Before social media platforms became a thing, there have been salient rules governing our dealings with people, the way we interact with them, the things we say, and how we position ourselves generally around people. With an increase in the popularity and usage of social media, most of these rules have been modified to fit the social technology space we now find ourselves.
Below are 9 “DO NOTs” on the social media space:
- Do not post pictures/videos of anyone on social media without their consent: Best practice is to get people’s consent before putting their picture(s)/video(s) on any social media platform except the person(s) in question is/are a close family member or a celebrity. The only exception would be if that particular picture/video has been used by said person(s) on social media at some point in time which means they are comfortable sharing it publicly. Posting pictures/videos of people without their consent may* be an infringement of their privacy.
- Do not share gruesome images or videos: A good example is sharing/posting pictures of dead bodies in dishonorable states e.g. burnt humans, bloody scenes, dismembered body parts. These are no-nos. Other examples are pictures and videos that include nudes of other people or any image that shows them in their vulnerable state. Sharing unsolicited videos of sexual activities on social media or groups you belong to is unacceptable. If you must share (for reasons best known to you), always add a disclaimer, this helps prepare people’s minds on what they are about to see.
- Do not troll: One of my social media mantras is, “if I can’t say it to you in person, I won’t say it on social media”. There is no difference between a troll and a bully. Before you use unkind words on social media, ask yourself these four questions. Is it kind? Would it hurt? What is my aim? Can I say this to xxx in person? Answering these questions might be a good place to start. Whatever you decide on, don’t troll people on social media.
- Do not make unplanned video calls: I don’t think it is appropriate to make unplanned video calls except you are sure the person you are calling is in the know and is okay with it. This is like butting in on someone in their home without knocking. The most ridiculous is when total strangers try to video call people on social media platforms. The question is: what exactly are they looking for?
- Do not consistently tag people on every random post you write/share on social media except there is a mutual understanding in doing so. A good example of this would be Facebook. It’s okay to tag your friends or family on posts once a while, but tagging people (especially random people) to unsolicited posts over and over again is not okay.
- Do not consistently broadcast irrelevant articles on social media groups. Avoid posting a series of irrelevant articles and messages on social media groups except the group is for close friends and family where there is a mutual understanding of this practice (WhatsApp in particular). Another reason could be if you are the group’s admin and you have to do so. If not, spare innocent group members and contact these consistent random broadcasts. They may not tell you out rightly but they have had their fill.
- Do not react to a social media post without first reading and understanding the subject matter: Read before reacting. Imagine writing “Happy Birthday” on a post that is supposed to be announcing a person’s demise? Or commenting ‘RIP’ on a post that is supposed to be a testimony of a near-death experience? These and many more may happen to people who do not read before reacting. If you do not have the luxury of time to read an entire post or article (probably because of the length) it is okay to skip and return when you have the time. This would save you unnecessary embarrassment.
- Do not circulate stories that are outright lies: There are conspiracy theories and there are LIES. Do not circulate lies, especially when it involves other people’s lives and integrity. Be careful what you help share and propagate. Considering how small the world has become, think twice before you share untrue stories about others and events.
- Do not misrepresent yourself on social media: Be sure that your actions and in-actions on social media do not misrepresent you and what you stand for. This is a bit tough but if you pay attention and are intentional, you should be very close enough.
To be continued…