By Christine Cashen
You don’t blow your nose in a cloth napkin. You don’t get in the express check out with 47 items. And everyone knows that if you’re in traffic, then someone lets you in at the last possible moment, the right thing to do is give a hardy thank you wave.
So…let’s talk social media. Call them manners, call them social norms, call them social media manners but one thing is for sure, social would be a lot more social if everyone followed the “rules.”
IT’S ALL RELATIVE
Recently, Aunt Vicki (whose name has been changed to protect her identity) private messaged me. It began, “Be careful: I got a message from you or it is shown on your wall here. Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept a friend request from…” Then I got the same message from another relative, then another. Really? Which is it? Did everyone really get a message from me or was it on my wall? All of you? Impossible. I checked. Surprise! No one got a message from me. They assumed the message to be true and blindly shared it. Ugh.
Have you ever gotten one of these messages? Did you freak out? Did you “Hold your finger down on the message and forward to all your friends,” as instructed?
THEY TOLD TWO FRIENDS AND SO ON AND SO ON
Yes, we need to be vigilant when using social media, but why create unnecessary panic? There is enough fake news out there that we don’t need to create our own!
If a message tells you to “Hold your finger down,” or “This is REAL,” chances are it is not. Check with the person who sent that message and ask if they truly got a message from you. Or, let me save you some time…they didn’t.
Do your best to safeguard your social media world. Go to settings, then privacy, then check who can see your friends list. Click “only me.” Then check that all your other preferences are set to private, not the default settings. If you don’t know how to do this, ask a kid.
Lately, there has been a lot of posts about missing children (which is really important), except that when fact-checked, the child had already been found — 2 days before the post. In the meantime, people are sharing and worrying unnecessarily when there is no longer a danger.
Before you “Forward” or “Share,” take time and check your facts. It just takes a minute. Or if there is something that just doesn’t sound right, you can go to www.snopes.com to discover if what you’re planning to share is fact, fiction or both. Just taking a few moments will save others a lot of unnecessary strife and anxiety.
Social is a wonderful tool – a giant time suck – but a wonderful tool nonetheless! If something truly needs to be shared to help someone, social media may be the best tool ever. Think kittens looking for a forever home, or a fundraiser for someone in need.
But to make it even better, we all need to follow the rules.
So, let’s all remember…use your turn signal…change the TP (over the top, of course) if you use the last few squares….and when it comes to social, keep it light, keep it fun and keep it real.
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