It is the era of the internet and social media. We now live in a world where there is instant access to information and express communication. With these capabilities and possibilities, it is no surprise that social media is taking a huge chunk of our time every day. According to a survey, a person will spend an average of 1 year and 7 months in his lifetime on Facebook alone. As anyone who has the knowledge of technology can go online and create an account, we must all know how to be mindful in using social media.
Not everyone you meet online is genuine. Even those that you already know could somehow surprise you as that person suddenly becomes different in their online presence.
That could be because when online, there is a security factor knowing that you can either be anonymous, or that no one can really reach you physically. This could lead to a lot of conflict. A few friends during the past election squabbled and ended their friendship because of their different political views. Some relationships called it quits because of the hateful or irresponsible use of social media by a partner or both parties.
How to be Mindful in Using Social Media
How much of your life are you willing to share and with whom? Whatever you post online even after you deleted it stays out there. People are fast in taking a screen shot and sharing. Set boundaries for yourself. Remember that not putting boundaries is an invitation for other people to disrespect you. Keep personal information private. Not everyone in your friend’s list or followers is interested or concerned about you, your whereabouts and your story. Some are just there to get information to talk about or use against you.
Check your settings
Social media platforms have their own privacy settings—all to protect its users from spammers or posers. Use these settings to your advantage. Check who can see your posts, who can share what to you, and most of all, who has visibility to your private information like your email address or contact number and current location. Be mindful of your profile. Remember that not everyone is your friend. Some will use the information they get from you to create another profile using your identity to either scam your friends or destroy your reputation. You’ll be surprised as to how sick it is that some people are doing these for pleasure’s sake.
Think before you click
Before you upload that photo, before you share that information, before you pour your heart out and rant, before you check in your location, before you click “Post” or “Tweet” or “Share”…think. How will that post help others? What is your intention? Is it to gain likes? Is it to share relevant information and warn the public? Will it hurt someone intentionally? Is it to help a friend? Will it offend a certain sector of the society? And is it worth it?
Verify your source
Fake news is everywhere. Especially during the past election, fake websites and fake profiles were created to spread propagandas against different politicians. Sadly, not everyone seems aware that you should not believe everything you read and see on the internet.
Remember, pictures can be Photo shopped, statements can be twisted and stories can be fabricated. Before you believe the headlines and start spreading it by sharing and sending to your contacts, verify your source. Is it from a reliable and reputable website or person? Even the image they use could have been altered for different intentions.
Here’s a tip: right click the photo and choose ‘Search Google for image’. Google will search and list down all the websites from where that image was taken, and show some ‘Similar images’ too.
Be vigilant and trust your gut instinct. If the story doesn’t sound legitimate, do your due research. Ask around. You can even ask someone from the media by sending them a message or tweet.
What’s worse than being a bearer of bad news? A bearer of fake news, that is. Stop spreading confusion and hate. Don’t supporting spammers and fake accounts with the intention of twisting the story and hiding the truth from the public.
Be kind-nay be human
A lot of people suffer from cyber bullying. According to statistics, more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online. Over 25 per cent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. (Bullying Statistics)
It is sad that with our ability and “power” in being bearer of news, most of us choose to spread animosity. Most of us choose to fan the fire even.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind. (Anonymous)
Be human enough and respect others the way you want to be treated. We will not always agree as we all came from different backgrounds; we were raised from a different household (even siblings who grew up together can have different views), we have different religious beliefs, and we have different personalities. If we can understand this and truly and sincerely respect another person and not force what we know in them, the comment section will be hate-free. Oh, that will be the day!
Remember who you are
Unfortunately for those who were raised in the social media era, it seems their self-worth and acceptance is linked to their social media following. If their post did not get as many likes as they wish it had, they feel terrible. Teenagers are especially inclined to be depressed for this shallow reason.
Trying to get more likes and followers will only drive you to fake your posts. You will be driven to create an image that is totally different from who you are in real life.
Remember who you are without social media. The opinion, approval, and affirmation from other people do not matter as much as your self-acceptance. You have to like yourself first and most importantly before anyone can like you. And even if they don’t, your existence and happiness should not depend on them and their opinions. Your value is worth more than the number of likes and followers you get.
We can use social media to our advantage. We can promote our business, we can share our thoughts, and we can stay in touch with our loved ones living abroad or get to know someone we just met.
After all, it looks like it’s here to stay. So let’s use it responsibly and wisely.
#WritingWednesday on The Frangipani Creative is now into its 3rd week. Do join us.
- Fiction: A waft of something flowery washes over your main character as they jog down the street. They turn and follow the scent to someone dancing in the middle of the street to no music while reading a book. (Credit : Self-Publishings School)
- Non-fiction: Write about a ‘missed connection’.