If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll have been reading about our iWell project that promotes digital wellbeing. The course is aimed at adults with learning difficulties, but really it can be tailored for anyone and, as such, we’ve found out some interesting things about universal social media use and the etiquette involved.
Social media, you might be thinking, isn’t really a place for etiquette. It’s a place to be yourself and not really worry about minding your Ps and Qs. However, there’s a whole load of etiquette linked to social media use that, half the time, most of us don’t follow but really, really should.
So what are some of our top good social media use tips?
Unless someone has specifically asked you to post a photo you took on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or any other social media platforms, you should really ask their permission before you do. Especially if that photo is potentially embarrassing or could cause distress. It’s also important to ask permission if the photo features children who are not yours. Not all parents like pictures of their kids appearing online, so you should always check before you post.
We hear a lot about free speech in the news and yes, everyone has the right to say what they want about any given topic. However, allowing free speech is not the same as allowing bullying. So before you say anything that might be considered mean or nasty, ask these two questions:
If your answer to the first is “no”, and/or your answer to the second is “bad” then you should not press send. If you don’t agree with what someone is saying, that’s fine – but you should either ignore it or say something constructive.
If someone has posted something about you that you don’t like (whether it’s words or a photo) then it’s OK to say so. You’re well within your rights to ask them to take down the post and, if they refuse, you can report them to the social media platform in question. Remember, this works both ways so, if someone asks you to take down a post about them that they don’t like, you should do what they ask as well as sending them an apology.
If you find someone’s posts regularly upset you or get you down, it’s fine to unfriend them or unfollow them. You have no obligation to keep reading things that make you feel bad. If you feel that unfriending or unfollowing the person could cause real world problems, then you could always hide their posts from your feed so they don’t show up regularly. Never, however, use unfriending as a way to make someone feel bad. This is a form of bullying and could cause a lot of hurt and upset.
There’s been a lot in the press lately about the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that keeps people glued to their smartphones, checking Facebook and Twitter every few minutes to see what people are up to. While social media is a great way to engage with people, remember your actual life is lived offline. This means you shouldn’t be afraid to step back from social media on occasion and enjoy time in the real world with your friends and family. You’re not going to miss out on anything important!
There are loads of other top social media use tips that have come out of our iWell workshops, what are some of your best ones?