Over the last couple of weeks, I have witnessed some behavior online that has really made me rub my eyes in disbelief. Considering that I primarily use Social Media for professional reasons, and thus am mostly surrounded by people who are using it for the same reasons, my expectations are pretty high. I think maybe people just need to be reminded of a few things.
1. Social Media is called Social Media because part of the idea is to be social. Being social often involves mixing it up with other people. Even though you cannot see them, hear them, or touch them, all of your comments and tweets and likes and dislikes are pinging other human beings. Unless you are pinging bots. They probably don’t care how you treat them, and it’ll only come back to bite us when they take over the world. Be nice.
2. People work really hard, and what you see online is probably just a small portion of all of the work going on. Therefore, tearing someone’s work to shreds and saying “It’s not personal” will not always work, because it will feel pretty personal to that person.
3. Negativity tends to be negative. Even if it has a justifiable point, many people define negativity as being negative. Negative makes me sad. Don’t make me sad.
4. Bashing someone for bashing someone still means you are bashing someone.
5. Fighting publicly on a Social Media platform makes any and all parties involved look bad, no matter what the scenario. Take it to the dark alley of direct messages, email communications, or a Starbucks.
6. Social Media makes your flaws visible, but it also highlights what’s good in your existence. Take a look at the whole picture of what you have going on. Hint: If you have time to be on Social Media, you’re probably doing at least okay in life.
7. People don’t live in your head. All people can go by is the words flashing on their screens. Is your meaning clear without context?
8. Envy, impatience, hyper-snarkiness, and other modes of operation similar to those listed reflect poorly on you.
9. Sharing is a really good thing. Stealing is a really bad thing. Make sure you know the fine line that separates the two.
10. Whenever you feel you are about to get in a spat with someone, it might be a good idea instead to tweet something like, “Help the poor people of Haiti fight cholera,” or, “Can we help the children of Rwanda?” There’s more to life than Blogs and Twitter. Shocking, dreadfully shocking, but true.
Did I miss anything?