With more than 500 million active users, chances are you — and all of your friends — are on Facebook. And you're probably on the site pretty often, as people spend more than 700 billion minutes per month on the social-networking site. Like whoa. That's a lot of time. And it turns out, how we spend that time on Facebook can help or hurt ourselves (and our social standing).
New research presented at the recent American Educational Research Association conference found that college students who use social networks for self-promotion (read: I'm totally awesome and want the world to know it!) tend to be more narcissistic than those who log on just to catch up with buddies. While males seem to do the narcissism thing more than females, researchers found that female students have more photos and friends associated with their Facebook accounts than the boys on the web.
So what does this mean to you? Well, it's unlikely that Facebook causes narcissism, but that rather it enhances what ego-centric tendencies are already there. (We all know those people.) However, there are definitely better — and healthier — ways to use Facebook than others. Below are three ways to make the most of Facebook for your overall wellbeing!
3 Tips to Cut the Narcissism and Use Facebook for Your Health
1. Commit to your workouts. Consider Facebook to be your new workout buddy. Commit to workouts before you do them on the site, even inviting your friends to join in. As long as you don't update too much (more than twice a day is seen as overkill for most people) or get obsessive about it, this can be a great way to be held accountable for your fitness – along with inspiring others!
2. Pretend your mother and boss is reading (Heck, they might just be!). Nowadays, if you put something on Facebook, you need to assume that it's pretty much open for anyone in the public to see. So if you spend the night eating fried food and taking shots with your friends, don't put the pics up. Or better yet, make healthier food choices and keep your drink consumption at a moderate level.
3. Foster healthy friendships and connections. Facebook isn't a popularity contest or a place to feel like a social queen bee. Instead it's a site to really enhance your real-life social circle. Friendships are key to good health, so be sure that in addition to liking someone's status update, you give them a call every now and again or schedule a catch-up session over coffee.
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.