Skip to main content

How to Respond on Social Media



Being on social media nowadays reminds me of the school yard playground when I was a kid. Pretty much everything went unnoticed by the monitors unless a fight broke out or someone ended up taking a spill off the jungle gym.
To survive, you had to learn to look out for yourself. Dust yourself off and keep walking.
Why are we so attracted to this medium?  Is it for entertainment and news, to keep up with friends and family, to build a brand and sell a product, or has it become so much a part of our culture we cannot look away?
Whatever the reason, you have several options in order to survive the social media playground. You can play it safe; you can read and not post or respond. You can choose what you read, deleting posts you find offensive.  You can unfriend and block “friends,” especially those who continually criticize and taunt you, thereby keeping only those who agree with you.  
Or you could jump into the fray. You can post or respond, but remember once you do, you make yourself visible to the schoolyard bullies. You might have to defend yourself, especially if the topic is controversial. 
Before you do, let me suggest a few things.
1.     Read the whole post, not just what shows on the feed, but click on the link and read the whole post, all the way to the end. Follow it to its origin, even if it takes you to the Internet. Double and trip check its sources. Sometimes the thumbnail that was posted on social media is incorrect and intentionally malicious.
2.    Learn which news sources and “fact checkers” are reliable and trustworthy.  Examine their facts and sources.  Be skeptical of those who rush to be first to report and post “news” before sources and facts have been double checked.  News on social media nowadays is a mix between scandal rag and propaganda, so don’t trust it without checking it for yourself first.
3.    Know yourself. You don’t have to confess it on social media but know what will trigger you into a response before tempering your words. Admit your biases and prejudices. Admit that your religious, political, and personal experiences affect how you “see” and feel things. Take a breather before responding.
4.    Weigh your words. Attack the policy or the statement and NOT the person. Keep to the high road, though they probably won’t. In that case, do not get into an argument with them. Ignore them or delete them. Everyone has an opinion on social media and they are not here to listen to someone else’s.
5.    Learn to distinguish fact from opinion, emotionally charged words, politically incorrect and hurtful words, and NEVER resort to name calling.
6.    Remember that facts can easily become gossip, gossip becomes rumor, and rumor leads to slander and libel. Repeated enough times, lies morph into “facts,” so don’t fall for the trap of spreading gossip or rumors because it feeds into your narrative.
Remember, in the famous words of Pat Benatar (ending with levity here), “Love is a Battlefield;” so is social media.  It can get really ugly out there if you chose to take a chance in its playground, so defend yourself with the truth.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.I sputter.I hyperventilate.I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties. I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several).

Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting. Me first: The facts:My mom f…

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt different t…

Grandma’s Dining Table

Twenty five years ago my first husband and I bought a new home with four bedrooms and three baths, but my favorite part of the house was the enormous room you walked into from the front door. It had no dividing wall but the design was to use half of it as a formal living and the other half as a formal dining. From the beginning I decided to make it into one huge dining room that would catch the eye when everyone walked in through the front door of my home.   My three children were very young, but I envisioned them grown and married. We counted five at the time, but one day we would grow to eight, maybe more if we factored in grandchildren, so I bought a table that sat a family of twelve.  My husband thought it silly to look that far ahead and convinced me to buy only ten chairs. The room looked magnificent – the long, majestic table, the ten chairs, the buffet, a couple of real ficus, and a few other nice pieces of furniture – I was pleased. The table lasted longer than the marriage, a…