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Remember LiveJournal and AIM? Even though the latter two may be buried and forgotten, they were pretty cool in their heyday of the late 90’s. With new social media sites popping up every year, it’s even more difficult to keep your private life, well, private. Teens and adults alike are quite familiar with the buzz around the top social media networks like MySpace, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Seriously- who doesn’t have a Facebook profile? Even my grandmother does (never mind how she basically hasn’t a clue what she’s doing).

With all of the sites out there created with the intent to keep in touch with others, it’s pretty difficult to tell someone who you can’t reach them. They’ll probably tell you you’re full of bologna (or, more appropriately, s***). But is there really such a thing as being social media obsessed? Can you have too many social media sites with too much information on them? Or on the contrary, do the sites benefit you in some way? Read on to discover some tips and (friendly) advice, dear media connoisseurs.

1. Use Common Sense

Being vulnerable on a social media site is something you don’t necessarily want. Obviously, all of the aforementioned sites are those in which you put yourself out there in order to connect with others. You’re going to share your name and your interests, which is fine. What you don’t want to share is your address or phone number (this rule doesn’t apply to business owners who need to provide their customers with some sort of contact info and shopping cart platform).

Also, updating your status saying what you’re doing, where you’re going, or sharing where you’re currently at can be dangerous. For example, you put up a status like, “The fam and I are on our way to Myrtle Beach for the week!” Instant target. Don’t be surprised if your house is broken into while you’re gone, which brings us to our next point.

2. Don’t Know Them, Don’t Friend Them

Whether you want to increase your followers or friends or likes or whatever, accepting people you don’t know is just unwise. First of all, it could be spam. Second of all, you don’t know them! Why would you want some stranger eyeballing your life and all that you do? In the world of social media, don’t trust anyone. For all you know, John Doe could be some murderer hell-bent on targeting anyone who will accept his friend request. Keep your site private and you’ll run into a lot less problems.

3. Remember to Live

In this day and age, it’s a task to pry smart phones out of those who are a little too, hmm, familiar with social media sites. When you’re constantly checking your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and MySpace, you may want to consider toning it down a bit. While your life may be amazing and you want to share it with others, there is a life outside of your computer screen. Remember what trees are? And nature?

When your eyeballs are glued to your phone all day, you tend to forget that there’s a life actually going on around you. Don’t miss it just because Julie and Jill are having a heated debate over which Twilight character is better. Go live! You’ll be surprised at how much your brain begins to relax when it’s not cluttered with the spidery strands of social media 24/7.

4. Bottom Line

Okay, so enough with the lecturing (I’m not your mother, after all). Social media sites can actually prove very valuable in keeping in touch with friends, securing job opportunities, and sharing those gnarly pictures you took during your summer road trip (after you’ve already returned home of course). With so many sites at the world’s fingertips, it can be difficult not to become ensnared in the exciting world of it all. It sparks a connection in people and that’s all we really want anyway, right?

To be loved is a beautiful thing. Just be smart with the way you juggle your sites around and you’ll be golden. I’m not saying to totally abolish every form of communication via the internet; just learn how to manage your time spent on them- don’t obsess over them! Here’s an idea: have a conversation with your friend face-to-face, rather than through Facebook chat. Pretty radical right?

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Posted by Kristy Kravitsky

Kristy Kravitsky lives and works in Pennsylvania as a prolific writer and curious traveler.

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