I recently came across a post by Steve Hodson over at Mashable in which he discusses Web 2.0 and social media. Despite whatever rumours you may have heard, social media is a widely popular, ever growing phenomenon that is sweeping up thousands of newbies each day. That being said, there are still people who don’t know how to use it properly. In his post, Hodson stated:
..Others though haven’t seemed to grasp the later effects to posting inappropriate stuff, even if they think it is funny as hell at the same time, it could very well come back to bite them on the butt.
Sadly, this is true…people misusing social media, that is… You see, while social media can and should be a fun tool, does this necessarily mean that we should abuse it? Take, for instance, the hundreds upon thousands of college kids who are on Facebook and Myspace. While both of these social media sites are fantastic for finding old friends and linking up with new ones, is it really a wise idea to post pictures of that wild night of drinking you had with you and your friends? What about those surveys that often get passed around- you know- the kind that ask you all sorts of personal questions that you think you’d probably want to keep between you and your doctor or therapist?
When you’re young -or really- when you’re first learning something, you tend to make mistakes until you figure it out. That being said, the Internet is a very unforgiving place. If you put something out there and it’s less than flattering- whether it be a negative statement about someone else or a photograph, there’s a good chance that it may come back to haunt you. Not surprisingly, the same rules of etiquette for human social interaction are very similar when it comes to the Internet. Be courteous. Introduce yourself when talking to others. Thank people when they do something nice for you (especially if they weren’t obligated). If you have something to say, say it succinctly and make your point as clear as possible. All of these things will make you a more credible and highly valued resource.