Mind your manners online
Etiquette is paramount for an enjoyable and trouble-free social media experience
SOCIAL media rules today. For those who are still not on board, it is still a good time to hop on the bandwagon of social media updates. Social media refers to technology that facilitates the creation, expression and sharing of information via virtual communities and networks. Whether you’re using your computer, smartphone or tablet, social media platforms are just a few clicks away. There are many out there to choose from, but there are few globally popular ones like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Snapchat and more.
Like every technology ever created, it is meant for good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for someone to abuse or use it with harmful intentions and consequences.
Social media’s biggest values are communication and connectivity. We are no longer out of reach with anyone all over the world. Thanks to this innovation, we are always connected daily, and in communication with anyone at anytime and anywhere in the world.
Last year’s statistics reported there were 14 million Facebook users in Malaysia. Statistics also reported that Malaysians spent an average of 2.8 hours a day on social networks and 7.2 hours a week streaming online videos.
It was certainly all warm and rosy for a while when social media platforms took off. However, these have taken a life of their own and at times, diverted towards some dark side of today’s society. While some may have started out to be a joke, it certainly didn’t seem that way after it was posted online. Then, there are those with the intention of belittling others, playing pranks, abusive behaviours, bullying, overzealous… you get the gist! Whatever you may think it is, it’s not fun, funny nor acceptable in personal or businesses when social media is misused and abused.
There are those small petty social media blunders which hurt individuals that continue to roam out there today. While those may seem small and petty, it can still hurt someone really bad. Sometimes, we read that it may even lead to death, in this case when the person hurt has mental issues. So, yes, however small it may seem to you, it may not be for others.
Then, there are those social media blunders by corporations or even political campaigns and unfortunate disasters. From our own land, we remembered sarcastic remarks from those managing business social media accounts that ignited fireworks from a comment or feedback from consumers.
A few years back, a new mall had elevator issues and, while the consumers’ feedback to the mall on their Facebook page was with good intentions, the officer replied with sarcasm, which started a trolling wildfire on social media.
There was also the time when Malaysia faced the MH370 crisis, and some irresponsible people actually spread rumours and conspiracy theories, causing behemoth uproar and upsetting families of the victims and many on social media platforms.
Stories fabricated about the plane landing safely in some location caused further distress to many, and grief to the families of the victims. Then, there was also the false information spread via WhatsApp about bodies floating around during the floods in Kelantan, which caused much anguish.
If you’re going to shout out to the world, at least do it right. You owe it to yourself to be socially responsible and have the right social media manners. While it’s good to share information, make sure it’s a fact before you share it. Even before you share it, make sure you check with the originator before you share it, especially when it’s not your news to broadcast.
Before you post or share anything on social media platforms, it would certainly be wise to ask yourself whether you’d physically say what you wrote to someone. If you wouldn’t say it to someone in public, it’s likely not appropriate in the social media world as well. Do also think twice before supporting or posting extremely opinionated viewpoints on sensitive subjects as it can be a lightning rod online.
While we all need an outlet to express our frustrations and negativity, just remind yourself that if it’s listed on social media platforms, it may actually come back to you later on since there is black-and-white proof online.
There are plenty of ways to let out steam and negativity besides social media. Try to turn your negativity in a better way than just ranting. If you update your social media platforms with positive vibes, you may in turn get good feedback or advice that could boost your morale.
Always remember, social media platforms are not fully “safe”. While sharing is caring, your personal information should never be shared on these platforms to avoid identity theft.
It’s never always about you, too. People may use you and your information to get to others in your family and friends’ circle. So, share with responsibility in mind. Let’s enjoy the founding benefits of social media in a positive way, not because you must, but because it’s the right thing to do.
The writer is editor of BOTs, the weekly tech section in Life&Times. Trained in Maths, he has since traded his problem-solving skills with writing about how tech has helped to transform the world for the better