Monday, August 5, 2013

Eyes on You


We all enjoy the privilege of posting and uploading whatever we like on a variety of social media sites.  Indeed, social networking is a 21st century passion for people the world over.  In fact, there is no shortage of ways to showcase our whims to the masses, be it by using Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, and in blogs.   Technology created ways to keep in touch with families, friends, and like-minded people like never before. Within seconds, we can upload something for the world to see, comment, or share. All is good with our world as long as we’re connected.
 
But do we have any responsibility to our “readers” friends, and family?  Should we think ahead about what impact our posts might have on others?  Are we at all concerned about the message are we sending? Do we know what we post is a reflection of our integrity, values and beliefs?  And, more importantly, do you know what you post can stay on these sites even when you delete it?  Yes, it does, because you can bet that someone has it on his or her computer. 

It is my belief that we behave on these sites as we do in “real life”.  So if we swear, use drugs and drink excessively, or act provocatively and immaturely outside of social media, it shows up there as well.  And so where's the harm, you might ask.  After all it’s just your life, right?  

Wrong.  More people than you think see your comments and posts, unless you have absolute control of your audience.  By the way, even setting privacy setting does not give absolute control once it's posted on the internet.  


Some comments from Facebook;  
  • If you see something in your newsfeed that you don't like, just hide the post, seriously that's all you have to do instead of whining about people swearing.
  • One must not assume all Facebook buddies will remain as buddies. No apologies to those haters and deletists offended with my posts.  
  • Facebookers, please no profanity on my facebook, no talk about your sex life, gossip, booze, drugs or gangster talk or else I will delete you.... I have young children as facebook buddies...have some respect.
  •  I like to keep my pages absolutely G rated!! Not only for my kids - but for me too.    
  • If I got it, I will flaunt it! If you don’t like it, too bad! Delete yourself.
My comment on this picture below was deleted shortly after I posted it.  But because it was on my computer, I am able to post it here, after I removed the names of the people. 
It was this picture posted recently that started me thinking that our behaviour as seen on social networks, will unequivocally impact others.  And is a direct reflection on character.  This picture posted by her parents, says it's okay to drink. And, finally it's legal! Never mind how the abuse of alcohol has impacted this particular family. I know this picture is supposed to be lighthearted but given their relationship with alcohol, it only gave me a heavy heart. It's like they gave up the fight, flung their arms in the air and said, she going to drink, so whatever.  And any impressionable young person on their friends, and friends of friends lists gets the message as clear as the picture. 

That said, it appears that people still view social media sites as something that is private and personal like it's there own private journal.  You know these site were not built for the user, it's designed for commercial use. They make no money from you, so I ask you, who is their target? But that's a separate topic for another day.  Let’s be clear there is nothing private and personal if it’s on a social network site! By definition. 

Awhile ago I re-posted this status update on my Facebook page, it is from a close friend after the loss of members in our community;

“The recent tragic losses in our community due to alcohol have been heavy on my heart. What can I as an individual do to raise awareness about the abuse of alcohol and drugs, which contributes to violence, accidents and even deaths?

Well, I've decided to embark on a campaign on Facebook by commenting on any of my friends and family's Facebook status that mention anything related to alcohol, drugs or violence from now on; this is to show our young people who are on Facebook that many of the comments made on Facebook about being drunk, going to parties, taking drugs and any kind of violent acts are not acceptable, not funny and often lead to disastrous outcomes. If I am deleted from your friends' list because of my anti-alcohol and drug comments, I'm okay with that.

I encourage you to join this campaign in the memory of our loved ones who we recently lost due to alcohol or drug abuse. You can start by POSTING this as your status update and begin commenting against alcohol, drugs and violence for a healthier community.”

These social network sites are rather new still and norms are being created as we transition to this new way of expressing ourselves. Having said that, we must be responsible for what we post because once it is released on the internet, it's a done deal.  And you never know, whose eyes are reading it and how that information will impact him or her.  

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