There are a million and one ways to stay in touch with your near and dear ones and entertain yourself, on Social Media these days. Posts, status updates, comments, instant messages, video uploads, tweets, and texts have become an integral part of our lives. The supreme digital world enables us to log on from anywhere at any time, thanks to a multitude of devices such as smartphones, gaming devices, tablets, and laptops. But are we responsible citizens of the Social Media world?
We all are, at any given time during the day, on platforms that facilitate learning about the latest buzz around us, expressing creativity, collaborating with others and more. But are we also conscious of the fact that we are leaving digital footprints everywhere we have been? Remember, content on the internet does not have a shelf-life, unlike say, print material. So, your private thoughts, photos, videos, and personal information are out there for the whole world to view, in perpetuity.
Some of what you said in a fit of rage, or even in jest could result in undesirable consequences. That’s simply because one never knows what reaction it may elicit from a person sitting in another part of the planet; or how he or she comprehends the meaning behind your words. The danger of miscommunication is ever-present on Social Media platforms.
A post of a provocative photo or a picture with a wild party has the potential to cause irretrievable damage to your online and real-world reputation — regardless of whether you are a college student or a working professional. Similarly, posting rude or inappropriate comments filled with expletives, have the strange capacity to come back to haunt when you least expect it. It’s akin to a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode with unimaginable ferocity. Think before you post!
You are Your brand
In this age of personal branding, all of us should be doubly wary of what we reveal to the world about ourselves. By trying to be hip, cool or “with it”, you may be inadvertently sending out the wrong signals of the kind of person you really are. Generally, the devil-may-care attitude has few takers. Perceptions can and will be built upon quickly. And once you’re type-cast as being a particular kind of person, it will become difficult to shake off that tag. It’s far easier being true to and about, yourself.
Most of the comments one finds on social media websites like Facebook or Twitter tend to be reactive, rather than active. Many users think that they have earned the right to air their rants online. That isn’t always true. For starters, you can avoid a lot of heartache if you are alive to cultural and religious sensitivities, for example. Supporting your leader is fine, but do you have to show another in poor light to achieve this end — and that too by writing ill-conceived tripe?
All right, you’re thoroughly opinionated. That’s fine, but make sure you do not step on someone’s toes while making a point. Let your inner-most thoughts be broadcast on Social Media with grace, and never in a crude or offensive manner. You will win a lot of fans for your posts and comments if they are few and far between; and also if the choice of your subjects are appealing.
Be a Spelling Bee
It would also help to run a quick spell check before posting that comment or tweet. Don’t become the butt of jokes for irksome grammatical errors and embarrassing typos! If your posts are well-formulated, chances are people will sit up and take notice of what you have to say.
While all these aspects are not chiselled in bronze, it would serve well to take responsibility for our online activities. It is only then that we can enjoy Social Media and all that it offers, to the hilt.