Do you like me? √ yes or no…
Our notes are all public now…
Do you remember 3rd grade and getting up enough nerve to pass a similar note to this to a favorite boy or girl? Somehow writing it down gave you the courage you needed to ask the question you didn’t really want the answer to. Knowing there was a chance your love wasn’t returned was a very painful acknowledgement but allowed you to move on and let go of a silly hope that would never be realized.
There is a parallel bit of bravery built in to every social profile. We freely express opinions, no matter how crass or negligent they may seem. I have seen status updates that I know would never said out loud by the individual who posted it. Especially, if they were standing at a podium, in front of mixed company. Yes, of course, we are entitled to our opinions and thoughts. Yes, of course we should be allowed to express our feelings. But at what expense? Should there be a social rule book or social code of ethics?
Where do you draw the line?
I draw the line at reporting my ideas and thoughts on politics and religion on someone else’s profile page, unless I am supporting their thoughts or arguments. And even then, I typically end up NOT clicking the “comment” button. I usually backspace quickly to remove the words I have typed that might seem inflammatory or argumentative or might stir the pot or hurt another’s feelings. In return, if I post to my own profile something I believe in strongly enough to actually post, does that give the right to every one of my friends to comment negatively or dispute? Would they dispute it to my face? Civility is severely lacking…
The difficulty we run into is irrationalism and lack of open-mindedness. From all sides! I expect to be respected as I respect others. This has not been my experience. With hot issues like gay rights or even Atheism at Christmastime, is one’s status update an open call for criticism and ridicule? For denial of Freedom of Speech, either way? This type of issue has cost me. Members of my own family have defriended me on Facebook because, I can only assume, my thoughts on an issue differed from theirs. I would have bet my life that would never have happened.., and I would have lost dearly. And ultimately, I did lose dearly…
A Facebook profile page is like someone’s living room. I would never walk into a friend’s living room and spray paint my thoughts about religion or politics on their wall. I have the books I like in my bookcase, the movies I like in my collection. The artwork I prefer hangs on my walls. These are things I like, things I have chosen to surround me, within my own home. The same can be said for my profile wall. The things I choose to report as a status update are important to me, they say something about me, about who I am. Would you walk into my home and slash my artwork or burn my books? Not without repercussions.
Do not stain my Facebook wall with your opposing thoughts unless I have called out an obvious challenge of thoughts or it is in obvious jest.
Miss Manners must be having a field day when she looks at the landscape which makes up Social Media. “Do unto others as you would have others do to you” seems to have lost its importance in the realm of digital media. The ease with which hurtful and regrettable comments are made is great. Great ease, it is so sad. The speed with which these comments are made is unbelievable. And like ugly gossip, difficult to contain when let loose.
My mom used to tell a story of caution that spreading gossip is like putting a feather on the doorsteps of all you choose to tell gossip to. When you decide you have made a mistake or you want to take back what you have said, try going back to each doorstep and gathering every feather. The task is impossible, the damage has been done. The same can be said for comments made in social media. An imprint has been left, who you are – what you think has been displayed.
Do you think for one minute that you are always right about everything?
There is considerable amount of room for error in this life. Consider that.
Article by Rayanne Thorn
Rayanne Thorn, @ray_anne is the Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy for Technomedia. She is also a proud mother of four, happily engaged to Tom, residing in Laguna Beach, California, and a daily contributor for Blogging4Jobs. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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