There is no doubt the impact of social media on our society. It’s huge.
It seemed strange the first time I heard a news story refer to a Twitter feed as a “source” of information. Now it’s commonplace. Employers often review a person’s social media prior to hiring them. Friendships are made and lost through what’s posted online. Who would have thought that just a few years ago? We now “follow” those we are most interested in and “unfollow” those we aren’t — yet we remain “friends”. The number of “likes” and “favorites” determines some people’s sense of well-being or worth for a day. Crazy.
But, it’s the culture in which we live.
More than likely, most of those who are reading this post will make a post of their own today. It could be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any of the other dozens of forms of social media. And, if not posting for yourself — you’ll be reading the post of another.
With so much activity it seems harder to know what to post and when. One thing I do frequently in my profession is help people think through making the right decisions in life. I don’t want to make decisions for people, so many times I use questions to help them process on their own. I thought I’d provide some questions to think through your social media posts.
Here are 7 questions to ask before you post on social media:
Who is going to read this?
Think through future employees, friends of friends, family members, etc. It’s amazing how many times I didn’t know someone was even keeping up with me comments on something I have posted.
How will it impact the reader?
How would it impact you if you were to read something like this? Would it hurt your feelings, make you angry, or would it motivate or encourage you? There’s nothing wrong with simply being funny or sharing something of interest — even helping to shape public opinion. But, a mature person (certainly a believer) thinks through how others will be impacted by what we post.
Will they understand my intent?
It’s more difficult to communicate intent in a written format. In person you would have more opportunity to explain yourself, use hand and facial gestures to help clarify, etc. Read it back to yourself and think like someone else who may be reading it — maybe someone who doesn’t know you well.
Can it easily be misconstrued or taken out of context?
Remember, you only have what’s written. There’s no “background” to the story or supplemental information. Will they “get” what you’re intending to be “got”?
Do I want this around for a very long time?
Because once it’s posted — it’s forever.
Am I acting in anger, frustration, or vengeance?
We seldom communicate most effectively when we act out of emotions. We usually say things we wouldn’t say under more “normal” circumstances. Do you need to hold the post until your emotions have calmed and see if you still feel the same way?
Is this the wisest way to express myself?
Or, is there a better way to accomplish what you hope to accomplish? For example, if it’s really aimed at only one person, would it be better to make a phone call? If it’s addressing a larger concern, is your post going to make things better — or further add negativity to an already tense situation?
Are there any questions you would add to help us discern better posts?