I used to love social media – not Facebook, I came to that pretty late and got bored very quickly. I find WhatsApp immensely useful for talking to friends/ family as a group chat, but I’ve fallen out of love with Twitter.
I joined Twitter to promote my writing but quite quickly got involved with many colourful and apparently friendly people with whom I could converse – either on the open forum or more privately using direct message (if we followed each other). It seemed a great way to befriend people. I could read their ‘thumbnail’ sketch on their Twitter profile, like reading the blurb of a book before deciding to dive in.
Let’s slow down here – be aware people can write whatever they like in their own profiles. They can make themselves younger/older, a different gender, basically they can curate themselves into whatever persona it suits them to appear to have. This can be a problem – tread with a little caution.
Don’t assume people will show, by their interactions with other Twitter folk, their true colours. Just as in real life, people can be two-faced or have an agenda. For some their agenda would be to raise their profile, promote their books, their blog, their podcast, increase their followers. Warning: social media also assists those wanting to tear others down to improve their successes.
We are advised not to take what we hear in the news or read in the papers at face value, so apply this to conversations on Twitter, but more so. Any message can spread very fast: good or bad, true or false. Without seeing the entire conversation, the context can be misconstrued (this is particularly true of sub-tweets). Please establish the facts for yourself before taking an opinion on board or passing it on to others.
Staying in the herd can seem a safe place, stepping away from people about whom you ‘hear’ rumours, but consider what it feels like in their shoes. Can you remember at school, not bullying someone, but standing back and doing nothing while someone’s the focus of unpleasant attention? Would such inaction make you feel hot with shame if you were there in person?
I’m not against people having their say, but I’ll quote Kilted Wookie whose blog I visit “users sometimes forget that when they embark on one of their keyboard crusades, they are actually dealing with real people with real emotions and real feelings, not just a faceless entity sat at another screen.” Go gently and with care and caution, even if with the full ‘social media’ picture we cannot know what is going on behind the scenes, in the real lives of the participants. We haven’t walked in their shoes, tolerance is always necessary.
We are human, we will make mistakes. from which we to move forward. I offer genuine apologies for any hurt caused, while endeavouring to adjust my attitudes, educating myself whenever a gap is identified.
Social Media – use with caution.
This post is linked up to #WickedWednesday for the prompt Social Media.