THE PAST AND THE PRESENT
People change over time. People post things to their social media as a ways of letting distant friends have a glimpse of their life. What was funny to us 10 years ago might not seem so funny now. If we had the chance to go back and see everything we posted in our younger days, we’d probably would want to delete a few posts. We’d also certainly cringe at other posts. Don’t post something today that you’ll regret tomorrow.
CONSIDER YOUR CIRCLE
A lot of things we see may seem innocent or funny to us, but will everyone it reaches agree? When making post, our audience is an important factor to consider when posting on social media. If you’re posting on your personal account, you should gauge your social media connections. Are they all agreeable to your stance? If they aren’t, are they family and close friends who already know and accept your beliefs? If you answered no, maybe you should consider tightening your social media circle. After all, your audience is your choice. You can always remove the connections that aren’t agreeable to you and have a social media account that’s more representational of you.
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
If you’re a business, it’s best to stay neutral on all controversial topics, especially regarding politics. You could be serving people on both ends of the political spectrum, and you wouldn’t want to alienate a large portion of your customer base. (This of course changes if you work for a nonprofit or political affiliate, where taking a hard stance is part of the organization’s daily operations.)
We’ve all run into a person online we’ve disagreed with, just like we’ve all run into someone in real life we’ve disagreed with. The difference is, we’re less inclined to start an argument with a stranger in real life than with someone online because there’s a facade of privacy on social media. When’s the last time you changed someone’s mind online? Better yet, when’s the last time someone changed your mind online? If we’re being honest, it’s highly unlikely that anything positive can come of arguing with an internet stranger. In real life, there are conferences and public forums to discuss ideas with our opponents. On the internet there are online forums, niche blogs, and chat rooms to participate in controversial discord. Not everyone on Facebook wants to know why you think dogs are superior to cats in every way imaginable. Think about the channel you’re on before posting your opinion.
USE COMMON SENSE
If you’re questioning whether or not you should post something — don’t! After all, when’s the last time you were regretful for not sharing something online? Chances are never. However, I’m certain that we’ve all done something online we’ve wanted to take back—and that’s okay—social media is a relatively new platform to us, and we’re all learning as we go along. It’s why discussions like this are so important, so we can grow from, and improve upon our mistakes. Our memories serve us well, so next time you are contemplating posting a risky link/meme, remember a time you wish you hadn’t.