While campaigning for husband and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, his wife, Melania Trump, had declared that she would combat cyberbullying if she becomes the First Lady of the United States. She is reported to have said, “It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground, and it is unacceptable when it’s done by someone with no name hiding on the internet.”
This statement was made by her after a brief absence from Trump’s campaigns following the bullying and mocking she faced on the internet when parts of her 2016 Republican National Convention speech were found to be plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Cyberbullying, the act of harassing individuals through IT networks, is increasingly becoming a menace in today’s world. It happens both knowingly and unknowingly, and pleading ignorance will not get one out of sticky situations. Individuals should abide by a set of rules while interacting with others on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Here is a guide to social media etiquette that everyone ought to know and follow.
1. Do not use social media platforms as an emotional dumping ground
Avoid using social media to vent out all your emotions. True that you may come across a few posts that your emotional state could relate to, but you don’t have to share them all. You will come off as an attention-seeking drama queen.
2. Avoid excessive posting and sharing
Limit the number of social media posts to at most five per day. Anything more can be seen as going overboard. Ask yourself this: How many times have you muttered a curse under your breath seeing multiple posts from a single individual in one day?
3. Stay away from offensive comments
You may find numerous things that don’t sit well with your ideology, belief, or opinion. This does not give you the right to say something offensive or turn to ridicule the individual or the post. Cyberbullying is real; people have lost lives to it.
4. Complete your profile
Filling out your profile should be the first thing you do after you sign up on any of the social media platforms. Use your real name, add photographs, and list where you went to school and college if you want your batchmates to recognize you when you follow them or add them as ‘friends’. If you are too worried about your privacy and choose not to put a display picture, ask yourself if you would like it if everybody else did the same! Plus, a completed profile is a pre-requisite for profiles to be flagged as authentic.
5. Forget about call-outs
If you have a problem with what somebody has posted or shared, bring up the issue with the person in private. Directly message them instead of publicly ridiculing them. Some may hail you as a hero and some may call you a jerk. Keep in mind that people will be divided in their response and you may bask in some temporary glory of sorts. However, people also forget and move on with their lives. So, before calling somebody out, ask yourself if it is worth it.
6. Avoid irrelevant tagging
Refrain from tagging people in pictures and videos they are not in. Sure, the video of your new puppy playing fetch could have you falling off your chair laughing, but not everybody will be as entertained. Also, ask for permission before sharing personal pictures such as your friends’ engagement or wedding pictures.
7. Understand that people are entitled to their opinions
Live and let live. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. What you find offensive need not be offensive to somebody else. If you happen to come across a post that you find offensive, the wise and prudent thing to do would be to ignore it and move on.
8. Don’t react too fast
Not everything you read about on the internet is true. Fake news circulate on social media as much as real news. Be wise and use your good judgement before believing or sharing any content you may find.
9. Don’t show off
You don’t have to ‘check-in’ at every single restaurant, cafe, or new place you set foot in. It’s not a competition, people!
10. Know that not everything is personal
If your friends post things that you can relate to, don’t always jump to the conclusion that it was targeted at you. For example, if they don’t reply to a comment that you made on one of their posts, don’t assume they are mad at you just because you felt slighted. That thought may not even have crossed their minds!
There you go, now you’re equipped to handle social media!
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