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Ten Commandments of social media
BY THERESE NECIO-ORTEGA

The pervasiveness of social media in our daily lives is a growing reality and we
need to think about how to effectively utilise this channel to foster better
communication as well as improve dialogue and conversations. These are my
suggestions:

1) BE CAREFUL AND THINK TWICE BEFORE WRITING, ESPECIALLY WHEN
YOU ARE ANGRY
. Unlike graffiti on public walls which can be spray-painted
and cleaned, what is written on the wall can readily become viral and may not
be easy to delete or retrieve. Take time to think about what you write in anger
and re-write it when you can be more objective.

2) RESPECT BEGETS RESPECT. Think carefully before airing dirty linen in
public. You certainly do not want this done to you so don’t do it to others.

3) EXERCISE POLITENESS, PRUDENCE AND DISCERNMENT. Many times, we
do not know enough about the issues being discussed and we really need to look
at all sides of the situation before we can make an intelligent and informed
opinion and even more balanced thought-process to make a wise decision.

    4) MANY “LIKES” CAN CREATE A "MOB MENTALITY" PERCEPTION.
    THIS MAY NOT NECESSARILY BE CORRECT. Sometimes seeing many
    “likes” may persuade others that this must be the right thing to do even if
    the smaller dissenting voice may be the more appropriate reaction.

    5) BEING AN ADMINISTRATOR OF A FAN PAGE OF AN
    ORGANISATION OR ASSOCIATION STILL NEEDS PROPER
    APPROVAL PROCEDURES TO ENSURE THE UPLOAD OF
    APPROPRIATE AND UPDATED ONLINE CONTENT. It is necessary to
    create interest on Fan or Association Pages by providing relevant
    content that is agreed upon and vetted by the association’s or
    organisation’s set of officers because the information shared is assumed
    to be the position taken by the organisation or association, not just the
    opinion of one person.

6) SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE PRESENCE DOES NOT AND SHOULD NOT
REPLACE FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION.
If and whenever possible, pick up
the phone, meet in person and discuss issues of concern. This “new channel”
should never replace physical dialogue.

7) SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND AND THEN BE UNDERSTOOD. Sometimes
communication is not 100% received and therefore the recipient / listener
needs to try and understand what is the possible message behind the words and
suspend judgement before forming conclusions, speculations and decisions.

8) “PLEASE”, “THANK YOU”, “I AM SORRY”, “YOU ARE MOST WELCOME”
etc… Necessary words that are often not used in conversations. In the social
media setting, these words are usually in short forms (Pls / Ps, TY, TANK U, TU,
SORI, , TY, ). Don’t be lazy and make time to spell these important words out in
full.

9) SHARE STORIES AND CREATE A BETTER VISUAL SETTING THROUGH
WORDS OF WHAT IT IS YOU THINK, FEEL, KNOW AND WANT IN THIS ONLINE
ENVIRONMENT.
Storytelling is the best way to share and learn. You can use this
“new channel” to tell stories, share opinions, discuss concerns and issues in a
collaborative atmosphere. Avoid being combative and discriminatory and never
use this means to launch personal attacks.

10) EXERCISE SELF DISCIPLINE. OTHERWISE, THE POWERS THAT BE WILL
EXERCISE IT FOR US.
If we police ourselves and use this new media in a
manner that will benefit everyone in society, lead to more productive, healthy
and useful conversations, idea exchange, dialogue and promote social growth
then the governments will no longer be as keen to lay down rules, impose them
and monitor our conversations.

I hope these “commandments” help in giving everyone a basic understanding of
the privilege we have to communicate freely with one another and the
responsibilities it entails.
Think carefully
before airing dirty
linen in public.
You certainly do
not want this
done to you so
don’t do it to
others
Social etiquette in the online space
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