Wow – It has been a weird and wild week in my little social media world.
As someone who is a trained social media professional I know firsthand how social media can be used for good and I pride myself on the fact that I spend my days teaching professionals how it should be used for good (examples: to grow their business, to build relationships, to be seen as a resource!).
I’ll get right down to it…I witnessed some “bad” behavior on social media – it got ugly and no one was willing to say STOP THE MADNESS! Instead members politely excused themselves from the conversation/group, just like me. And it’s been bugging me ever since!
Here’s a birds eye view of what happened:
- A private FB group was created.
- I was added as a member to that group (as I often am – and I fit this demographic perfectly).
- After added, I popped over to see what the group was about. You should do this too! FB groups should have a purpose. Was there a mission statement? Was there a cause they were supporting? Are we raising awareness of a town issue? Was there a clear definition of the goals of this group?
I scanned and I scrolled to get a sense of the groups’ purpose and then got stuck on a post that made me shiver. I am not a prude, I do not scare easy and I’ve been known to say what I am thinking (just like this blog!). To be honest, this post was written in a tone that I did not feel comfortable reading.
As the saying goes: It’s not what you say but how you say it.
Question: Do scare tactics work? Do they work for your kids? Does it give people the reason to continue to engage with you on this social platform? Saying I am in charge here, and if you don’t like it then leave sounds more like anti-social media to me! Should we reprimand members who opted into the conversation speaking their mind and standing up for what they believed in? Should we make them feel dumb, not worthy of participating? Is social media now a pedestal for those that know-it-all to stand up on?
And from this private group on Facebook I watched my quiet little quaint New England town go SAVAGE! (ok, maybe I am exaggerating but it sure went crazy!)
I was not a member of the page for more than a few hours and yet I am still hearing of the damage this page is doing to our community. Yes I know this happens all the time. Even seen it happen in professional Facebook groups I participate in. This time it really ticked me off, very close to home!
[sad face emoji here]
I so get that people want a place to discuss town issues “privately”. But if you are smart you know that Facebook is a public platform – you don’t own it, you don’t control it and what you put on social media can be used against you.
Let’s shift gears so you understand where I am heading.
How many of us have kids? How many of us are uber-cautious about how our kids are using social media? Maybe we need to practice what we preach. Maybe our kids should teach us a thing or two about social etiquette.
I can’t speak for you but I can tell you that I absolutely have had multiple hundreds of conversations with my tween specifically about how to behave online. And sadly I often use adult’s mistakes as examples!!!
A recent post: Moms Know Best: Simple Social Media Etiquette by my Best Business Friend, Dorien, captures it all!
(I use this as a guide for myself too)
THINK. Tell your child to ask themselves these five questions:
T – It is TRUE?
H – Is it HURTFUL?
I – Is it ILLEGAL?
N – Is it NECESSARY?
K – Is it KIND?
Would he/she want what she is posting to be printed out (or worse a screen-shot) and posted in the school Lobby for all to read?? If yes – then post!
I want my daughter to really think before she posts. I want her to offer value. I want her to someday be seen as resource and as someone who was kind and thoughtful to people she is connected with. I teach my clients to Post with Purpose, this goes for us all.
I am the first to admit that all of us (adults) are not perfect. But why aren’t we taking our own advice? Why aren’t we THINKing before we post?
Who are we helping when we aren’t truthful?
Who are we helping when we are hurting people?
If you are still reading this blog: 1. Thank You and 2. Things are about to get hot in here!!!
Yah yah yah, freedom of speech, we/you have the right to say whatever we want, where ever we want but…Bullying is Bullying – online or in person.
Adults (regardless of the number of degrees you have or businesses you own) should know better.
I believe that 99% of what you might write/type (possibly without thinking) is ‘making a stand’ or ‘calling people out on’ you would NEVER EVER EVER say to someone in person.
Maybe think a bit more about that before you start posting a response to me that you and I both know you would never say to my face.
Oh and before I go I should share a few last words (straight from my mother) with you….If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Online.
Well written, Deb. Why on earth do people think its OK to bully people online – something many of these same people would never do in-person.
The biggest issue I see with social media that there’s a disconnect between what people are saying and doing online and saying and doing in person. In my opinion, you should remember that whatever you say and post online is public, as you mention in your article. You are broadcasting your opinion (and negativity and nastiness) to the wod wide world. Does everyone really need to know?
I told my 11 year old he could not be on social media until he can resolve a conflict with a friend on his own, without telling me or needing my help. So far, he’s not anywhere near ready. I explained that if if he were online, his little tiff with his friend would become a figth with 100 spectators. If you can not resolve an issue in person, don’t go on social media and involve everyone (as in a whole town!) nothing good has ever come of it. Ever.
Great post Deb; I’ll happily share it everywhere.
You are the best – and so inspiring! Glad we can help shed light on the CORRECT way to behave online!
Amazingly written and very informative. I too have used examples of adult behaviors to show my children what not to do. I could not agree more with your thoughts! Thanks for sharing
Thanks for reading!
As I watched the group unfold, I would agree with the term you used to describe the implied tone of the environment. It did indeed become “savage”.
Thank you for this entry. Very timely, very accurate and very educational. I have often typed and typed in response to a thread only to press the backspace until it was simply a memory. I am also a strong believer in both T.H.I.N.K. as well as your mother’s wise words.
Thank you for posting! 🙂
It did get pretty intense – thought using it as a teaching moment was a great way to have good come out of it all. Thanks for your support.