Social Media: Think before you post
by Lindsay Halliwell, 08 January 2016
Chances are that you’ve not only heard about social media but you’re using at least one of the many different social channels on offer. The increasing range of portable technology such as smartphones and tablets coupled with wifi and 4G means that people are able to project their thoughts and feelings in an instant.
Research shows that the average attention span reduced from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. Coupled with the perceived need to be ahead of the game, in an internet world that never sleeps, ill thought out comments are likely to haunt you in the public domain indefinitely.
According to research, 91% of future employers take to Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook to screen candidates and 70% of employers polled in 2011 said they had rejected a candidate due to something they posted on a social networking site.
The rise of Facebook and Twitter means that opinion sharing websites such as these are encouraging us to rely increasingly upon the thoughts of others at a time when we don’t always have time to properly consider them. Whether you re-tweet or post your comment upon someone else’s, the act of posting or re-tweeting is your responsibility.
A poll of those using technology found that over half felt that their lives had been changed by social media sites with half of those feeling that their lives had altered for the worse. A quarter had been left facing issues at home or at work after becoming confrontational online. The contagious effect of emotions that we experience in our ‘real lives’ is just as powerful in our ‘digital lives’.
The guidelines below are provided to assist all social media users:
- Think before you post: If you’re feeling emotional about a subject, don’t act on impulse but delay making your comment until you’re calm and can think objectively.
Consider the level of sensitivity: If the content of your post or tweet wouldn’t be deemed acceptable for face to face conversation, over the telephone or in any other written communication, it won’t be acceptable for a social media site.
- Maintain privacy: Do not disclose confidential and private information or photographs without seeking the permission of the individuals involved. Be aware that posting your own personal information could make you vulnerable to crimes such as identity theft and harassment.
- Bear in mind your audience: If your comments openly criticise someone or are generally negative think about the effect on them when they read your comment.
- Be conscious of liability: Using video or audio excerpts could infringe copyright and design rights and making comments or re-posting/tweeting others’ that could harm someone’s reputation could be deemed defamatory or libellous.
Social media has revolutionised the ease with which we can communicate with the world but with the advantages that it brings, it also creates dangers. Ultimately, if you want to join in, be informed and be polite; do not assume what is said is true and if you are the subject of gossip treat it for what it is. Social media has its place and in the main it is rewarding as an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family but in some cases the risks involved can far outweigh the benefit. If in doubt, be a RATBAG - “Read And Think Before Answering Generally”.