- First off: If you're looking for love, avoid posting a terrible profile picture
- Set a rule that works for you (no FB after 10 p.m., a 15-minute max on browsing time)
- Find a few minutes to give your buds the benefit of some voice-on-voice action
'Tis the season of fresh resolutions, still glittery with promise before time constraints, reality and your extreme laziness settle over them like a moist gray tarnish.
Looking back on 2011, we've dished up some social media advice that could very well stave off that sad day in early spring when you come across your scribbled-down "2012 GOALS," all multicolored highlighters and bubble letters, and weep softly.
So, whistles blaring, puffing with unusual optimism and pep, we, your resident netiquette drill sergeants, dispense the following tools to help you achieve your dreams in the big 1-2.
I resolve to fall in love.
Since that whole join-a-bowling-league advice your mom gave you isn't working out so well (Memo to mothers of the world: Gutter balls, mozzarella sticks and horrifying color-block shoes are not a recipe for love.), you'll probably need to sign up for online dating.
First off: Avoid putting up a terrible profile picture. No dreaded MySpace shots, no pictures of you in a crowd of better-looking friends or children who may or may not be yours -- just you, looking like you do in 2012, preferably with something interesting in the background (you playing Velcro toss in the park, you at the World's Largest Ball of Twine, you goofing around in a culturally appropriate manner on the Great Wall of China).
Now, get over your fear of rejection and send some cute messages (Dos are here, don'ts are here.). Congrats! You're online dating! You're like 1/793rd of the way to engagement. Now take it offline and don't screw it up.
I resolve to find more "me" time.
How can you find an extra 23.5 hours per month?! (Ooh, we know this one! We've got it! Teacher, pick me!)
That's how much time the average user was spending on Facebook last spring, and since the number of active users has blown up since then, the minutes we're devoting to the site may very well have, too. Some users (and some experts, though the two groups surely aren't mutually exclusive -- anyone else familiar with the term confirmation bias?) assert that social media is making it easier than ever to maintain friendships.
But it's pretty hard to call those blank-eyed hours of liking and commenting and scrolling through photos of that cool girl from high school who now has 11 children "me time."
Set a rule that works for you (no FB after 10 p.m., a 15-minute max on browsing time, whatever) and soon you'll recall that hanging out alone is a good deal more fun than clicking, zombie-like, through 487 snaps of yourself.
I resolve to be a better friend.
Young folks: The way to really reconnect is not more Facebook messages or impersonal retweets, it's that handy gadget you sometimes use to order pizza (i.e. the phone).
Mother Nature designed us to gather tons of information from people's voices -- info we just can't infer from the written word, no matter how many emoticons we include. So find a few minutes while you're preparing dinner or cleaning your room or whatever to give your buds the benefit of some voice-on-voice action.
Another good-karma-earning move you can make: Be nice to the annoying snots who just won't leave you alone. It's oh so tempting to give an eager job seeker, a shilling PR person or a clueless suitor the silent treatment in the hopes they'll just go away, but we talked it over with the morality police and they agree that polite rejection is the classiest course of action.
A related hot tip: Don't lie to one person so you can hang out with another, leaving behind an easily sniffed trail of photos and Foursquare check-ins and hurting that blown-off friend to her very core. Pinocchios rarely prosper.
Oh these? These would be your angel wings. Enjoy.
I resolve to find a new job.
You're not alone: One in three American workers is seriously thinking about leaving his or her job, according to a massive survey from Mercer. Tread a bit lightly if you're job-searching whilst employed; if you're sending out cover letters during work hours, for example, your potential employers might just worry you're going to carry your sneaky ways along to your next cubicle.
When you've actually found a position that sounds like a fit, apply meticulous care to your e-mail application: Paste your cover letter into the body of the message, attach your resume as a PDF, and use a clear subject line that includes both your name and the job you're applying for. (And yes, get the hiring manager's name and gender right. One of these humble netiquetters has trashed a goodly number of cover letters addressed to a "Mr. Bartz.")
Don't forget to shower interviewers with well-written thank-you notes. Accept your swank new position. You're welcome.
I resolve to get in shape.
Ha. I'm sure. Good luck with that one, Jell-O jiggler.