Sometimes “think before you click” is easier said than done, but here’s a reminder to keep at it
Since the dawn of social media, separating the online persona from the offline and keeping private lives private have all become very tricky business.
What is posted in public domain is, understandably, up for public consumption. It’s a fact that escapes everyone at one point or another, whether an anti-social social media user, an oversharer online or somewhere in between. Consequences include but are unfortunately not limited to: security breaches, rifts in relationships and time wasted on toxic engagements (ever gone to war on Twitter with a complete stranger? Yup, we’re talking about that stuff.)
Sure, this is a place for entertainment, escape and letting your hair down; we’re not about to take the fun out of the fact that social media is the lawless land of the internet. Still, real-life consequences have a way of rearing its ugly head, so it pays to steer clear of the wrong ways of using social media.
#1: Ranting about relationships (romantic or otherwise)
Posting passive aggressive Facebook status messages and subtweeting are the go-to moves when it comes to ranting online. Hey, who needs a magazine gossip column with blind items when you have a Twitter feed loaded with drama?
Directing rants at the anonymous allows people to be as revealing, catty or bold as they wish to be without having to take accountability for anything, which brings us to this: people who rant like this on social media do so because they want a release…not a resolution. So when it comes to those you truly care about, always take the issue offline. You otherwise run the risk of alienating—or worse, hurting—your significant other, family, teammate or colleague.
#2: Sharing personal information
Sharing details about your fantastic first day at work is okay. Taking a selfie with your first paycheck isn’t. This is a lesson some had to learn the hard way in 2014 when they wound up with their bank details stolen after taking a paycheck selfie and posting it with the hashtag #myfirstpaycheck.
#3: Living for arguments in the comment sections
The comment section is where you’ll find well-meaning netizen, troll and intellectual, the bored, the frustrated, the righteous and they keyboard warrior. Now, imagine all these characters trying to get on the same page. We say imagine because it never happens.
Of course everyone is welcome to participate in a healthy discussion, but people who live for comment section beef hardly ever keep it clean. They hardly ever bow out either, so it pays to remember: “real battles are won offline.”
#4: Shaming complete strangers
People who do so make up another reason to avoid comment sections. Preaching to a complete stranger about the following is a no-no: how they should dress, who they should date, how they should raise their children, how they put on weight or need to lose it. Nobody wants advice they didn’t ask for anyway…and, from all people, a complete stranger.
#5: Making everything about “me, me, me”
Those who know how to work social media to their advantage use their channels to book projects, grow their following and get on the radar of prospective clients (gaining fame is a nice little bonus for some) But where do we draw the line between self-promotion and self-absorption?
If you’re looking to keep your posts in check, you can try the 5-3-2 ratio by TA McCann: 5 of your posts should be content from others, 3 should be content from yourself, 2 should be personal status updates.
#6: Consistently tagging your locations
You might want to rethink posting that Facebook check-in at NAIA. Your caption may read: “Yaaaas so excited to head to Cebu with the fam. It’s gonna be the best 5 days ever!” but it can easily translate to: “No one in my family will be in Manila! That's an empty house for five days!”
Tagging your location is a harmless way of documenting the places you’ve been to, but it could backfire especially when done in real-time and shared publicly. Play it safe. You never want to tip off anyone.
#7: Sharing an image or video without crediting the owner
Typing “ctto” (credits to the owner) doesn’t count if you don't actually name or tag anyone, no?
While every tweet, post and snap is available for public consumption once you hit send, crediting
sources still matters. Ask a photographer, designer or anyone in the creative field
#8: Going on social media instead of being present
Remember in-person conversations? Those are still cool.
Art Alexandra Lara