SM is social media; everybody needs to grow up here. A seventy-year old quickly regresses when they have to poke, tweet or double-tap. A ten-year old never matures beyond likes or lack thereof. These are the unsaid rules of social media etiquette:
Do not mix your circles if you have split-personality
Case in point: I am a leader in the mosque but a good dancer at my friend’s bridal shower-clash! Can you imagine when my workmates catch photos of me partying when I had called in sick, even if it was a surprise party thrown for me?
Spare us the tell-all
Case in point: Ever met someone you know in detail but have never physically interacted with? Have you heard of kidnap cases where assailants tracked the victims through their Facebook posts? Have you been part of relationships, fights, dates, parties that should have been left out of the virtual space? Do not fall prey to the fake lifestyles of taking photos beside people’s cars.
Case in point: The Bow-Wow Challenge, Morgan Heritage with their fake crowds; these are just a few examples to note. Be ready to get a call asking you to pull down the pics or else have a brawl over baby mommas asserting parentage rights over baby photos. Some people need permission before you post their photos while some may specify when the photos should be posted….
Mind your language
This is for the Khoikhoi (xaxa, xtian) and those irritating words devised to make text-reading a pain. Swiping is a talent and denies the excuse for wasting your school fees on non-universal abbreviations like ikr, h r u, GOAT. One cannot tell if it is typos or a baby playing with your keyboard-ask my spellchecker.
Take time to read, look and listen
We are too eager to tell stories rather than listen. We hold out of therapeutic conversations, at times as a form of emotional blackmail. We forward job alerts, jokes, memes, religious texts without reading to verify the intended message.
Case in point: Pressing send can feel like a room where everyone tries to shout the loudest but no one listens. If the noise is too loud, shut it off and focus on dialogues or discussions. It is okay to meet an opposing opinion as long as no freedoms are infringed. Nonetheless, do not depend on comments or emojis to validate popularity or to substitute real-time interaction.
No matter how modern we get
Posting nudes (full, semi or quadri) will never be girl-power or a mark of feminism. Leaking sex tapes…I cannot even go there. Good and bad still exist in the real world, so do not ignore them in the virtual space.
Doom and gloom comes with a sign
Case in point: You come across an accident scene and you upload a photo. Nothing wrong, you think, I am just sharing a bad thing with the world. What if 3 years down the line you get a photo of a corpse of a loved one, in the same spirit of sharing? Graphic images should not be shared without captioning a warning, request or consent to alert members.
In groups, things can get haywire. We should be aware that conversations are between people not walls or timelines. How about a greeting before talking? Or limiting dialogues unless you want to chip in? Or settling private matters in public? If it gets heated, leave the group silently before starting any fights. Cyberbullying is saying mean things to people that you would be too cowardly to say upfront.
I know some people think God made social media to vent but it will never replace prayer. When it comes to tackling tiffs, these are best combated the old-fashioned way-straight up.
Case in point: I bet you know households where people are arguing by virtue of their posts. There are religious texts quoted, blog articles shared, photos with captions or songs with strong messages where people are tagged. If you are unlucky, you come across those with no filters. They name and shame, tsk tsk.