Back-to-School Shopping for Kids — What’s the Deal?

back to school shopping

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Back-to-school shopping has always been an interesting concept. Retailers want to entice us to stock up on clothing and items our young will presumably “need” this fall.

Why this is a big event, I’m not sure.

It’s not like we can’t run out to Target or the mall at any time to buy whatever clothing our kids will need. Easier still, we can order online 24/7 from our kids’ favorite stores whenever we want.

Back in the 70s and 80s, my parents bought me a few clothing items and one pair of shoes each school year. It was very exciting to get something new. Sometimes we had to go to multiple stores as there weren’t the choices we enjoy today.

This was a big deal as times were all-around tougher than they are now. Those were the only new clothes we would be getting for A LONG TIME.

Nowadays though, the concept of “back-to-school shopping” is another way to create a need that may not exist. This seems like another manufactured holiday or event we are supposed to partake in.

And sometimes these touted back-to-school sales are anything but!

Back-to-school supplies

Our kids back-to-school supply lists are lengthy, and that’s a stress. Maybe that’s the meaning behind back-to-school shopping: Hunt for the exact glue sticks, markers, pencils on your kid’s supply list only.

(It’s disheartening to then simply toss them all in the classroom pool of supplies — we want credit for finding and buying the right ones!)

And perhaps you buy a new backpack or lunch bag.

But after that, I’m not sure what all the fuss and rush is about. We don’t need special First Day of School and Second Day of School Outfits. Whatever they’ve been wearing in June and July will be perfectly acceptable.

When back-to-school shopping makes sense

back-to-school shopping
Back-to-school shopping (Photo Credit: Rafael Sato)

Maybe your child wears a uniform to school. Maybe back-to-school sales are the best time to buy the certain pants and the nice shirts.

Otherwise, your kids can probably go on to school wearing what they’ve been wearing all summer and spring. If come fall their pants are too short, buy them a few pairs.

Depending on where you live, shopping for winter clothing seems to make more sense. This is especially true when kids are young and grow out of everything so fast.

Their winter items from the year before won’t fit them. But even still, this might mean a new coat and boots. But that isn’t typical back-to-school shopping.

Overbuying kids’ clothing

I know many moms who feel pressured to stock up on fall clothing. These same exhausted moms often tell me their child has 10 pairs of pants, four with tags still on them, unworn, come spring.

It’s too late to return them, and they won’t fit next year. Some lucky ones can pass them down to the next child, but others end up never being able to use them.

When my family lived in the midwest, and we had four different seasons, we did “need” a lot more clothing than when we’ve lived in more temperate climates.

It’s been a joy to not have dressers stuffed with clothing they will never wear. Do my kids each need five sweatshirts and jackets when one or two will do?

Use what you already have

Have you ever seen the Lost and Found table at your kids’ school? Most likely, it’s piled 3-5 items high, covering the entire table. In some areas, it’s cold in the morning and much warmer when school lets out, so it makes sense to see sweatshirts and winter coats there.

But when more and more pile up and no one picks them up, I’m left to wonder, “How many sweatshirts and coats do these kids have that their parents aren’t telling them to check the lost and found?!”

My kids each have two drawers of clothes. They have another half drawer of random clothes they wear less often. They have one nicer shirt hanging in the closest. It works for us. When my kids open their drawer and realize they are down to their last shirt, they can do their laundry in one load.

It’s taken years and hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars get to this point. For years, I donated bags of my kids’ clothing, much of it barely worn. Now we buy what we need, and aren’t enticed by back-to-school sales and manufactured demand.

Retailers creating shopping seasons

It just seems that everything is an occasion. We know how hyped up Valentine’s Day has become, with candy and treats instead of a simple card. Even St. Patrick’s Day has become a thing in some schools and homes. Did the leprechaun come and play tricks on your family? Did he leave some gold coins?

There are end-of-the-year bashes and themed parties throughout the year. Christmas has become something I start dreading in June, rather than looking forward to it in December.

Keeping up with friends

Our kids have more opportunities than ever, yet that comes at a cost, sometimes literally. I know a woman who let her daughter spend her own money on Ugg boots. She was five years old! What are we teaching our children when we seek out and pay more for brand name, trendy clothing?

Back-to-school shopping isn’t necessary

It’s hard enough to get back into the school routine. Summer just has a different feel than the school-year rush. Running to different stores to load up on back-to-school sales and buying school clothes just adds to the chaos of the school year. Can’t we keep it simple?

Do you spend a lot of money on clothes and items for back-to-school shopping? What are some things you buy every year?

And if you are going to be back-to-school shopping, be sure to learn the best tips for getting the best prices.

Taking a Break from Facebook — Your World Won’t End

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I did it! I somehow managed an entire week — yes, seven days! — without Facebook. Guess what? I survived!

Just a few days in, and I forgot about logging on entirely.

