Tuesday, 1 September 2015

My rules for posting on social media.

In a previous blog post (here) I spoke about our need to think about how we use social media. In that post I mentioned I had some rules I always try to adhere to before posting anything - and I said I would outline them in a separate post... well this is that post.

As best as I can, I try and think about each of these things before I hit the 'post' button.

1: What is my intention?
This is the most important thing I think of when I am writing  - even just a 140 character tweet.  Why am I going to share this, and is my intention a correct one?  That doesn't mean I never post anything negative, because sometimes with the right intention a negative veined post can bring about resolution, or a call to arms or something that is not inherently 'wrong'.  But I ask myself is that what I am trying to do - or am I wanting people to see I am angry (that is not always a good intention) or am I wanting certain people to know I feel hurt (that is not a good reason) or am I wanting people to think I am especially good at something, or I am important (again, not good intent).  Many times I have written a status update, a tweet, or even a blog post - and then in considering it's intent simply decided to delete it rather than post it.

2. Am I being ambiguous?
And if I am, am I using that to generate constructive conversation, or attention on myself, or room for implying gossip? Sometimes ambiguity is a beautiful thing - it can generate interest and bring about a good discussion on an important topic.  However a real trend on social media to is ambiguously post so that people have to assume what is really going on.  A post like "That sick feeling in your stomach when someone hurts you so deep" naturally leads people to wonder 'who hurt you?' or 'what happened?'   Sometimes this is done in the worst passive aggressive way, knowing the person who hurt you will read it and know what you mean while other's will be in the dark.  This is not the way to handle conflict - especially publically.  So I always re read my post to ensure it is clear, or that if I am being intentionally ambiguous that it is for the right reason.

3. How might this post be received?
Text based communication leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding - especially with short and sharp status updates and tweets. I don't claim to think through every conceivable possibility - but I do think through some things, like 'have I had a conflict with someone recently who may read this and think it a personal attack' (I admit I learnt this from an unfortunate life experience), or 'is there someone hurting at the moment who won't appreciate this' (posting an epic car roll video on Facebook knowing a friend was just involved in a traumatic car accident isn't being very sensitive).  This is especially important if I am choosing to be ambiguous, because that leaves a lot more room for misinterpretation.

4. Is it worthwhile?
Even if I am simply posting to share a little insight into my life, I feel it has to have some worth. "I just ate a chicken sandwich" isn't an overly worthwhile post, but letting someone into your life by showing a photo of an amazing crafted sandwich and sharing your gratefulness at getting to enjoy it might be.  If the post is going to have a negative connotation, it's very important to make sure that it is worthwhile and not just me having a vent.  I don't feel social media is a constructive place to vent, and most venting is not worthwhile for those reading.

I know I don't get it right every time, but asking myself these four questions time and time again have certainly refined the way I use social media, and have definitely reduced the amount of conflict I encounter on social media.  I have a few other rules too... there are certain topics I simply won't comment on via social media - I don't think it is a conducive environment for political, social, even religious discussion - instead I'll simply offer an invitation to speak about it privately or in person.  Also another huge rule is I don't post if I am feeling personally hurt and angry about something.  I might write something - but I don't post it... I'll go to bed, or leave it for a day... then I will come back and read it and with a bit of perspective then decide whether or not to post.  Posting as an emotional response usually leads me to break the rules I mentioned above, and that usually gets me in trouble.  I especially think that if I wouldn't say this to someone face to face, then I shouldn't feel comfortable posting it on social media.

Now I've going back to re-read this post and check it out before hitting 'Publish' ;-)

No comments:

Twitter Facebook Favorites

Powered by Blogger | Printable Coupons