By Sankha Acharya an independent communication professional with an entrepreneurial bug
How does it feel like when someone double-taps on your photo? Or you receive 100+ views on your Story? What is the exact nature of that feeling when your vlog receives scores of positive comments? Nice and shiny and bright, right? Well that’s the sunny side up folks, the situation is often nastier and murkier online than what it looks like from the outside. Social Media today is more divided than it was 4 years back, the internet today is a chaotic place than it was on October 29th, 1969. Yet, it is oxygen to us, our daily lifeline and without social media, we would just be lost. As students, this is why it is essential now to stay more alert and aware while online. As students, the responsibility is far greater now on how one should behave online, project herself / himself online. As students, and as future employers / entrepreneurs / leaders / employees, the onus is right now to behave responsibly while online. For all young professionals of tomorrow, today’s scenario is the foundation.
How do we go about being responsible for our social media actions then? As a student, there are 5 specific points we need to keep in mind from this time onward.
Perception is everything –
How we behave online projects a certain aura online. Whether we are a bully or a fence-sitter, whether we are an AR Rahman fan or a Kohli fanboy, the content we share online, the tone we set for ourselves in the internet world tell a lot about us. This sets a certain perception and eventually, paints us in a certain light for the rest of the time till we are redefining our boundaries.
Your future boss is on Instagram too –
What happens when we post that misogynist meme in the garb of good humor on your FB profile? Do we think it goes away? Or do you we and hope that it does not get noticed eventually? What actually happens is employers do take note of a potential candidate’s social media profile when time comes for a final check. Any content that is offensive might land any of us in the soup, because of the compromised values such content bring to the table.
I would suggest a model here – THINK – for a safe behaviour online.
T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspiring?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?
This model will surely help you craft a responsible newsfeed that would definitely exude a warm charm, rather than the cold world it already is online.
Are you Google-ready?
Google yourself. See what comes up. If you do not like the projection, it is time for spring-cleaning. We all know how public domain contains major of information about our own selves these days; it is only judicious that we engage in this self-search from time to time to find out whether we are off-track regarding our online persona or not.
The WWGS rule
If you are reading this point, I thank you for your patience. I would also request you to stay focused on this point as this is a vital model too. We often subtweet or share even when we have not read that article completely. The impulse sharing is a deadly thing let me tell you. Also, with indiscriminate shares and posts, we often find ourselves sharing stuff that should not have been there in the first place. What is the remedy here? Presenting W-W-G-S, What Would Grandma Say rule.
The idea is to learn at the very outset that what goes up from our profile should be seen by our teachers, college professors, future employers / employees and even by our grandmas. Only then can we come to a conclusion that our content are fail-safe.
Stay away from strangers
With cyberbullying and online predators out there in large numbers, please follow a safe rule of thumb – if you don’t know them, don’t befriend them. It is that simple!
These 5 points are not enough to provide all of you with a social media etiquette outline. There are areas beyond these 5 points too – inappropriate photos, careful usage of location-sharing feature, staying away from cyber bullying etc.
However, these 5 pointers are a basic framework on how to approach your social media presence in a way that it does not come back to haunt you later in your life. These are formative years and it is essential that we learn how to carefully handle new media like social media platforms.
Happy redditing and subtweeting people!