It’s so true: The longer you go without it, the easier it is to stay away from it. Many succeed at taking a break from Facebook and other social media for weeks or longer.

What does Facebreak mean

I actually thought there was a word for giving up Facebook.

Several times in my News Feed, I’ve seen Facebook friends declare they were taking a Facebreak. Because of seeing this so often, I thought Facebreak meant they were giving up Facebook for awhile.

But they — and I –were wrong. According to the Urban Dictionary, taking a Facebreak is when you take a break from what you are doing so that you can go ON Facebook. Ha!

So, what’s the word for when you are actually trying to, or succeeding at, taking a break from Facebook?

I consulted the hip Urban Dictionary once again, hoping to find a term for this. Searching there and other places online, there doesn’t seem to be a trendy word for this.

Taking a break from Facebook seems to be the phrase that you are simply “taking a break from Facebook.”

This behavior must be so uncommon and unnatural, there isn’t a word for it yet!

Consider the conditions before taking a break from Facebook

We love Facebook.

It’s a part of our lives and our routines. For sure, Facebook has become a habit.

Trying to take a break from it, even a for a little while, can be a challenge. If something major is going on in your life, you might find it calming to keep to your Facebook routine.

Maybe you are seeking online support or attention from your community of digital friends. Or perhaps something important or serious is going on in one of your Facebook friends’ lives.

Checking in with social media is a way to keep abreast of what’s happening without needing to make direct contact.

Taking a break from Facebook
Taking a break from Facebook (Photo credit: Tim Green)

A great time for me and several friends to give up Facebook is during our kids’ summer breaks and other school breaks.

Others find it convenient when they are taking their vacations from their jobs.

Others give it up for Lent.

It’s much easier to try to give up Facebook for a few days when you aren’t in the throes of having to see people each day, having small talk.

It works the best when you don’t have to be in the (social) know about anything, and won’t feel like you are missing out.

It’s refreshing, actually. There aren’t too many times to truly feel like you can get away from it all… and this can be a great start.

Facebook Notifications compel us to log on

Some people get emails (maybe even texts?) to update them on their Facebook activity.

I used to but I no longer do, and I’m glad. I’m not sure if I switched it at one point or what, but it’s a now a surprise when I log onto Facebook and see my Notifications and if I’m tagged in a Post.

This way my day-to-day decisions and life aren’t being affected by whether or not someone commented on one of my posts. I don’t feel compelled to constantly log onto Facebook.

On a Facebook break — the Facebreak?

You will find once you take a break from Facebook for a day or two, it gets much easier to keep off of it.

It’s when I do log on that I keep logging back into Facebook as a distraction or to follow along with a friend’s Post.

Now that I’ve made it through Day 7, it’s a breeze.

I want to keep going; however, there is a private Facebook group I’m in. We have a meeting coming up, and people are surely posting like mad about it. Therefore, my goal is to log on to catch up on my Facebook Notifications, RSVP for a Facebook invitation, and then log out.

This will ruin my No Facebook streak which is disappointing. It’s a 21st century problem.

Facebook friends announcing they are taking a break from Facebook

It’s actually fun to give up Facebook.

I’ve seen many people do it, usually with an announcement of sorts, so as not to appear rude for not Liking and Commenting on friends’ posts.

It’s polite and kind behavior. Recently, on Facebook, a close friend proclaimed he was taking a Facebreak for a week and wished everyone a Happy Facebook Birthday in advance.

Another friend went into greater detail.

She posted when she returned to Facebookland, explaining her 3-week Facebook hiatus, and wished everyone she missed a Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Get Well Soon, Congratulations, and Sorry for Your Loss. She wasn’t being crass or snarky.

This friend truly felt badly about missing people’s milestones and not being (virtually) there for them to share in their good and bad news.

A relative commented how he realized he’s been on Facebook for a third of his life. When he realized that, he wanted to create some distance from Facebook. It shocked many of his peers and others to discover they too have been on Facebook for over a decade of their lives.

During the height of the political posts, I had another friend declare he was signing off for good.

He was appalled at the political opinions people were posting. He found himself thinking differently about some very good friends. While much of this would never have come up in real, reach-out-and-touch-you-life, some people went pretty crazy on Facebook. He’d had enough.

He didn’t just put Facebook account on hold. He completely deactivated it.

Others slip quietly away

There have been other friends who have deactivated their accounts from time to time.

There are some friends who have announced doing this, and others who I find myself thinking, “Hey, I haven’t seen anything from So and So in awhile,” only to look them up to see they are inactive.

(A few unfortunate times, I’ve found some have unfriended me as well. Boo hoo.)

Taking a break from Facebook and social media

Remember, there are certain times in your life when it’s easier to take a break from social media than other times.

And remember, everything will still be waiting in Facebookland for you to peruse at your leisure, when you do return.

Whatever your reason may be, you might find yourself taking a break from Facebook.

