In a world overwhelmed by social media we have had to learn how we are comfortable integrating social media into our lives. It’s a crazy web opening up our lives to millions of people. Depending on the social media site you are using faceless, nameless people you have never met can comment both positively and negatively about you at all times. Everything good about social media is also the bad things about social media.
Yes social media does give us a larger voice, but it also gives a voice to the irrational. Yes we have access to information, but we all know the internet is full of false information. Yes it’s fun, but at what cost?
Parents, teachers and people of the older generations often are preaching about how the youth today are putting too much personal information on-line. People fear those of us who use social media religiously are putting ourselves at danger and with constantly changing privacy rules and settings we rarely know what is visible to strangers and what is not.
That’s why I created my fool-proof system for social media. My rules are simple and straight forward on how I behave online.
My first rule is in regards to Facebook. Out of all the social media sites I believe Facebook is the most personal. I view Facebook like my home or hub for social media. It’s personal and I hold the information included as closely as I feel I need to. 85% of the time I do not add people I have never met before as friends on Facebook. This is my life. It’s my friends, my family, my colleagues and people I know and trust.
Yes I do post a lot of things publicly, but with Facebook I have that option to pick and choose what I post and I have the option of who sees it. I often utilize this platform to post commentary that can spark debate. Mostly because I know my friends and family can handle a healthy debate or won’t start a debate just because they disagree. They will start a debate if there is one to be had, but not one just to argue. My friends and family get me. They get my thought process. They make their points and then they go about their business.
That’s what I love about my family and friends. I can trust them to be mature. I trust them to at least have a foundation for their beliefs. That’s why I allow them into this personal world and I try my best to engage in the dialogue.
I also use Facebook to post personal things I want to share with friends and family, but I may not want future employers to see. Another case is if I want to post something I don’t want someone being able to Google, but still may have a cute picture from a party worth posting.
Facebook is my home. If Facebook is my home then Instagram and WordPress are like the city and state in which I live. I reach a wider audience with these platforms, but not as wide as I do with sites like Twitter. People choose to read or not read what I post. People choose to view or not view the photos I post. You typically have to be searching out a topic to find my postings on WordPress or Instagram via tags and keywords.
Twitter, well twitter is the world because I use it more globally. Unlike Facebook I don’t use privacy settings. My personal filter is also much less tight on Twitter. The way I see it is that Twitter is like a blog. It’s a place for me to succinctly air my opinions on large issues, current events, celebrities and life. It allows me to engage a wider audience, but with that I am engaging thousands of people I don’t know. You can’t control the dialogue. By that I mean you can’t control the level of descent or negativity. You can’t control the level of respect people have toward one another when engaging in an argument. It’s global.
While my family, friends and colleagues are welcome to follow me on Twitter, they must do so with a clear understanding that I won’t hold back or ask my followers to hold back if they engage with me on Twitter. I share my opinion bluntly and openly on Twitter. I discuss topic I wouldn’t necessarily discuss on Facebook in front of my parents. siblings, nieces and nephews like dating when I was single or which soccer player in the World Cup is the most filled out. I’ve never actually talked about that, but it seems like a good Twitter topic.
Basically I view social media by audiences. I chose who will see what and I allow full engagement, but with a bit more respect on personal profiles like Facebook. Klout posted a great article about the different types of social networks and what they are used for. Here is how my views fit in:
Personal. Filtered and private. For family, friends and colleagues only.
WordPress and Instagram:
Shared Interest Community. I watch what I post, but I do post openly and honestly. Anyone can engage on my accounts and I invite them to, none-the-less I do use a bit more of a filter here as well since my audience is wider. My blogs are easily searchable and we all know you have to be careful with what you post online.
Content Sharing. Is for everyone to use and abuse. It’s for thoughts and mindless musings. It’s for engaging strangers on any and every topic out there. It’s to speak passionately and openly. It’s global.