Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks can be great tools for helping us stay connected. But there are some cautions with social media, too, to protect your relationships and life
1. Tweet others as you would have others tweet to you. Use the golden rule when posting anything about anyone: Before you post, put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
2 Use a GPS to post. Let us walk in integrity. We encourage people to create an inner GPS and ask three questions before saying or doing anything, especially before posting.
Does this decision show respect for
G – God?
P – People?
S – Self?
3. Converse in real time what you want said and posted in cyberspace. Have a conversation with those you love about what posts, photos, and content they are comfortable having you share on your account or posting to theirs. Comfort and privacy levels vary.
4. Learn the tools of the trade. It’s wiser to learn the ins and outs of Twitter, Facebook, etc. from someone you think uses it well. From the moment a post or photo goes viral it’s live and it may never be recoverable no matter how quickly you hit the trash can or X button. If you do make a mistake, quickly delete and let others know who might be impacted.
5. Remember: “If it looks like a hack, moves like a hack, it must be a hack.” If a post looks different from what that friend usually posts, move with caution especially if it looks like a movie, survey, or game application. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to gain access. If you happen to click on something you think is from a friend or trusted source and it is not, quickly change your password, and then alert those that were impacted.
6. Use discernment and direct message. If you are going to say anything at all private or use double entendre, use the text phone to phone, “Direct Message” on Twitter, “Send a Message” on Facebook, or better yet, text to his or her phone, email, or call. The general rule: The more important, volatile, or intimate the message, the more it should be given live or at least with a phone call, voice to voice.
7. Bring good news. Use social networking to spread good news.
8. Protect the pix. Pictures posted should honor people’s images at work, in the community, and church. Facebook offers a “request to tag,” which means you can send someone a picture privately and they approve the tag and the photo will then appear on your page (it is released to go public). Others might not enjoy photos you think they would if they go public. For example, I took a picture of my husband, Bill, pulling my luggage through the airport after a gruelling trip. I thought it showed his chivalry, a man caring for his wife. He was less than thrilled at the post because my luggage is bright pink! I should have “requested a tag.”
9. Build and encourage with words. Enlightens us to the type of words to select: encourage one another and build up one another, honor, or praise others. Sprouter Community Manager, Erin Bury advises, “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
10. Work out issues offline. Social media is not the place to resolve a personal problem. Never use social media, email, or texting to discuss a sensitive topic. The nuances of emotions are not carried well through electronic methodology. You cannot see a person’s face, feel pain to empathize with, or give personal physical touch which is often the real key to resolving differences. Think before you push “send.” If in doubt, wait it out! Better yet, pick up the phone and set a date to talk.
11. Tweet, post, and email helpful information. Using social media to send links that may improve someone’s quality of life or strengthen them spiritually. You may not know how dramatically this may help someone in an expedient way. Be discerning in the way you send.
12. Let “iron sharpening iron.” Social media is the new “talk radio” or public-square of opinion. Present views but do it with reasonable logical thought, facts, and quotes that back your case. Again, this information is for sharing thought of public debate not private disagreements.
13. Post using reasonable icons. DO NOT POST EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS OR PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU ARE YELLING. And every statement you make does not need a smiley face after it. Icons are great for emphasis, but don’t over use.
14. Share humor and levity. The world is a negative, harsh place most days, so if you can lift a spirit or bring a smile do so. However, do not use humor at someone else’s expense.
Article Published in Vashti Magazine, Issue Sep-Oct 2014.