You’ll probably find it very refreshing. While the siren song of Facebook looms, think of the things you can do with all of your free time! You may find you like being less connected and more present in your own life.

Or you may want go a few days without Facebook just to prove to yourself that you can.

It’s a nice way to reminisce what our lives were like before our 24/7 access to everyone and everything.

 

 

 

Thanks for Inviting Me but I Can’t Be Bothered to RSVP

Can't be bothered to RSVP

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Something that gets on my very last nerve is people who can’t be bothered to RSVP for an Evite party or event.

I mean really, how much easier can it be with these online invitations? I’ve only ever used evite.com so I can only speak about this particular company.

Online invitations are so convenient and easy to use for the host and the recipients.

There are always friends and acquaintances who will RSVP right away or within days of receiving the evite, and others whom you will never, ever hear from.

Here’s what I’m not sure if the recipients understand: The person who invited you can SEE you opened the online invitation.

The party thrower can see the EXACT DATE AND TIME you first or last opened it. Your potential host will CONTINUE to see updates every other time you open the invitation until you RSVP.

One would think this would be motivation to respond by increasing people’s guilt factor.

Yet, so many people do not RSVP. This a real thing.

For whatever reason, even though it’s easier than ever to RSVP, many people do not.

And what’s stranger is that many times these potential guests you aren’t hearing from continue to access the invitation.

Sure, maybe they need to check the date or the time the party is. Maybe they need to verify the location and the address again. Or maybe they want to check back to see who else the person invited and who RSVP’d yes and no so far.

For whatever reason, there are some people who keep checking back with invitations but never respond. It’s very odd behavior.

If you aren’t sure if you can attend, just give the courtesy of a Maybe.

Why people don’t RSVP

There are lots of theories on this. Each party, invitation, date and guest list are unique. So depending on the situation, it’s likely one of these reasons.

They don’t have parties themselves

Many people believe chronic no-RSVPers don’t have parties themselves.

They don’t realize that while not knowing about one or two people is fine, it’s when there are 4-5+, it starts to make a difference.

This is especially true for kids’ parties where you can only invite 10 or 15 kids to a place. Maybe your kid was lucky enough to make the list but if you can’t make it, the host would like to invite others.

Wondering if something better will come up

Sometimes guests are waiting to see if they will be invited to something better. This is especially true of an event for New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, July 4th, and other holiday-type parties.

Sometimes people throw it out there that they might have a party for a certain holiday but then never do.

In the meantime, you get an invitation somewhere else. You would rather go to that first event but you haven’t heard anything about it since.

You are hesitant to RSVP.

Because you are waiting it out, you procrastinate RSVP-ing, and then never do.

It’s the digital age

Perhaps it’s just a sign of our digital age.

While it’s super-easy to reach out to reply, we just never do it.

It’s akin to either responding to a text right away or never at all.

It would take just 10 seconds but for whatever reason, you saw the text and didn’t/couldn’t respond right then so you never do.

Playing mind games

Sometimes there are people with nothing better to do than to play mind games.

They may be feeling threatened or competitive with you in some way.

They can’t be bothered to acknowledge and thank you for your invitation.

This probably isn’t the case usually; it’s more that people get busy and forget.

But for some people, this may be true.

Be sure to consider the source before making assumptions.

Busy life

Everyone is busy. Yet there are certain times and certain families when they really just are super-busy. Or something is going on health-wise or something outside of thinking about your party.

It’s not personal. This post is more about people who don’t have an excuse!

It’s easy to RSVP

Yes, I’ve had people text, email, or tell me in person that they can or cannot attend, and that’s great.

They are letting me know. They RSVP’d.

I don’t need them to go back to the online invitation and say Yes or No that way.

I’m referring those other people, the repeat offenders, who can’t seem to take a second to let you know their plans.

Evite has reminders

You can set your evite to remind guests before your party. If you don’t set it, it will default to two days prior.

Hosts love this evite function because it reminds everyone of your party and also subtly reminds those who haven’t RSVP’d yet to do so.

Yet, it’s often the day of the party, and I still haven’t heard from these potential guests.

And thanks to awesome technology, I can see they haven’t forgotten about the party because when I’m logging onto my invitation to see how many people are expected to show, I see that some of these people have checked it again, just minutes earlier.

Yet, they still can’t reach out to say they are or are not able to make it.

Why?

Can't be bothered to RSVP
Can’t be bothered to RSVP (Photo credit: Gabia Party)

RSVPing in the past

When I think back to days before evite, punchbowl, smilebox, pingg, greenvelope, and other online invitations, I think of the hassle it was to RSVP.

Even now, while it’s so nice to get a paper invitation, there are lots of points between you receiving the invitation and you RSVPing, if you don’t RSVP right away.

First, you have to find that invitation.

You know you put it somewhere, and you are really hoping you didn’t miss the RSVP date and even the actual event itself.

At last, you found it!

