Every day I see someone post something that makes me stop and think – do they realize what they just posted – better yet do they realize how many people are going to see that? I am convinced that people think they live in a bubble and that what they say on social media is not going to have any impact on their life at all – because really, who will see it anyway?
Well – in the past few months I have heard of announcers, firefighters, athletes, nurses, students, employees, and public figures all who were disciplined or let go from their jobs because of something they either tweeted or posted to their social media accounts. The more I talk with people the more I have come to realize that they are completely unaware of how powerful social media actually is. This is not a post to scare anyone away from using social media – social media is a great tool when used intelligently and for good. However, this is a post to help guide individuals the next time they go to post to their social media accounts.
Here are 15 Principles to think about the next time you use Social Media.
- Be Social. It’s called Social Media for a reason, so go ahead and be social. Don’t Troll – Be an active listener as well as engaged in conversations.
- Add Value and be positive rather than showing disrespect and being negative all the time. Use your social media to instill value in others as well as providing something to the world that can help. Also, the more positive you are on social media the more people will be apt to engage back with you. No one enjoys reading negative comments and posts everyday. Add Value and Be Positive.
- Stay away from drama it will only lead to areas you do not want, nor intend to go. Also, remember when the drama happens online others only see words, not emotion nor how you are reacting. Stay away from drama.
- Never underestimate the reach and influence you have when you use social media. Your post, for better or worse, has the capability of reaching many more people than you realize. This leads to the next one.
- Think, again. Use common sense when getting ready to post or tweet something. Applying a principle of reading twice, thinking, again – maybe even having someone else read what you are getting ready to post – are good reminders. Once it is out there in the digital world, it is out there. Never send a tweet, post, comment, reply or email when you are angry. Stop and think before you send anything out. Which leads to the next one…
- Deleting does not equal Gone from Existence. Just because you delete a comment a few seconds after it was posted – doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been seen by someone, somewhere. The use of mobile phones to capture a tweet or post is incredible – the invention of the screenshot can have its downside. What you think you deleted – was just captured on someone’s phone and now can be re-posted. This is why #5 is an important rule to remember.
- Remember who you represent. Social Media is like a Digital Tattoo – just like people form opinions about someone based on the “tattoos” they have, and people will do the same with what you post, like, favorite, retweet, etc. Your online presence will speak volumes about who you are, what you value, and the nature of your character. This principle can be applied to just about every facet of life – for family, friends, work, teams you play for, groups you are associated with, etc. Remember who you represent and the values that you want to represent.
- Be authentic, genuine and original. You are You and no one else. Make sure the person you present online is the same person people will see day in and day out.
- Be Honest, yet positive in the same regard. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say to someone face-to-face.
- Be Smart – do not post anything that someone could use against you, your family, your friends. Remember that what you post and do online can be seen by just about everyone, realize that.
- Do Some Good. Use your social media as a way of connecting with organizations, charities, individuals who are doing good and making a difference in the world.
- Social Media is not your Diary nor your laundry basket – don’t treat it as such. Stay away from telling the world every detail of your day, and airing your dirty laundry before the world.
- Social media is not group therapy – if you need help, please seek someone who can help you or better yet, a counselor that is trained and can give you what you need. Remember people are not always smart. People will say very unintelligent things leading to horrible advice. Best to stick with the pros when needing help.
- Give Shoutouts– and lots of them. This can be done by your “likes, favorites, mentions, shares and retweets.” Don’t be shy to let someone know you enjoy what they are saying or doing. Create an online atmosphere of encouragement.
- Share helpful information. We all need that little pick-me-up at some point during the day and that random funny video or image that your friend shared did the trick. Don’t be afraid to share content that could help someone else (whether that content is information based, or entertainment based) – just make sure the content doesn’t go against who you are, who and/or what you represent, and the values you wish to express on social media.
These are just a few principles to keep in mind when posting to social media – there are many more. What are your thoughts? Do you have a few principles I did not mention?
Check me out on Twitter @revhoward18
Also, Check out my new book! Digital Jesus: Evangelism in a Digital and Social Media Driven Culture – only on Amazon Kindle!