Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.
This applies more and more to social media. What started out as a tool to keep in touch with friends and family is now a battlefield filled with land mines and the majority of us step into things we should have just moved on from.
You should really treat social media as a place where you have no friends. People will twist your words and make you look the fool quickly.
I’m constantly amazed on Facebook, in particular, how people just post all of their dirty laundry for the world to see. Most people are ignorant. They don’t take the time to lock down their social media pages as well. Not that you should still act the fool if you’ve made your pages private, etc. However, if it’s a public page then you have made it very easy for an employer to decide if you’re the kind of person they want representing them to the public. Everyone will cry about their right to free speech. Doesn’t seem they want to take responsibility for what they put out in the world.
Unless you are dealing with people you have in your phone contacts, don’t get into debates and arguments. There are plenty of times I’ll share something directly with friends off of a platform and discuss. However, I have fallen victim to the baiting for arguments online. I’ve learned some of these lessons the hard way.
What it comes down to is this: When I hit the enter or send key, is this something that I will have to deal with unintended consequences from? Will I have work related issues from? Will I cause unnecessary drama from? If you have any yes answers then you need to decide is what your posting worth what will come from it.
Don’t be friends with co-workers online, especially your management. Don’t post about your workplace online. If you have to vent go elsewhere or better yet, use a journal. That is what I do. If I feel I got something I really need to get off my chest or things to document, I use the Day One journal software. I don’t go off exploding on social media about my issues. You never know who you have in your “friends” list who will take a snapshot of what you’re posting and send it to your employer. A lot of people are also unaware the search engines can show snapshots of pages from the past. So the old saying nothing is ever gone on the internet is very true.
I’m in a position where I work with a few people who I have known for over twenty years. Sometimes I will share something online and I will exclude them. Not that it’s anything bad but part of my personal life I just don’t want to share with them on their page.
Unless you enjoy political arguments I would stay clear of them. Emotions drives a lot of these arguments and people end up feeling a world of hurt and anger that’s not necessary. I’ve made a mistake of giving an opinion on a post only to find I’m dealing with responses from people I don’t know trying their best to make you feel like a foolish person. Usually end up wasting time blocking people and trying to get rid of emotions and feelings that waste your time and energy. For some reason when people are behind a phone app or keyboard they turn into evil jerks! What pops in their mind immediately goes out. Others on purpose try to cut others down because they believe they are smarter than you. In my experience I find lots of people who have lots of book knowledge but no common sense. Don’t be one of those people.
I’ve gotten into debates with people who do nothing but slam “fact” after “fact” at you like you are immediately supposed to be versed on this topic and answer back. When you can’t, then you’re an idiot in their eyes and they do all they can to push your buttons. Between work and taking care of an elderly parent things are tough a lot of times. Throw in a pandemic, social unrest and uncertainty, it’s the worst time to fall for these tactics.
Try to fact check before sharing the latest conspiracy theory. I try to find multiple sources and see if the consensus is the same or do they differ. I’ve made the mistake of quickly sharing something because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and just had to tell everyone. A lot of the mainstream news you need to be careful with as well. Instead of being there as a defender of information for the public I find most have made their biases and political feelings known and it drives their reporting. When I take the time to research a news article and find evidence to not support their gotcha headline I find I get angry. Present the news and give all the facts and let us make up our own minds about what the story means. Don’t edit video clips to support a false position. If I find I am being misled and lied to I find it hard to have solid trust again. So don’t always trust what you read at face value. Question everything until your satisfied you have the facts and know the truth yourself.
Detox from social media. Turn off Facebook and the other apps. Turn off messenger and all the noise. Step outside and breathe real air for a change. Pick up the phone and actually talk to someone instead of texts. Text messages is also another tool that causes much heartburn. People send messages and the intent is lost because someone reads it completely different than intended. If you are discussing something important, pick up phone and call or do video chat instead. Avoid the opportunity for misunderstanding. Maybe show someone you think of them important enough to actually take the time to verbally communicate to them. The best thing I ever did recently was to delete Twitter. The negatively and hate outweighed anything good I gained from having an account. If I go back to it I’ll lock it down and use it for communicating with companies and stuff of that nature.
I hope this entry helps someone in the crazy world we find ourselves in today.