Now you have to call the person to thank them for the invitation and to gladly accept or regretfully decline.

You had to exchange pleasantries and make small talk.

That took time out of your life.

Think back to the days with rotary phones. Think back to when we only had home phones.

Yet, we were able to handle this task.

These days, paper invitations are the exception, unless it’s for a more formal event, like a wedding, anniversary, baby shower, or religious ceremony.

We still get them occasionally for kids’ parties. The party host may have mailed them or gave them to the teacher to pass out in class.

RSVPing in the digital age of online invitations

The party host can go to a free online invitation site and quickly and easily create a nice-looking invitation.

Sure, this is more for birthday and holiday parties than weddings. So let’s stick with birthday parties, in particular, kids’ birthday parties.

I know moms are exhausted and busier than ever but it’s so much easier to RSVP nowadays.* In most instances, we can email or text our reply if we don’t want to click Yes or No right on evite or however the invitation came through.

My gosh! They have all this time to play around on Facebook, surely they can manage it.

Really, how hard is it to RSVP?

You took the time to open the invitation.

If you are someone who has a difficult time following through on tasks or are an out of sight, out of mind, kind of person, then it would make sense for you — right then and there — to click Yes or No or even that realistic Maybe.

We will try to make it. Stan has a soccer tournament, and if they win, we play on. But if they lose, we will be there!”

Maybe you have to check your schedule and aren’t sure if you can get Kimmy to the party, and you don’t want to intrude on the host by asking if they can drive your child home. Let the host know you are a “Maybe.”

If you are the kind of person who throws parties, then you probably know the importance of an RSVP.

This isn’t really a manners thing

I’m not a big follower of proper etiquette, though who didn’t love the Dear Abby and Ann Landers advice columns?

Still, RSVPing seems to be such a basic and easy thing to do, that I really am at a loss as to why I don’t always get a 100% response rate from my online invitations, assuming that person saw and opened it.

(In many instances, I have received a 100% response rate, so I guess I should be grateful.)

Really, it takes less than a minute to say No… we can’t make it… have fun.

What’s great about online invitations

From the host’s standpoint:

  • They are easy to use and usually free.
  • Unlike with paper invitations, the host will know the recipients received the invitation.
  • It’s simple to track RSVPs.

From the guests’ perspective:

  • It’s easy to view.
  • You can see who else is invited and who is coming. This is a fantastic feature!
  • The invitation resides in their email Inbox so it will be easy to find and access.
  • It’s simple to RSVP.

Can’t be bothered to RSVP

I just don’t get it, and I never will.

Someone has taken the time to invite you to a party. They want you or your family or your child there.

You had time to open the invitation. Take the extra 10 – 15 seconds to RSVP because the next time, you may be able to go, and it would be nice to be invited again.

Seriously, is it really that difficult to RSVP? We would love to hear your thoughts about RSVPing. Do you RSVP right away or wait it out? Is there ever a reason you purposefully don’t respond? 

*Please know, of course there are situations — everyone has them — and we just plain forget or run out of time. I’m not talking about the exceptions here.

Siren Song of Facebook ~ What Keeps Us Keep Coming Back

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My brother isn’t on Facebook. I’ve tried to sell him on it but then I retreat, thinking maybe he’s better off not even starting.

There have been months when I took a break from Facebook, never giving it much thought. I didn’t suffer withdrawal symptoms or feel as if I was missing out. Yet at other times in my life, I logged on 10+ times a day or more.

Why?

What is the lure of Facebook?

Siren song of Facebook

A few years back, some friends separately made offhanded comments about not wanting to give a Certain Someone the satisfaction of having seen their Facebook posts.

Two mentioned how they purposely didn’t give the person’s post a “Like.” Another acted like she hadn’t seen the post when this person mentioned it in conversation.

How interesting. I’ve done this too. Other people do this? I was shocked.

These friends of mine said this within weeks of each other, and they both talked about not wanting to acknowledge different people’s posts.

I started thinking about the siren song of Facebook and the social components that go along with it.

  • Why do we love Facebook so much?
  • What hooks us and keeps us coming back for more, often multiple times a day?
  • How did Facebook permeate into our lives so quickly?
  • Why is it a go-to when we have a few minutes to spare?
  • How did it become a habit?
  • Why do we give a Like to some people’s Posts but not others?
  • Why are we so addicted?!
Siren song of Facebook
Siren song of Facebook… (Photo credit: Philippe Put)

What’s so great about Facebook?

The big picture is that Facebook enables us to keep in touch with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Facebook lets us connect with people from our past. It offers us a chance to keep in touch with people we would like to know better.

It keeps us connected with our friends, neighbors, and family.

Facebook enables us to learn about people – read: spy on people — we aren’t Facebook friends with.

It gives us a glimpse into our friends’ and families’ lives we never had before.

It makes us feel connected wherever we are, regardless of what we are doing.

