My mother always said “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Nowhere does that apply more, than in the case of social networking. For some reason, as soon as the walls of physical contact come down, so too do basic manners.
We hear a lot about the dangers of social networking, the problems associated with laying our lives bare for the world to see. I get that.
What I also get is just how much richness and diversity has come into my life through social networking sites. I’ve met people I would never have come into contact with, and made friends I have never seen. And I’ve learned, and continue to learn, a lot. We don’t hear as much about the positive side- there’s not as much interest in that.
Sure there are trolls and bullies and stalkers out there, but in the interests of playing nice I’m trying hard to starve them of oxygen. Trying.
IMHO you can (virtually) say what you will as long as it:
- Harms no one else- physically or emotionally or any which way
- Doesn’t impede the free will or free speech of anyone else
So, in case there is still any confusion, here is the bright-siders guide to navigating social media:
- Treat it as if you are at a dinner party. If you wouldn’t say it over the roast lamb (without the support of your posse), don’t say it on Facebook/Twitter.
- People have feelings. If you don’t have the bollocks to say something to someone’s face (without the support of your posse), don’t say it on Facebook/Twitter. That’s not fair.
- This may come as a shock, but not everyone may agree with your politics, opinion, religion or sexual orientation and you know what? That’s absolutely fine. No judgement. Please. Ever. If you don’t agree, don’t respond. Easy. And before you say the word “extremism”, refer to the bit above about harm…
- Not everyone has the same boundaries (or lack of) as you. Respect these. Especially when it comes to tagging.
- You hate your job? I get that, but unless you would be prepared to stand in front of your boss (without the support of your posse) and tell her that, don’t put it on Facebook/Twitter.
- You hate your boss? Same rules.
- You want to dump your girlfriend/boyfriend? Do it the old fashioned way- to their face- before announcing your change of relationship status on Facebook/Twitter.
- If you don’t want your parents/kids/boss/other significant person to know about it, don’t put it on Facebook/Twitter.
- If you don’t like someone, their partner, their dress or their TV show- unless you are prepared to say so to their face (without the support of your posse) keep it to yourself, turn it off-just don’t put it on Facebook/Twitter.
- Appreciate the contact. Truly.