In recent years, there has been a surge in both the number and the popularity of social media sites with 73% of adults now using social media. Every day more and more of us also open up new social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter. Those of us who are parents are aware that our teenage children are keen to open their own accounts too. At QubeGB we use social media for business and are well aware of the benefits it brings for business. However, whether it’s for business or personal use or sitting down with your children as they set up their accounts, we thought it would be useful to outline five rules to stick to when using social media.
Online is no different from off line
The old adage of ‘Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself’ is just as true today as it’s ever been. Social media sites are no different from talking to people face to face, just make sure that you give them the same level of respect and courtesy as you would in real life.
If you wouldn’t say it, don’t send it
In the same vein, it is very wise not to say anything on Facebook and Twitter that you wouldn’t say face to face. It is easier to do so online especially in the heat of the moment but the reality is if you say something that you later regret to someone face to face you run the risk they tell a dozen or so people. If you do it on a social media site you run the risk that it could be sent on to thousands of people. So if you wouldn’t say it, don’t send it.
Don’t give away personal information
Be very careful online about giving away personal information just like in real life not everyone is your friend. Do not give away your personal information such as your address or email and be really careful about posting that you are away which can let people know that your home is unoccupied.
There is a history which can be traced
Once you have said something online it is out there and cannot be unsaid. Employees and others can search for you and see past postings that you have made so it is important that you know there is nothing that you regret online which could hinder you in the future.
Be polite and respectful of other people’s history
Don’t use offensive language or act in a confrontational manner. You may think a photo or a piece of information about someone is funny but they may not feel the same so the simple rule is don’t post photos and information about others unless you have their approval.
These simple rules might just seem like common sense but you would be amazed at how many people get caught out by unwise use of social media. This advice is certainly worth bearing in mind when you are online.