Facebook allows us to truly never have to say “goodbye” to anyone living ever again.  If someone is on Facebook, we have a means to access them 24/7.

Facebook is so convenient

This medium has worked its way into our daily lives and has become a habit for millions of people. It’s powerful and connects us in ways never before possible much less even thought of.

It’s so convenient too. We can access Facebook from our smartphones when we wake up and before going to bed. We can catch up on the latest “news” — real and social — and keep in touch whenever we want to. It’s awesome.

There’s new news whenever you log on Facebook

You just never know what you will see when you log on, which is part of the allure.

I liken it to shopping at a garage sale. It’s never the same twice, and you will never know what you will find (out).

Lately, I’ve been popping onto Facebook just to check my Notifications and Messages.

After that, so I don’t get too sucked in, I go to my News Feed and only view the first 10 Posts.

I can keep up with friends, hit Like a few times, and curtail my time on Facebook so that I don’t use (waste) more time than I intend to. After doing it just a few times — not a very scientific study — Posts will most often fall into these basic categories:

  • Accomplishment or attention-seeking news: new job, straight As, home run, broken arm, etc.
  • Celebration
  • Travel
  • Observation or witty remark
  • Repost of an article or quote: inspirational, health, mom blog, etc.
  • Photo: sunset, ocean, dog, etc.
  • Food or recipe
  • Politics – Ugh! In years past, this was a non-issue. However, lately, posting political arguments on Facebook is more common.

Try it a few times. You will see the trend too. This really proved to the be case when I logged into Facebook on National Dog Day!

Facebook links us to a community

What does Facebook do for us?

Facebook gives us a chance to seek opinions, to ask for support, to gain attention, to show off, to keep in touch, to share our news.

In so very many ways, Facebook is great. I learned about Elf on the Shelf from Facebook. I learned about two great pumpkin patches to take my kids to. I’ve seen cool recipes (not that I tried any but they look good); holiday crafty things; and restaurants to try.

I get book recommendations from moms who I believe enjoy what I enjoy.

It’s exciting to see where friends’ kids are going to college. I join in the conversations about some of my favorite television shows and favorite sports teams.

It’s great being able to connect in this way.

Facebook helps us to know people better

I can see my talented friends and their bakery-worthy cookies, cakes and desserts.

Now I know I have four friends who make amazing cakes and themed cookies, and how Alison, who works full time and has three kids at three different schools, has the desire and talent to craft incredible themed birthday cakes for her children.

I press Like and go about my day, feeling a bit jealous and wondering what the heck I do with all of my time. But it’s all good.

I learn what people are eating for dinner – either cooking it themselves or maybe their significant other made it (Like, Like). Maybe they are out a cool restaurant that I may now consider going to. It’s all easy-going, lighthearted fun.

Press Like if you want to, and go on your merry way raiding your refrigerator thinking about all that great food. It really doesn’t matter either way.

Logging onto Facebook, I see that Sarah is on vacation in Belize, and it makes me motivated to start thinking about where my next trip will be. I am not jealous. I am not competitive. It makes me happy to see people healthy and employed enough to be going on vacation.

Who doesn’t love to see Santa photos, births, vacations, first day of school pictures, and witty comments?

I learned my one friend wrote a series of books, and that the first one was being released. (Yes, I bought it.) I learned another was having her third child and then fourth and then fifth. (How she has time for Facebook, I have no idea.) There’s another who always makes a great to-do about her family’s holiday card. I love staying tuned to see what the theme is and what her family dresses as each year.

Even more fun, I get to learn a little bit more about my kids’ teachers.

Facebook is free, innocent, harmless fun

The opportunities for entertainment are endless. Someone is always posting something you haven’t seen.

Feeling bored?  Log on Facebook.

Procrastinating?  Log on Facebook.

Waking up and too tired to get out of bed and face the day?  Log on Facebook.

Have seven minutes waiting in the car pickup line at school?  Log on Facebook.

Sitting at your child’s dance or karate practice?  Log on Facebook.

It’s fun to see what everyone is doing that day or what they are getting ready to do or where they’ve been. It becomes an escape from our everyday lives.

Exhausted moms love to veg out on Facebook. Facebook asks nothing of us and gives us plenty in return.

Gives us the attaboys we crave

Feeling down, bored, or even happy?

You can get instant attaboys and attention from posting something on your Facebook wall. Whether you have hundred of Facebook friends or just a few, chances are you will get a good percentage of Likes and Comments to any post you make. It’s a great way to get some attention.

Is “Multitasking” your middle name?

What’s also interesting is that being on Facebook really plays into people’s multitasking tendencies. I often purposefully log onto Facebook to look something up but become sidetracked by something else and soon I’ve ADHD-ed my way over many Posts in my News Feed only to eventually surface realizing I never looked up what I came to look up.

Has this ever happened to you?

(I really do feel like I’m “resurfacing” when I’m in Facebookland after awhile. I wonder if this is how my children feel after they break away from their iPad games and YouTube videos?)

