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.