Just think, you are sitting behind a screen with nobody looking over your shoulder as you read this. You can be tempted to waive any common courtesy and personal discretion because you think you are anonymous. I find it interesting that people feel protected behind avatars and aliases, privacy controls and the alleged small viewership of their online affairs, but the fact is that we really don't know who reads about us, has researched us or saved online mementos of us to their mental or computer hard drives. I have to admit that managing our online reputation and online relationships require a level of self consciousness and some tact. There is no "net police" to ensure we deliver our social graces, but that is why we need to be reminded of "netiquette" or "Web Etiquette." The gauging questions for all online activities should be: "would I do this in a face to face relationship and is the essence of the conversation fit for everyone to see?"
I have said it before and I will say it again, "I think that people self disclose too much on FACEBOOK and social media in general." What I have found in the lives of people (maybe even you) is that many people have started to avoid difficult conversations by simply sending an email, an update or a tweet. Generally speaking, sensitive conversations should occur face to face. If you are a believer that Matthew 18:15 is a verse that you MUST live by. Let me refresh this for you! "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." This is where many believers #fail...actually #epicfail! Instead of setting time aside to meet with people face to face we throw our 'stuff" out on the web with no discretion (to which I would say that many people are cowards!) #justsaying
Listen, face to face conversation limit the possibility of misunderstandings and allow for the nuances of facial expression and inflection. It's personal and it is biblical. If the individual or individuals are open to having a face to face meeting, a third space such as a coffee shop will diminish feelings of awkwardness. Phone conversations are second best, but still a good alternative.
Publicizing a private conversation on a wall post, in case it isn't obvious, is open to all to see. FACEBOOK wall posts are completely public to all your friends (unless you tweak your privacy settings). So, I come back to my original point that private matters should be handled privately and if at all possible, face to face.
Think about it, you're leaving your digital signature on the Internet right now...ON MY BLOG. I have your IP address, I know when you come in and go out; I know what page you have come in on and what page you left; I know how long you have been on this blog and I know when you come back; I know if you commented or not, even if you think you are anonymous. I know! (but actually I don't care) With all that in mind, think about the consequences of our engagement on any social site. Racial slurs, criticisms without warrant and blatant abuse! These don't fly in real life, and they really have no place in the social media simply because you feel that you are anonymous on these sites.
We need to consider how our comments would be perceived before we actually post them and think about logic above emotion at all times. Above all, think about maintaining a certain level of professionalism since people can use whatever you make "permanent" on these sites against you. Before you hit "post" realize that this will be a permanent reflection of your identity and that it may never be erased. It may even be used against you. This even applies to those who play FACEBOOK games during office hours. I have heard it said "My boss is not one of my friends." That may be true but our world has been made so small because of social media that you have no idea who is connect to who and how. I am amazed how many people have lost their jobs because of a momentary lapse of judgment and posted or played a mindless game on FACEBOOK during office hours.
Try not to carry out private conversation with another person on a FACEBOOK wall or Twitter. Those excluded from the conversation are left to read through the back and forth dialogue as either unwilling or overly interested bystanders (Creepers). By skimming through someone's wall post, you can easily find out where people are working, who they are seeing, where they have traveled and where they currently reside. There are available privacy setting for restricting who views your wall....then use them, not just to protect your own privacy but also the privacy of others, but then there are ways to get around that as well...many of your friends have their settings wide open!
Remember that social media communities are real relationships, real conversations, and as such they should be treated like they are real. It is not about me, myself and I mentality. It is about the collective, the community and the common good. Every post we write needs to be purposeful, on topic and well thought out, otherwise you are wasting people's time on screening and filtering. We have all seen trivial posting on FACEBOOK, Twitter and some blogs, about the banal daily activities that people engage in. If you are a movie star, being followed by a fan-struck populace, maybe they all want to know when you brush your teeth, but for everyday people, this is just overcrowding the web with information clutter. If you must share your daily travails with intimate friends, then create a private group of those closest to you, or use the social network's email service to connect directly to them and them alone.
On another note, I am convinced that many people abuse application invites and consistently invite friends to participate in "vampire, mafia or farm"games that most don't really care about. We call this SPAM! A word to the wise, if your friends are interested they will likely join without your encouragement. If they don't accept the first time, then don't send the group request again! Ask people to join via an email, wall post or direct message...
There is no place for narcissism in social media. Another SPAMMY thing to do is to use your social network for self-promos (ie: daily status updates on your next sales event- or whatever). If that is the only reason you use social media, you will find that people will lose interest in what you are doing. If you, however, "salt and pepper" your account with other interesting tidbits and correspondence then people are more apt to follow you! BTW people get tired quickly of posts that are always negative and how hard your life is... #justsaying Try being positive and #lookonthebrightside of life. Also, posting on how a business is rude or money robbing, maybe one that represents "unwashed vermin" reflects a lack of professionalism and integrity on you as well.
I share these with you because I am concerned that many folks, especially believers are defaulting to hiding behind a screen and not interacting with people the way that GOD intended.