Facebook gives us something to talk about

Facebook has come to my rescue so many times.

Do you find you have some Facebook friends you see in real life — real, actual, reach-out-and-touch-you life, not social media life — and you can talk about a thousand different things with them? Then there are others that when you see them that you can’t really think of anything to say?

It’s Facebook to the rescue!

Immediately I can call to mind something I scrolled past about their child or their vacation or their pregnancy or their birthday or something. Countless times, Facebook has helped alleviate some otherwise awkward encounters. It has given us a starting point.

Facebook offers drama

Sometimes, I will see cliffhanger posts or the occasional family argument or political posts.

The beauty of Facebook is that you can remain friends with these people but click to not see their Posts in your News Feed. It’s a great feature because they become essentially free from your life. It’s fantastic! If you ever want to see what they are up to, just search their name, and see their recent Posts. You can even click Like on one of them if you are so inclined.

You are still Facebook friends, and they will be none the wiser that you aren’t seeing their every Post.

[I have only taken the extreme measure of Unfriending Facebook friends three times. ]

Real news, not Facebook friend news

What’s so great about Facebook is learning actual news, not my Facebook friend news.

I’ve learned more about current events, international news, weather stories, and trending events than I do from actually watching the news on television.

I also learn lots about celebrities that I don’t know or care about. Isn’t it hard enough keeping up and keeping in touch with my actual friends’ and family happenings without concerning myself with people I have zero relationship with?

However, I’m now aware of notable breakups and hookups, illnesses, charity work, accidents, deaths, and interesting baby names. And I didn’t have to buy a magazine to catch up!

Facebook friend news

There isn’t a conceivable way to keep up with hundreds of people on your own. What’s great about Facebook is that everyone can easily share their news about engagements, weddings, adoptions, pregnancies, births, birthdays, graduations, moves, new jobs, and reunions. While sad, it’s also a wonderful place to learn of people’s illnesses and deaths. There is so little we can do to help people sometimes, especially since we often live far away. What a blessing it is to be able to ask for help or to offer your support, your positive vibes or prayers, your memories, and your condolences.

We also love Facebook birthdays. It’s super-easy to reach out to your Facebook community of friends and wish them a Happy Birthday on their special day.

Facebook has easy, basic rules

Your role as a Facebook user is to be a good citizen. You are in a community, after all.

But after that, there’s no obligation. Sure, there are some simple etiquette rules. Basically, be respectful of others, and treat others the way you would like to be treated. These are things we all should have learned long ago and so things usually go along fine.

After that, you have the choice to Like or Comment or not. Usually, no one knows or cares. Luckily there isn’t a way to know who has seen your Posts unless you are in a Facebook Group.

It’s easy to set up a Facebook group

Are you in a club or in a group? Set up a members-only Facebook group and invite everyone in it to confidentially post information, discuss and interact.

You can set your Facebook account so that you are Notified whenever someone posts to the group. A cool feature is that you can see who has seen that post which keeps everyone accountable.

An example of this is a Book Club Facebook group I’m in. It’s hard to say I didn’t know about a location change when it shows plain as day that I scrolled past the post about it. (It doesn’t mean I read it, only that I was aware of it and presumably did read it. It is up to me to go back and read it because it would appear to the group that I saw it.)

Find blasts from the past on Facebook

Then there’s the dicey-er stuff.

There are the former boyfriends (and girlfriends). Who doesn’t love that chance to see someone from our past? Is he married and to whom? Where does he live and what does he do for a living? It will make you glad you aren’t with that person or perhaps might make you wish you were. At the very least, you might take a few minutes to think how your life may have turned out very differently.

Facebook takes us back to a time and place when we had different responsibilities. It allows us to go back and reflect. It’s an escape.

Cyber sleuthing on Facebook

Then there’s looking up people on Facebook you aren’t friends with just to learn more about them. Hey, people are doing it all the time! It has helped me connect the dots on “who is who” given my recent move. I can only ask someone his/her name so many times before I look either clueless or rude. Now, when I can’t remember who is who, I can see his/her face on Facebook plain as day.

It’s a great tool to see who knows who (Mutual Friends), where people grew up and went to school, if they have kids, etc.

Facebook is the drug of choice… the siren song of Facebook

It’s really no longer a question of what makes Facebook so great. We are hooked! People now wonder how to spend less time on Facebook. And what is the best way to still be on it but to limit time on Facebook? Still others are giving up Facebook for weeks.

Facebook is great for so many reasons! It’s no wonder billions of people love Facebook.

Bewitched: Why We Love Facebook So Much

Why we love Facebook

Last Updated on

Oh, the lure of Facebook. Just think of the friend requests when you see that icon activated. It’s like getting a present: Who wants to be my Facebook friend?

