So you're thinking about getting a Captain Morgan tattoo the fold of your left knee; if you asked the opinion of 2,000 of your closest friends, you are going to get a very different answer from them if you asked on Facebook than if you actually sat down with each of them and asked them privately.
That’s the nature of the Social Media beast and you'd better wake up to that fact!
You and I really need the opinions of those who will not give their opinion in front of all of our friends. Even if they are on your “friends” list, they’re not likely to tell you on Twitter or Facebook what you actually need to hear.
I love Social Media but it should come with a warning: "Discretion is an optional install!"
Discretion, my friends, is a sorely missing app on Twitter, and a sadly lacking plugin in Facebook; and if ever we needed to learn to be discrete it is now!
I’m not sure what it is that deludes people into thinking that they can post with impunity but I think it’s time we learned to post with some discretion.
Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt suggests that some day this Social Media Y-generation will have to change their names to rid themselves of the social history they have given themselves, here.
But it's not as simple as changing one's name, and it's only going to get more complex when the Y-gens become parents of little Z-gen and then they become parents of little AA-geners.
The reality is that it’s impossible to undo a digital trail about oneself? Especially if it was true and recorded in the social sphere.
So I have some Social Media discretionary suggestions:
- Don't make a decision which binds you for longer than 6 months based on social media opinion: marriage; tattoos; buying a dog; murder; changing your religion; etc.
If you have a decision to make as weighty as that get a variety of personal opinion, especially from older people who love you enough to tell if they disagree.
Those are the ones who’s advice you actually need, and they are not going to Tweet it to you. They have the best of both worlds; they’re old enough to know the correct answer and they’re not scared to tell you, but you actually have to ask them.
If you find yourself saying, “but why can’t they just get on Facebook,” then you’re probably not old enough to be safe on Facebook by yourself.
And show some respect for goodness sake, go up to them, and ask them personally. None of this, “… well dad you could have told me you didn’t want me to get a bolt through my neck… I did put it in Twitter you know … it’s a bit late now…. Dude.”
If you are only looking for advice that you will like then we will probably meet sometime in a counseling session where you tell me how unfair life has been and how your bad decisions were not your fault; we’ll pick up the conversation then.
Of course if you’re wanting to try a new hair style, shave off your mustache, thinking of seeing a movie or contemplating a vacation spot, then Social Media is the perfect review platform.
- Don’t put pictures or video on social sites of your self or anyone else doing something stupid, dangerous or drunk.
Actually stop doing those things altogether; but, for the sake of my argument, when you’re 47 and desperately in need of job; or when you’re 26 and about to ask the girl of your dream’s dad if you can have his daughter’s hand in marriage; I’ll give you three guesses what the last thing is you’d want them finding: You guessed it… the picture you posted to 2,793 people of you lying in your own vomit when you were 22 #lastnightwasepic!
And if you’re posting those pics of someone else then you’d better stop calling yourself their friend, because that’s one thing you’re not.
- Don’t vent your anger on someone via Social Media. Don’t use their name and don’t do a “you know who you are…”
The impression you leave is that you are too much of a coward to actually tell someone how you feel face to face; and if you have actually told them face to face, then why are you dragging everyone else into your dispute?
You leave us all wondering if either you or your case are not strong enough to stand on its own merits.
- Cryptic pleas for help in Social Media are just lame, “please don’t ask me what’s wrong,” yea right.
If you need help speak to someone who can actually help, even if it’s an e-mail or a direct message.
But casting a hook of desperation into your sea of loose connections is asking for trouble.
- Stop swearing and stop posting swearing videos and images! If you can’t say what you mean without the use of swear words then take a second class in English, get hold of a decent thesaurus or just stop texting!
It’s so much more fun expressing indignation with vocabulary than with coarse reference to sexual or excretory functions… see what I mean?
I hate to lose Social Media connections this way, but I’m just not going to waste my time reading your filthy language.
And yes; wtf is swearing!
- Don’t just write people off because they don’t agree with your view. It makes you, not them, look both wrong and weak.
“Don’t listen to him… he’s just a sad little moron,” kind of talk is so absolutely unnecessary not to mention fallacious!
- Choose your battles,
- Learn the robust art of debate, and the more gentle one of rhetoric, this is the 21st century, it's not that hard.
- Concede when you need to, and
- Stop the conversation when it’s over, give your opponent the last word if you must.
- Just stop for a moment and think. Use some common sense. You will find that this discipline, stopping to think, helps you in every area of your life: What parties you agree to attend, where you put your cell phone, who you marry, etc.
It doesn’t take long, it just takes discipline. The reason why you can think faster than you can text, so that you can think twice.
Ask yourself some real easy questions:
- How many children will be reading this?
- Who’s likely to be hurt if I say this?
- How will this look on a job application?
- Did I read the re-post thoroughly, who is the original poster?
- Do I really think this?
- Would I say this to their face?
- Am I exaggerating?
- Did I quote accurately?
- Did I check the accuracy?
- Choose a decent profile pic.
There is a door to the bathroom so that we don’t have to see you sitting on the toilet. What makes it OK to put yourself on the toilet as your profile pic?
Fun is good, even in a business profile, but there is a line between fun and disgusting, your discretion will help you find it.
If you’re having trouble you’re welcome to ask me, I will help you find it also.
- Pick up your grammar a bit. It’s very hard to be taken seriously when your grammar is broken.
Social Media is a wonderful friend, but it’s a wicked big brother with a memory like an elephant!