You’ve read those awkward posts made by friends, you know- the ones you’d rather not read that make you feel like a child witnessing their parents arguing. “My ex is a %#@!” or “FML I hate this and that… The posts that make you go YIKES!
Online Etiquette: Why It’s Important
There are two words to describe these type posts: NOT COOL. Yes, it’s your life, your internet and your business. But why not leave it at just that- your business? Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have made users so comfortable it’s like they’ve created an online journal. They’ve become an outlet for people to express themselves to a large audience using the web. But these posts can haunt and harm you and others as well. In some cases, they can also help.
You Can’t Take It Back
Once you publish something on the web, you can delete it but it’s there. Somewhere someone took a screenshot or the internet recorded it. I always refer to the quote from Alice in Wonderland…
Think before you post.
You may be going through a rough patch and maybe at that time all your thoughts are negative or angry and you post mean and nasty things. Then, once you are over that hump you look back and realize how awful those comments were. It isn’t your fault because you weren’t yourself at the time. However, you can’t take those posts back. Sure, you may delete them but chances are all of your friends and maybe their friends already read them and remember them. And again… screenshots. So now people feel sorry for you or think you’re crazy.
Believe me, I’ve had hard times but I’ve always opted to keep my life as private as I possibly can when it comes to family life, relationships, struggles, or any drama. Try coming up with a mantra. Mine is (deep breath) “Keep it moving.” and then…it passes. And no matter what hard time I may be going through, I pause and try to focus on all of the good things. The things I am grateful for. My daughter’s laugh, having been given another day, being able to call my mom every morning. Those little things in life are treasures some people can only wish for.
It’s simple online etiquette, that’s all.
Good Vibes Only
Once I’m there, I decide ok now it’s time to share good energy. With my friends, followers, even strangers. Pay someone a compliment, open the door for someone, give words of encouragement to others, be a blessing! The power of words is SO strong. It can cause us the greatest happiness just as well as it may cause us the biggest pain. It feels amazing when a friend or a follower texts me just to tell me how much I have inspired them. It truly feeds my soul and gives me the motivation I need to continue this journey.
Unless of course…
Don’t get me wrong- there have been cases where a person is mentally ill and is crying out for help. If this helps you by all means post away. Pay attention to friends or relatives who may be going through something.
If you have a professional circle of people following you, I highly suggest keeping it kosher. There’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine or maybe you’re having a bad day and word it a certain way. For example, “Today was not my day, maybe tomorrow will be better.” Instead of “I’ve had the sh#@tiest day! FML.” Apply real life etiquette to the web. Just because you are online does not give you a pass. Remember, your actions reflect on who you are. Don’t be the nanny posting about how bratty the kids you watch are or the mom getting wasted on a school night. The teacher complaining about her students or the salesman posting about how he managed to overprice his sales at work. You never know who is watching and who may get offended. You get the point. Just don’t be nasty. You know, the nasty person with bad energy everyone wants to avoid.
Nothing is private online.
It depends where you post it you may argue but research shows that even a “private” profile somewhere will and can pop up. Nothing on the web is private period. There are many jobs that will search job candidates and toss their applications in the trash because of what they find. Unemployed? Check your social media profiles, you may see why. And while I believe there should be some type of privacy laws for social media, the truth is if you put it out there you are living your life publicly.
Don’t be a bully and keep politics off your feed.
Who you post about can also be a very bad thing. We all love to laugh but doing it at another’s expense is just wrong. Don’t become a cyber bully and defame someone online even if it is your crummy ex. Take a deep breath and write in a journal or talk to a friend about how you feel. If it’s that serious, seek professional help! Too many problems, even suicides have occurred because of cyber bullies and it needs to stop. You can also be charged for murder if you are the cause of this. Is it really worth it? No one deserves to be bullied and to feel sad enough to take their own life because of it.
As for politics, well, I get it. Times are rough. The world is chaotic. We live in a time where everyone is a web expert and people have become hyper-sensitive. If you can’t have an educated, respectful conversation, you probably shouldn’t bring up politics.
So next time, you feel the need to post certain photos or comments keep these simple rules of “netiquette” in mind and think before you click…
Now that you have the proper training on netiquette, I hope you’ll go out there and be the best well-mannered internet friend possible. Remember, if you have nothing nice to say, just don’t say it- and don’t type it either.