrong here. My behavior is my behavior. My phone and laptop are not enemies or tricksters- they're tools. And the way that I use these tools is up to me. I'm responsible for this irritation, for the anxiety, for the lack of white space in my life when I can't put the dang thing down. It's all on me.

Since I'm late to this whole smartphone thing, you've probably read all this before-- but this is new territory for me. Something tells me that with all the election-based conflicts, the marches, the protests, the fake news flying everywhere... you could probably use a reminder, too.

Put limits on it. 

Set boundaries. 

Of course, your boundaries are going to be different than mine, and mine are going to be different than hers... we all have our own bandwidth, we all have our own responsibilities. But I thought that writing out my own boundaries would help A) to keep me accountable; and B) give someone else an idea or two.

Don't Spend More than 10 Minutes on Facebook at a Time

I check Facebook a lot. Just being honest. Between having a blog, a business page for work, and FB being the primary means of communication with the outside world while I'm at work and don't have any cell reception, I check often.

While checking is important for me, mindless scrolling for extended periods of time just shouldn't be. It takes just a minute to see if there are any messages on my pages and respond- I don't need to be on Facebook for more than 10 minutes to get the job done.

Don't Get News from Facebook

Here's the thing. News- in general- is not a social thing. I don't really need to know what the gal I had one class with in college thinks about the latest Trump update... I just don't. And in my experience, the majority of news-related articles on Facebook are either terribly biased, from unreliable sources, or are chock full of fear and click-bait-y titles.

Instead, I'm taking some time to get news from actual news sources, and ignoring newsy FB posts. And I'm using that little down triangle in the corner to hide newsy-type websites from my FB feed- since I am getting news elsewhere, I'm still informed.

Don't Click to View Comments on Controversial Articles

It just makes me mad.

Seriously. Yesterday I saw a post from PETA that I disagree with, and made the mistake of viewing the comments... most of which were farmer-bashing hate tirades. Given that all the farmers I know or have ever spoken to are wonderful people who take very good care of their animals, I got all riled up. Over comments. From strangers.

I don't have the mental or emotional capacity to be mad at people I don't even know, and it isn't a good way for me to foster the fruit of the Spirit in my heart and mind.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. That's what I'm going for. Not power, judgment, sharp-tongued-ness, or rightness.

Do Take the Conversation Off-Line

We can't (and shouldn't) avoid all conflicts. If someone I know and care about posts something that I disagree with or is outright false, I can say something... but not in a Facebook comment.

Send a message, or better- call them, or better- grab a cup of coffee with them to discuss it.

If the argument isn't worth arranging a coffee discussion or at least a phone call, then it's probably not worth getting upset about.

Do Remember Who You Are

It's easy to get caught up in things that define our identities.

Pro-life or pro-choice- Republican or Democrat- Minimalist Bullet Journaler or Bullet Journal Junkie- Coffee or Tea- Beach Body or Weight Watchers- WordPress or Blogger

But ultimately, my friend, who are you?

Where do you live?

As Christians, we are ones in whom Christ dwells, and we live in the unshakable Kingdom of God.
Related: Being Renewed Through Identity in Christ
My choice of president and my choice of breakfast meat do not determine who I am, and my opinion on this political matter or that one does not define my worth.

Staying grounded in the truth of who I really am keeps me from the need to shout that I'm right (because I am not my intelligence or knowledge) or that I'm important (because I am not my popularity) or that I stack up to the "competition" (because I am not the battles I win, and I am not the state of my kitchen, and I am not my reproductive capabilities, and I am not my crafty-ness).

Facebook is an awesome tool- keeps me in touch with far-flung friends and family, allows me to see videos of cute goats that my mom sends, helps me connect with my blog readers- but my mental, emotional, and physical health suffer when I don't put boundaries on it.

I'm hoping that enforcing these rules on myself will make a difference going forward.

What boundaries do you use with social media? I'd love to hear about it so I can steal your ideas, too. ;)

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  1. I love this reminder that "I am not my popularity." As bloggers, we can easily be tempted to think our pageviews, likes, shares and pins determine our worth. You are right. In Christ, we are so much more! Thank you for sharing your link at <a href=">Encouraging Word Wednesday</a>!

    1. Sorry about my messed up link! I was having trouble commenting for some reason and didn't realize it wasn't typed correctly.

  2. Great post, Ally! I think we do not truly understand how detrimental social media can be/is to our hearts and our relationships. It is a vacuum that sucks you in. One of the boundaries I have set for myself is that I only look at the FB timeline once a day. I do check for notifications more often than that, but scrolling through the timeline is only done once a day. So glad to have stopped in from Grace & Truth linkup!

  3. Such a great post and truly speaking to me! I am taking a VERY long break from Facebook. It makes me sad, but I am also being more intentional about building relationships away from all the one way FB conversations which makes me happy. Thank you for linking up with #writerwednesday at Becoming Press!

  4. I agree with the need for boundaries when it comes to social media and I love that you've given us some ideas on how to do this. I also love that you did it in such a sweet and non-judgemental way. What is right boundary line for each of us will look different- but we all need to be intentional about this our approach. Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week. I would love to feature this post tomorrow!

  5. Wonderful post on social media boundaries. I personally still don't have a smart phone and it makes it easier to navigate this tense time. I think you are spot on with this. If you have Christ in you that is all that really matters, all of this will fall away!

  6. On Facebook it is possible to keep someone on your friend list but not "follow" them simply by clicking the "Follow" button on their personal page so that it is off. I have done this with various people for various reasons, but most of it has to do with unnecessary contention and politics to date. They don't know that you aren't following them any more, except that they may notice if you used to click "like" or comment on some of their posts and you don't any more. But, there *are* limits, as my Gramma would have said. Boundaries. :-)

    Recently it has seemed to me that people's tolerance for profanity and vulgar expressions is going up. Have you noticed this? It seems to me that it has increased along with the level of frustration and angst surrounding U.S. politics and government. Anyway, I don't appreciate that kind of stuff and I may start "unfollowing" those whose "likes" and posts tend the most toward that.

    I have actually "unliked" a few people for allowing excessive vulgarity on their FB page that was too extreme for decency - these were professing Christians. And, I've left groups where the atmosphere or comments were too inappropriate or ugly. With a few exceptions, I agree with you - there is plenty in life to deal with already without wasting my emotions over the opinions of people I don't even know. The exceptions I would make is where someone I know may be involved with someone who is teaching heresy or bad teachings of some sort. I have entered into a few situations like that.

    One particular friend of mine was off line for awhile (I didn't know it at the time) when someone she knew started posting comments on one of her posts which I knew she would not agree with, but she didn't respond. I felt compelled to answer him and enter into a discussion because it related to Biblical truth which he was denying. She was very thankful when she came back and found I'd addressed the issue. So, sometimes we need to be aware when the Lord is telling us to cross some boundary we set, because He has some purpose in it that we may not see at the time. That young man committed suicide about a year or so later still in a state of unbelief as far as we know. I don't need to tell you that I was horrified, and also overwhelmed with the fact that God has compelled me to speak His word to him when I did. He was a friend of my friend's youth and it meant a lot to her that I had done that. I still overwhelms me to think of it! So, my thought is to set boundaries, but attentive to the leading of God's Spirit when He sends us across one of them.

    1. More than once I've responded to something on Facebook and then wished later that I hadn't, or didn't like the way that I had done so. :-( I've gone back and deleted a few comments, or edited them. That is another option on FB.

  7. Great post! I share so many sentiments about social media with you! Going to construct new boundaries and time limits!