When I first joined Facebook, a former co-worker posted to my wall. She jokingly warned me what a big “time suck” Facebook was. This was back in 2008 before it even was a big time suck, compared to nowadays with ever-increasing interacting between its billions of users and trending news stories.

Facebook has exploded. And now, years later, boom! We are addicted to and love Facebook.

Facebook before it became a habit

Initially, Facebook wasn’t all-consuming and addicting. Most users probably checked into Facebook once every few days. They browsed around and enjoyed the friend requests as long-lost friends joined and started looking for their long-lost friends. I maybe spent two hours a month on Facebook, if that.

Facebook wasn’t top of mind; it wasn’t a priority. And for sure, it wasn’t a habit.

There were entire months when I didn’t log on Facebook at all. So many of my friends still weren’t on it, and if they were Facebook members, they were using it sporadically, like me.

But as the years went by, it sort of reached a tipping point for me and millions of others. And now, Facebook has become a multiple-times-a-day habit. It’s so powerful, people even describe it as Facecrack.

Why? How did we all get so addicted to Facebook? Why do we love Facebook so much?

Why we love Facebook
Why we love Facebook (Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar)

Of course we love Facebook

Think of all the Likes you get after posting something.

Don’t you love to see all the Comments to your posts? Don’t you just love all that attention?

It’s like an online popularity-making machine.

The more you put out there, the more affirmation you will get back.

So you post and post and post. You comment and comment. And you like and you like.

And you are really hoping to get likes and comments back, aren’t you?

All of that positive affirmation is very addicting. Really, how much positive feedback do we generally get in our daily lives?

Not enough! We’re exhausted… overworked and stressed out.

We work hard each day to feed our kids, get them to school, get ourselves to work, help with homework, run kids to activities, volunteer, clean the house, go grocery shopping, and on and on. These are thankless tasks. And if we aren’t working a “job” job, we don’t get a check.

There’s really nothing tangible to show for our hard work.

We aren’t getting the accolades we crave to keep us going. Yet, we can get practically instant attention and kudos from Facebook.

As if that isn’t addicting enough, Facebook offers lots more than attaboys. There’s just so much to do in Facebookland.

We can sit in the comfort of wherever we are and can chat with anyone we want. We can vent, seek advice, show off. It’s easy to post perfect pictures and craft witty remarks.

We can create whatever image of ourselves and our families we want to. For all of us long-time-married people, it’s like dating used to be: We can be our best selves.

Facebook is like today’s video games

Like so many video games today, Facebook is infinite. Remember the video games we grew up with? We had only three lives in PAC-MAN. You would eventually be destroyed in Space Invaders. Those cars in Frogger would smash us. The games ended.

So many of the video games today go on and on. Building, crafting, mining, creating. I’m not sure what my kids are doing in some of those games but they’re completely captivated and engrossed. It’s like that with Facebook too. Sometimes we are in it and realize many (many) minutes later that we’ve somehow been lost in memories or in conversations. We were in a daze, a Facebook fog.

Facebook as an escape

Without productive things to focus on, what once became tempting now has become a habit. Many of us want to learn to break the Facebook habit and spend less time lost in cyberspace.

But for all the escapism it provides, Facebook is really quite practical as well. Thus, the conundrum.

Using Facebook as a resource

There are so many fantastic reasons to use Facebook.

It’s just so darned convenient. Type a few sentences and click Post, and hundreds of friends and family members can see what we are up to. It’s like a monthly, weekly or daily holiday card. You don’t have to wait until December to update everyone and get everyone’s updates via USPS. Now, you can see them online, 24/7.

Facebook birthdays are awesome as well. We can reach out to all of our Facebook friends, and they can reach out to us on our big day. Who doesn’t love that? Many people use Facebook to invite people to real-life and virtual parties.

How Facebook helps us

It’s human nature to want to connect with people, and Facebook makes it super-convenient, easy, free, and fast. Of course we are lured into the siren song of Facebook! It’s great for:

Keeping in touch with family and friends

Facebook is a brilliant, time-saving resource. There just isn’t an easier, faster or better way to keep in touch with hundreds of friends and family members.

Securing new friendships

Facebook helps secure friendships with new people. It is an easy way to stay in touch with fellow moms, church members, co-workers, classmates, teammates, and neighbors.

Learn “who is who” when moving or changing jobs, schools, etc.

Whether you move to a new state or across town, and even when your kids start school, Facebook again comes to the rescue to help connect the dots with people and learn who is who.

Knowing what is going on with friends you see all the time

Do you feel like you are missing out on all the excitement if you don’t log on Facebook every day? What are all the moms talking about? What’s going on at school? What did you miss?!

Getting back in touch with long-lost friends

Oh, the joy of finding a former neighbor or beloved ex-coworker. My favorite is when I come across an elementary-school playmate. For those of us who have been adults for decades, that means we can reconnect with classmates from 30+ years ago. Simply type a name, click, and scroll. Most likely you can easily see where this person lives, if they are married and/or have kids, and what they look like. Who is the adult version of the child you once knew? How great to become Facebook friends and reconnect. You don’t even need to send holiday cards when you can see them on Facebook.

