I know I’m stating the obvious when I write that social media plays a significant role in our lives. It’s hard to get away from since so many people and organizations make use of it. I can’t count the number of times I have been asked if I have Twitter or Snapchat.
Social media can be a great tool. It has facilitated the sharing of ideas and information to people in ways we could have never imagined. One of the benefits of having Facebook is that I can stay connected with friends who I knew from when I lived in Saudi Arabia or when I went to college at Ole Miss. I can see pictures of friends to see how they are doing and I can learn about significant life events of theirs as I scroll through my news feed at my leisure. This makes it easier for them too because they do not have to write several emails or make several phone calls or texts to different people to keep them posted about what is going on in their lives. It is also helpful for me to scroll down my news feed and see posts or videos about current events from pages or people I am following.
One of the challenges of social media is that you have to remember that communicating through this platform is not the same as talking to a person face-to-face or over the phone. It can sometimes be difficult to understand the context of a person’s status update or tweet. It is also not at all private. My rule for putting something on social media is this: if you can’t say it everywhere, you can’t say it anywhere. It is also possible to spread false information about events or people. This is unacceptable because it is harmful to people’s reputation and dishonest.
Social media is also a tool which can leave people needlessly hoping for attention if they are not careful. In their quest to achieve likes or retweets, less is worse and has the potential to make some people feel like they are not looked at as favorably by their followers or friends in person since they won’t affirm them online. In the most severe cases, this craving for approval by social media can cause people to spend so much wasted time hoping to be affirmed that it wastes time at work or limits important face-to-face relationships with actual people.
This is not to say that everything you put on social media won’t draw some negative reaction. You cannot please everyone. I am only saying that if you use social media, use it humbly and with noble intentions for the good of yourself and for other people.