Women make up 64 percent of Facebook’s more than 500 million members, half of whom are reported to log into their account daily. Although the majority of women on Facebook are said to be under 40, there is a fair representation of middle-aged-and-beyond female users who enjoy the site. Within this age group, there are those who feel the need to post, tag and pontificate regularly. The appeal for them is that there now exists a platform to express their dormant inner “adolescent girl.” Social networking to some women has become more of a pubescent pastime then it is even to the tweens.
To fully appreciate the Facebook phenomenon, you have to get a sense for its allure. The most attractive offering is that it gives members a platform for networking, reconnecting with their past, and feeling like they are a part of something larger. If social networking is used responsibly, all of the above are valid reasons for joining a virtual community. If Facebook is misused, it could bring out the darker side of one’s character and put friendships and marriages at risk. Here are some pointers for the female middle-aged group to consider before their next Facebook session:
- The fear of missing out (FOMO) as you scroll down your wall every day to see what is going on is way overblown. If you feel like you have a void in your life, fill it with real-world activities like work, charity and family. Do not fill your time with the petty nonsense of who is invited where and when. Sadly, it seems that this sort of drivel has become the majority of Facebook postings.
- If you are a working woman, most definitely post about your career accomplishments. Where else can you find such great free PR and networking opportunities? This is the kind of information truly worth sharing.
- As long as you are discerning about whom you pick as “friends”, posting pictures on your wall is okay. People love to see families growing and marriages, graduations and proms being celebrated.
- Vacation pics are fun and definitely give people ideas for their bucket lists. But be careful not to turn this happiness into a brag-book, spin-the-globe telethon — there is a fine line between enjoyment and overdoing it.
- Beautifying is rejuvenating and certainly a much more involved process as we get older. But seriously, there is no need to let everyone know your every appointment, whether it be for hair, nails or toes. Looking your best is the only message that you need to get across.
- Middle school and high school girls have learned to post less about their comings and goings. Why is this? Because experience has taught them that feelings get hurt no matter what group pictures are featured. Mature teenagers don’t want to deal with drama. Why is it, then, that their mothers don’t know any better? Ladies’ lunches, unless for a very significant occasion, don’t need regular postings of six to ten 50- and 60-somethings all huddled in a table shot for posterity’s sake (naturally equipped with the necessary tags).
- Curiosity not only kills the cat, but it can also kill a marriage. Yes, it is fun to put your ex-high school or college love in the search engine and see what he is up to, but one thing leads to another. Once you see him on Facebook and you have decided that his wife is not exactly on the catwalk, an innocent message can’t hurt, right? Next thing you know, you are messaging till midnight and then just meeting for a quick coffee. Do not friend or accept a friend request from an ex.
Entering middle age is a scary time for women, especially for those who never found a meaningful purpose outside the house to occupy their days as life moved on. Admittedly, it is a real dilemma as to how to fill these voids, but unfortunately too many times this emptiness is resolved in an unhealthy way. Too much time on Facebook is one of these examples. Although Facebook has many positive aspects when used appropriately, one thing is for sure — you cannot regain your youth or past loves no matter how hard you try.
The propped-up sense of popularity that Facebook gives should be for teenagers only. Ladies, if you fall into the category of those who put in way too much effort on the vacuous side of Facebook, close down your account now. Find a productive avenue for all of your energy and you will quickly see how much happier you are with yourself, as well as your significant relationships, be it in the role of wife, mother, friend or colleague.