By Allan Olingo
The social network platform has presented pitfalls that have seen cyber manners drop to a pitiful low level.
Just recently, a group of teenagers went on a rage on Twitter, washing their dirty linen in public to the amazement of the Tweet Ville.
See, one of them had busted her boyfriend cheating on her and she decided to go public on Twitter about his poor sexual performance while also abusing the third girl. Things got nasty when the third girl revealed, to the amazement of Tweet Ville, that she has always been HIV positive and that she had no regret in infecting the two. No one could verify these claims, or even the Twitter accounts, but at the end of the day, they had all failed in cyber manners.
In truth, cyber manners are really no different from everyday communication manners. As much as the social networks provide anonymity, it is always good never to say anything online that you would never say to people’s face. This sounds simple yet cyberspace misbehaviour is running rampant. It’s easy for teens, and even some adults, to get off course when it comes to ‘behaving’ on the social networks. After all, if we choose to, we can remain anonymous. The use of a clever user name and no photo means I can say whatever I want, right?
This is a wrong perception. Censoring what you share and say online is key in remaining a respectable member of the online community. Just because she dumped you doesn’t give you the right to go on the offensive on her Facebook wall or even timeline on Twitter, with insults.
Don’t post things when you’re angry. It’s never a good idea.
My forays into online forums have been to say the least, disappointing. People get tetchy about all sorts of things and respond in annoyance, and next thing you know, you have a flame war going. Even worse is that the only posts that seem to get attention are the ones where somebody is fighting.
Where are the serious, thoughtful, polite discussions and updates? Where are manners when choosing an online user name? Have you ever gotten a friend request from a despicable name like Josh Uleanapendamadame? Really?
• Politeness: It really doesn’t have to be a face-to-face conversation but when posting an update or even commenting on people’s status updates, their walls or even time lines, be courteous.
• Chatting and even texting may seem fast and impersonal, yet courtesies like pls and ty (for please and thank you) are common text terms.