The first rule of Internet etiquette is to be nice. Show respect for the opinions of others, even if you don’t agree with their message. Being nice includes avoiding cyberbullying. Whereas we do have freedom of speech, that does not justify online bullying. Words have power, be careful how you use them. Make sure to spend your life lifting people up, not putting them down. You never know the difference your inspiration can make.
Before you post anything online ask yourself, “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” Post only if the answer to these three questions is yes. Here are five key things to consider:
1. Think before you post
Don’t post anything on the Internet that you don’t want employers, clients or business associates to read. A careless comment or photo can affect college admission, job opportunities, friendships and scholarships. Always use caution before posting online. The Internet is a permanent record of what you send. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t put it on the billboard and sign your name to it, then don’t post it online.
2. Be professional and courteous when communicating online
Each time you open your mouth you inform others of your state of mind and the condition of your heart. Never express your anger in a public forum. Even when you’re mad, think before you post anything on the Internet. The words you post can be deleted, even forgiven, but not forgotten. Proper manners on the Internet requires consideration for others and always remembering that a real person is on the other end of every message that you send. When interacting in the cyber world, we are cyber citizens and proper manners are expected. Utilize proper ethics knowing the difference between what you have a right to say and what is the right thing to say. Every word you speak matters. Something you post may seem insignificant to you, but to someone else it can be life changing.
3. Have a goal in mind for your messages
What you post speaks volume about who you are. Let your posts mean something. Social media isn’t just for entertainment; it’s a vital tool for motivation, inspiration, bringing people together and sharing ideas and hope. Fact is, since 2006, every single public tweet that is tweeted, is archived digitally at the library of congress. Similar recordings and databases exist for other social media platforms. Always remember that you are responsible for everything that you tweet, post, like, comment on, and even things that you retweet, share, or forward. Before you post anything online such as pictures, videos, links, comments or tweets, think if that is something you want to share with the entire world because the world is watching. Post with intention, repost with caution.
4. Be kind online
One kind post can change someone’s entire day. Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. Post messages to make someone laugh, to inspire, motivate, encourage, or send a smile. Every word you post online has power to build or destroy hopes and dreams, to restore, to uplift, to heal or break the spirit. When it comes down to it, you are in a position to be a change agent and post content for social good. What you put out to the Universe always comes back to you. You have a choice to spread peace and exude great vibes everyday.
5. You are what you tweet
Use social media for good. Become an inspiration to others and use your words for good. Words are like seeds and you have the power and the ability to speak things into existence. Whether it is for personal branding, spreading love, being informative, or to evoke emotion, use your words to provide motivation and inspiration to the world one post at a time. This will help you stay on trend and become a valued digital citizen.