Put Facebook down!

Have you logged onto Facebook and felt a twinge of jealousy? Or what about feeling like a failure when your stream is full of everyone else’s good news? Does it feel the whole world feels like it’s doing much better than you?

Join the club.

Facebook is a constant reminder of what we should have, where we should be heading. Even the annoying suggested app is telling us what we should like. We can’t help but pitch ourselves against each other. It’s more personal because these are the people you know, you’ve grown up with, your peers. It’s tangible. This is real life – not a piece of aspirational telly about some stranger doing better than you.

I wrote about turning 30 a few weeks ago and how it’s put the pressure on to have all the adult trappings such as a house, marriage and kids. I think Rachel from Friends nails it on the head when she says: ‘Look, y’know I know my life’s going pretty well, but I look around and I just see so many people who’ve accomplished so many other goals by the time they’re thirty.’

Comparing ourselves to each other isn’t a new thing, but I think Facebook has added to the pressure. Here in the UK, 23% of us admit to checking Facebook five times or more every day. It’s hard not to judge yourself against everybody else when we’re constantly checking Facebook and seeing  what everyone else is doing. It’s even harder to avoid temptation now that our phones have become mini computers and we become an ever more connected society.

It’s easy to say ‘don’t log onto Facebook if it makes you feel that way’, but it’s a modern way to keep in touch. It’s easy and convenient – other than for work, are you more likely to email or Facebook your mates? My hunch is you’ll Facebook someone. You’ll probably get a faster response anyway. Why? Because it’s harder to ignore a message on Facebook than email, especially when they can see that you’ve read their message (thanks a lot Facebook ‘I’ve seen your message’ tick).

But we need to remember the feed is made up of news that your friends want to you know. Facebook serves to highlight someone’s life – it’s not all of their life. Like my mum says, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.

So the next time you’re tempted to compare yourself to the whole universe according to your Facebook world, ask yourself why you’re letting it make you feel like crap then go and do something nice for yourself.

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Email etiquette – how do you write yours?

The days of letter writing is dead. Email, however is much more modern. Facebook (from what I can gather) is trying to kill of the humble email, but considering 90 trillion – yes, I said trillion – emails was sent in 2010, I think Facebook may have a fight on their hands. That averaged to 247 billion messages being sent per day. No wonder we’ve got a short attention span with all those messages we’re trying to read. Despite these trillions of emails, we don’t have a correct way for salutations and sign-offs. A debate on Radio 4 got me thinking – why do we not have a standard email etiquette?

With letters, you know where you stand. If you don’t know the name of the person, you write:

Dear Sir/Madam

And end with Yours faithfully.

If you know the person’s name, you end the letter with Yours sincerely. If you’re on a computer or typewriter (remember those?), you must press return six times, then type your name and sign in the space.

Writing emails is somewhat of a minefield. If it’s someone you don’t know, do you use ‘dear’ or ‘hello’ or even ‘hey’? I tend to use ‘dear’ however a friend finds that old-fashioned. She tends to use ‘hello’, which I don’t like. After making the initial contact, I tend to use ‘hi xxx’ as a greeting. If you applied the rules of letter writing to an email, most people would think you were rather odd, old or haven’t got to grips with technology.

You open up an email and read:

Sarah,

Did you scan in that ad?

Jane.

What’s your reaction? Or:

Did you scan that ad?

Or

Hi Sarah,

Did you scan that ad?

I’m not a fan of using just a name as I find that blunt and shocks my system when I open it. My immediate thought is that I’ve done something wrong or I’ve annoyed them! But I do prefer that to not having my name at all. For me using ‘hi’ is has a much more friendlier tone to it. After you’ve established a conversation, then I think it’s alright to lose the name.

So, what about the sign-off? The Radio 4 debate mentioned bw to end an email. I’ve never come across that before. To me that could be band wagon, barn wars, better weather… but it means best wishes to those in the know. My favourites are kind regards, kindest regards, regards, many thanks or thanks. With certain people, I even use cheers, which got the panel a bit hot and bothered.

The correct salutations and sign-off seems to be a personal preference and the meaning that you attach to them. So the question is – how do you write yours?