Social Media – Use And Abuse

images2In just a few years, significant part of the world has connected itself with an expanding web of social media. Information flows across the world in just a few minutes and people start sharing their opinions within no time. Social media today has provided this generation a platform where sharing thoughts, ideas, news, jokes, videos, articles etc, has become so easy that it takes only a few taps or clicks to share or re-share any of the electronic media in no time. Wow !

In the older days when broadcasting news, sharing thoughts and opinions used to be in control of media like newspaper, radio and some television channels, then there were only a few organizations that had ability to broadcast media contents. This allowed lot more control on the contents as it was just a few people in those organizations who had the ability to control the contents. This control not only enforced obvious responsibility of the contents on the broadcasters, it also gave them power to manipulate the contents in favor or against influential people or entities like political parties or large business organizations etc. Even after all this, misuse of this power & control was not much heard of and that helped media to maintain its reputation for a very long time.

Today, with the popularity of social media, the responsibility and control of the media contents has slipped down to the users of social media, which could be anyone including teenagers or even younger crowed in some cases. While social media is evolving with such a fast pace, we all need to evolve with it, in terms of  what we should publish, how frequently we should publish and how we should perceive contents that are published by others. We need to learn a few things quickly so we can guide the younger generation in best possible direction that help them adapt social media in more constructive way.

First thing is to learn that electronically published contents are not as reliable as they were several years ago. Readers must now authenticates the contents for their truthness before believing them or sharing them with others, by checking following very basic things.  First,  if the url of website is real or real-like fake, second, who is the publisher of the contents? someone known, popular or reputed organization or unknown, third, what is the source of the contents, meaning who or what or where the contents were originated even if they are shared by someone you may trust and finally the fourth check if the contents itself are authentic or not, meaning if they are made up, Photoshoped etc, particularly when the contents are hard to believe, shocking, sensational or provoking, and it can be easily done by googling about the same thing you are reading.

Second thing is preventing yourself from becoming a victim of some notorious ad-campaign that generally come through catchy image or tricky statements and user clicks it without thinking much about it. I get amazed by the tricks used by Facebook-applications on innocent Facebook users everyday. Users don’t even realize that a shared content that they clicked few minutes ago was inappropriate and now shared with all of their friends on their behalf without user’s knowledge. First, it is self embarrassing when user realizes the mistake and minutes after it becomes embarrassment in public. Facebook-apps could, not only cause humiliation, it may also cause identity theft. Unfortunately most of the users have no clue about capabilities of facebook-apps.

Third comes the etiquette of writing a post. What to post, how frequently to post etc. Again taking example of Facebook as it is being the most popular social media channel, it is also the one which is mostly abused. There is very fine line between use and abuse and when we cross it we mostly don’t realize it, and it is OK to do so once in a while as we don’t live in a perfect world. But what are the things that we need to watch for? How do we know if we going overboard? Recently I read about obsessive compulsive disorder of checking emails, forwarding email, sharing news etc and I realized that there may be many of the social media users who could be victim of OCD related to FB activities without the knowledge of it. So if you are posting more than 5 times day on Facebook on daily basis, then you may be not only revealing too much information about yourself which could attract online predators, but also heading towards FB OCD. Mostly, a couple of posts in a day or in few days should be good enough on an average. Talking about ‘what’ to post, is again subjective but if you are posting jokes/funny videos/images of Gods/general news/daily weather/daily horoscope or anything similar on daily basis, just because you have found one place to grab them and post them, then you have become official spammer. you are spamming your friend’s FB-feed. A good practice would be to bring in variety in your posts contents and frequency both. Since Twitter is bit different and is more like, several-people-chatting-in-a-room about a topic, requires its own kind of attention. Since user does not realize the size of of audience (followers), he or she some times ends up becoming victim of spontaneity. Twitter users tend to lose control on communication because of the less formal environment and say too much or too harsh in aggravated situation. Saying too much is more dangerous when it is said in writing. You may have seen or heard some celebrities saying or tweeting too much or too harsh in a situation like this and later apologizing for the same or getting into bigger problems. Always remember once you click “post”, you can not take your words back.

So my friends, as a bottom line, all I want to say is that, in online world, more people can see you, read you, hear you than real world and everything happens in writing which becomes evidence of itself, so please be more vigilant, be more careful, be more polite, be more sensitive and be wise at all times.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply