Because you don’t want to be that person
When it comes to anything, you can never please everyone—especially when you’re working within the confines of an online space, which is often both expansive and restricting. It’s hard to balance content because there will always be someone out there that finds it offensive. Despite this, there are some things that cannot be treated as exceptions to the rule.
Don’t be an uncultured swine
There’s a difference between being culturally ignorant and being downright disrespectful. And innocently being unaware of something can only be tolerated so far; we all need to do our part in checking whether or not our actions/posts/photos/stories cross a line that shouldn’t be crossed. No one should piss on the Berlin Wall. No one should take smiling selfies at Holocause memorials. No one should No one should make fun of Asians/Blacks/Latinos/any race/religion/belief—no ifs and buts.
No one likes a know-it- all
With the amount of information that is readily available at our fingertips, it can get a little confusing to filter through and decide what’s right and wrong. But before you make a claim to the world, just make sure you get your facts right. There are established websites we should be getting our information from and there are people that have proven themselves to be unreliable, biased and just self-indulgent. Now we aren’t going to name any names here, but the point is to use your head before stating something. Don’t make a rumor sound like hard-hitting journalism.
Being offensive never was and never will be cool
Familiar image, huh?
We can’t help what we find funny anymore than we can help the weather, but we can definitely help what we say out loud and post on our feeds. And yes, jokes usually come from a well-meaning place, but being considerate about who might hear them shouldn’t be second nature. Rape jokes, body-shaming jokes, racial jokes—they’re nothing to laugh about. And if you have to laugh about them and share, be smart and do it within enclosed walls.
I don't like you https://t.co/91TJ5xypV8
— thickleeyonce ? (@ThickLeeyonce) September 19, 2017
Don’t pull the trigger, don’t aim the gun
You never know how sensitive someone is, especially when it comes to mental health. The symptoms are subtle and there are (little or) no physical evidences. You’ll never know if the person you’re talking to is battling something or has battled something, you don’t know what their demons are. And because there are so many possible landmines, the best thing is to keep an ear out and your (online) mouth shut. Don’t tell someone to get over something, just because it seems like no big deal to you. Strength isn’t always obvious and courage never shouts.
Ooooh, drugs and booze
The earlier points are all about being respectful to others, but this one is to safe your own face. Anything you post online has the potential to become permanent and it could bite you in the ass one day. Ever “cool” experience you share on Facebook, every illegal-activity story you share on Instagram—it can all be traced to you and God help you when the wrong person gets hold of it.
You can’t please everyone; it just isn’t possible. Someone out there will find something wrong with a statement you make, with a photo you post or a meant-to- be-funny video you share. But do yourself (and the world) a favor and use your head before anything else.
Art by Alexandra Lara