Showing off your accomplishments and your kids’ activities

Who doesn’t love to brag and boast a bit about themselves or their family?

Tagging

Who doesn’t love being included on Facebook in one of these posts where lots of people are tagged?

More Facebook resources we love

Facebook is very practical and time-saving as well. Sure, we can use a massive email to include everyone in our group, team, or committee. But when you are making decisions and need feedback, setting up a Facebook group is so much better.

Using Facebook for group communication

Maybe you’re in a Facebook group right now. I’m in several: Volunteer committee at church; scouts; high school reunion; and a few others.

Once you’ve seen the power and convenience of setting up a Facebook group, you will never return to back-and-forth emails.

So often I have to break my Facebook hiatus because I feel the pressure of missing some important information that people share in my Facebook groups.

One of the best things about Facebook groups is that you can actually see who has seen the post and who hasn’t seen it. It’s a great way to ensure everyone has the information they need.

Using Facebook for group support

Are you looking for support in some way? Do you want to be (virtually) around people who understand?

You can start or join an exercise or weight loss Facebook group or one for moms with twins. There’s most likely one for most things you may want to discuss with others who share your interests.

Even more Facebook resources

Facebook is a brilliant resource for businesses. It’s inexpensive, timely, and easy to reach your exact demographic.

What business doesn’t long for positive viral press? Marketers work to increase Facebook traffic through Likes, Followers and Comments.

It’s a real tool, and a company without a Facebook presence is sorely missing out.

Using Facebook for business  

Even when I try so hard to stay off Facebook, it’s even more difficult because of relying on it for my business.

I can now legitimately use the excuse of needing to go onto Facebook to update my business page, comment on customers’ comments, and to post new information.

It’s inexpensive to run Facebook ads. It has become a real goal to brand-build through Likes and Followers. Nowadays, it’s practically necessary to be on Facebook if you have a business.

And so the Facebook addiction continues….

What else can Facebook help with?

More and more, people are getting their news solely from Facebook. It’s easy to learn about places to go, recipes to try, what to watch on television, what to read, and what’s happening in our world.

Of course we love Facebook… it’s our go-to online for everything we need and want.

  • Using Facebook for news It’s easy to be on Facebook and see the trending stories. The bait could list a place or a famous person. We are tempted to click to see what is happening.
  • Using Facebook for politics – Enough already! Most of us are over the political posts but there are those who continue to enjoy posting. It’s interesting to learn more about your Facebook friends’ viewpoints but you have to be careful to not engage in harmful debates or get too annoyed with people’s comments.
  • Using Facebook for discounts  In addition to the advertisements that Facebook puts in front of us, our friends often talk about a great sale or deal they got. Here you can learn about back-to-school shopping deals and more.

It’s a true test of willpower when trying to log onto Facebook with the sole purpose of checking on something or to post something. And we’re not alone in our quest to manage our Facebook time. Truly, we are addicted to Facebook.

Bewitched by Facebook

We can rest assured we are not alone. It is mind-boggling to comprehend but Facebook now has over one billion active users. It is easy to become lured, spellbound and bewitched by Facebook. It’s a real-time, virtual yearbook about practically anyone you’ve ever met!

Add in the convenience of keeping up with family and friends, using Facebook for groups and for business, how can it not be addicting? It’s difficult not to love Facebook.

Why we love Facebook

These are interesting times now that Facebook has become a habit.

Everyone is able to create whatever image they want of themselves 24/7. It’s permeated our society so much that we may feel closer to our (virtual) Facebook friends than to our (real-life) friends we see much more often.

Whether you love Facebook or not, you have to admit, it’s convenient. You can easily blast out your latest and greatest while keeping in contact with almost every person you’ve ever known.

Perhaps you’re bored… log onto Facebook! Maybe you’re wanting a little attention… post something on Facebook. Even better, write a cliffhanger posts so everyone will wonder what’s going on.
What makes you rush to post on Facebook sometimes but not other times? Do you play social mind games with your Likes and Comments? Name one Facebook user who hasn’t done some cyber-sleuthing on Facebook as well.
Facebook is so entwined with our lives. We pop on first thing in the morning, while waiting in the car pickup line, and in the midst of making dinner.
It’s like our own commercial break from life:
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to see what else is better out there to distract us for a bit.
We use it so much, some of us are trying to figure out a way to stop going on Facebook so much.
We’ve adapted to this virtual world so easily. Log onto Facebook, and it’s as if you are suddenly lost in another dimension. You get to go to this virtual party, and everywhere you look, all your friends are there. Also great? Everywhere each of your friends look, they see only their (Facebook) friends too.
There are zillions of reasons why we love Facebook so darn much.

 

 

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