The Rules of Social Media

It’s a well-known fact that anything you say or do is going to offend someone out there. Nearly every subject is taboo these days. We tend to write off “haters” on YouTube and other social media sharing sites. Too many of us chalk it up to “whining” and roll our eyes when we hear someone telling us they are offended by whatever it was we said. We’ll mutter about how we can’t please everyone at all times and go about our day. Is that really the way we should be handling these delicate situations?

Photo credit to the Lolcats site.

We are right in thinking that it’s impossible to please every reader every time we publish a piece of media. We should never even attempt to do so. Someone – somewhere – is going to hate whatever we come up with. They’ll rant and rave. They’ll take offense to it for the (seemingly) smallest reason. They’ll send us hateful emails and Tweets. We have to develop a heck of a thick skin in order to survive in the social media landscape.

We also have to be careful not to cross certain lines, though.

While it’s true that we cannot possibly cater to everyone, there are just some areas we should stay the hell away from. For instance, one should never crack a “joke” about domestic violence. In what realm is that ever remotely funny or acceptable? Another area to stay away from would be anything involving pain or suffering to children. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen those tasteless “dead baby jokes.” I’ve never lost a child, nor had any of my own. I tend to have a pretty weird sense of humor, but I fail to find how those types of “jokes” can possibly be funny.

Unless your blog or site is geared specifically towards religion or politics, those are both areas you likely should stay away from. While it’s great for you to have the beliefs you do, it’s so easy to offend a large number of your readers. I understand that you shouldn’t be ashamed of how you feel – and I’m not telling you to. I’m simply gently suggesting that perhaps you should leave those types of discussion for people you know on a personal level. You may likely not want to throw money into the mix. YOU may be able to afford a lot of gadgets and gizmos, but I’m willing to bet that many of the people you’re writing for cannot in this economy.

Sending out a Tweet or Facebook status which belittle the seriousness of rape, incest and those with any type of disability is simply NOT COOL, folks. Period. I see these types of things on a daily basis. Each time, I sit here shaking my head and wondering where these people’s sense of decency went when they logged on to the Internet that morning.

Take a step back and think before you write.

While you cannot help but upset or offend someone out there in the world, you absolutely should be asking yourself before posting/publishing “Is this going to seriously hurt someone? Will my words or actions offend a lot of people? Is this something I TRULY want the world to know me for?”

In the past, I’ve told you to watch what you say online. Once it’s out there – it stays there. Nothing is permanently deleted or forgotten. The same holds true when you offend a large amount of people. You will never get back the trust and respect of that segment of your community. All I’m saying is be careful. If you’re in doubt – check with someone. If you are unsure whether your post may be a bit on the questionable side, ask a few people whom you trust what they think. Believe me, they’ll let you know if it’s worth taking that risk or not.

9 thoughts on “The Rules of Social Media”

  1. What should happen is the exact opposite. The audience should care about the truth more than anything else. In other words, writers should offend the large audience to let them know that what they say doesn’t matter. Besides, having an audience that doesn’t like what a writer writes in the first place is not good. Those who deserve the truth are those with open-minds and will listen to both sides of the story equally. Readers need to move on past the words and really think with empathy on what the writer is trying to convey. Rather than becoming emotionally attached to words, the readers need to open their minds and learn more about themselves by reading and extending their knowledge of the world’s opinions. How can we grow and evolve as a human race if all we do is become “offended” and put down other’s ideas?

  2. It’s a shame you write a beautiful article on how people should be mature and watch their actions before they think… and there is still going to be those few who are going to argue the point because they are” Jocks”.

  3. What if you post, everyone agree’s that it’s cool, ok, funny, fine but someone still gets wound up over it? As you say, you will never please everyone, but sometimes some people need to take a reality check on life and everything around them.

  4. You still have to watch what you say it is common sense.. How about it somebody stepped on your toes would u think that is funny?

  5. Well its OK if you’re an equal opportunity offender, right? I mean, where’s the fun in restraint?

  6. I have a very simple rule about any type of electronic communication with others: I won’t send content unless I would feel comfortable testifying about it in a court case. This does not mean that I don’t express my opinions about issues that concern me, it does mean that I express myself in a manner that doesn’t hurt others. I get really upset when posters use derogatory language about those whom they disadree with and also calling them names like idiot, troll, or worse.

  7. Suggestion: If you’re planning to post something that’s probably out of line, consider what’s likely to happen when you’re trying to find a job where you have to work with others (that’s most of them of course). “Step away from the keyboard…”

  8. Political correctness has gone too far. Blacks can’t talk about Whites, Whites can’t talk about Hispanics, nobody can talk about Native Americans, Republicans can’t talk about Democrats, etc. etc. etc. … all because someone might be offended. Lighten up, people. If you’re talking (or emailing, or tweeting) with a friend and that friend offends you, you’ve got to make a decision. Do you end the dialogue and keep the friendship or end the whole friendship. When you think about it, it’s a rather simple concept in all of life. Don’t like what your spouse said? Get over it or get a divorce. Don’t like what your boss said? Get over it or get a new job. Justquitcherbitchin’!!!

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