Consider this a Public service announcement, and a thread starter.
You all should know these things but sometimes they are better off written, read aloud, and repeated. I’ve codified three basic rules you should follow when posting online, if you value a harmonious existence. And despite what you may think not all people do. It takes courage to be divisive, to polarize or to pick a side. And more often than not standing by those guns will win you both favor with some and loose the respect of others. Some people can not take advice nor information from people who think differently than they do. All that being said, if you are online for the fun, if your a student using Facebook for a hoot or a mild mannered accountant just looking to reach out this article is for you.
Three simple rules you should follow and you will find your digital closet skeleton free and your online life harmonious.
1.)Always do a First draft. Your grade school teacher was right when she or he said that you should always write your unadulterated thought out first and then go back to edit later on. What she neglected to tell you is that you shouldn’t let others read this. I know that personally my own thoughts without the filter in place are harsh, crass at times and not nearly as funny to others as I think they are personally. You want examples? Your not going to get them, because frankly any examples I give would defeat this purpose. In fact you should SEE the malarkey that I had written before the editor’s eye passed back along these parts. The truth of the matter is just by writing the letter that is never sent you feel vindicated to a certain extent, and when you edit back the details, the harsh quips, the cutting remarks put in for shock value, to be hurtful, or simply because they sounded good at the time, you are left with a well thought out piece. Addition by subtraction is sometimes your best bet.
2.) Think before your publish. There are two very important components of that simple tenant. Blogs are like a tattoo once published they can exist forever. So one wrong word and you could be answering for the ramblings of a naive 18 year old for decades to come. That sounds harsh but it is reality. The second thing you simply must consider is your network. No this isn’t Verizon with a heard of telephone technicians following you. But just as you check the sources of your information before you use it as fact you should run down a checklist before you click submit. Will my family read this? Will my boss read this? Will my employee’s read this. If you answer yes to each one of those questions and it makes you uncomfortable its to to do a second draft. Information wants to be free, just because you send Alex and email and tell him about a hot date you had there is nothing other than courtesy to keep him from spreading your tale around. Writing is a relationship, you are going to not only trust your readers but the people your readers trust as well, and so on.
3.) Mean what you say. Be prepared to defend what you say. You may think the simplest statement will pass by people unaware, be we now live in a global society and different actions, phrases and customs dictate people’s reactions in ways you cannot begin to understand nor predict. If you feel confident in what you are writing simply be prepared to defend it as a personal belief, and try not to take offense if something you said comes off differently to others. Understand that in a true multicultural society there is no commonly agreed upon definition for anything, and embrace that as a price of doing business. The real value is not in what you say, contrary to popular belief, but rather in the discussion it engenders.
Bonus Material:) Pictures speak louder than words. I would like to think this explains itself. Indeed i would love to add a silly picture to this little section but I wouldn’t want to take away from the statement. Anything captured in the lens can be taken a myriad of different ways without you there to explain it.
These rules might seem restrictive, and they are. But its also a very important concept to grasp for both young and old alike, you words and postings will live beyond you, and present themselves without you to explain them. So it is not that I want people to be tentative when writing but rather that I want them understand the dangers and the joys as one whole package, inseparable from each other. Embrace the chaos, the nonsense and the dangers and face them well-armed henceforth.