Think before you click

Thanks to the internet and social media, we are able to express ourselves.
“I’m watching Soul Surfer now.” “Check out the food in this restaurant, it’s great.” “It’s raining and I just want to sleep the whole day.” “My cat, who had been my companion for 10 years, died today.” “I love you babyyy, mwah mwah mwah!!!” “I hate backstabbers!” “In this party I attended, there was this socialite who talked like trash.” “Go to hell &**%&%!” “I think other people should mind their own business!” “People judged me without hearing the whole story!”
At one time or another, we read these threads in Facebook or Twitter. We love to share our enjoyment, pain and anger. That’s self-expression.
But, this freedom of expression is one of the reasons why social media causes stress, especially when you read threads that are irritating and are meant to harm. Most often, we’re tempted to give the writer an opinion. Some would. Some wouldn’t and will just move on to threads that are not ‘nega’.
“I use Facebook for information and for leisure,” said Toots Jimenez, writer and public relations expert. Whenever he encounters nasty threads, he said that he doesn’t waste time “making comments to useless comments.” He said, “If you react and answer, you’re just giving attention to what is useless.”
“If I see an annoying message, post or comment, I just ignore them. I even hide them so as not to be annoyed next time. I only comment on things that interest me or those that I agree with. But if the post pertains to me, I’ll surely respond to it,” said Marie Angelie villalon, English tutor for Koreans.
“The girlfriend of one of my male friends once wrote that I was jealous of her. I thought it was baseless because it seemed that she was more jealous of me,” Villalon said, laughing. On a serious note, she added that it was unfair when the girl’s friends, who did not know her personally, also added comments. “They reacted without knowing anything.”
Joseph Sylvester Pampliega, professor, revealed that he doesn’t comment on annoying social network messages. “Except for some select instances when it’s part of teasing with friends. It’s just to perk up the conversation,” he said.
His reason for not commenting on threads is, “I don’t find it worth my time.”
He added that being annoyed has something to do with feelings. “So, somehow, no matter how literally ‘annoying’ the message is, it can still be subject to misinterpretation because textually, it’s impersonal. Also, commenting can perpetuate the thread of annoying messages that might result to cyberbullying.”
Meanwhile, Felix Quinanahan Jr, of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University, said that he comments especially if he has strong arguments. “I take time to argue with annoying posts. If it’s debatable, if it interests me, I will take time to comment.”
Quinanahan is also a victim of misinformation through social media. People have posted gossips about him. “These gossips are very rude and inhumane.”
Rexcel Sorza, TV show producer, comments on threads that catch his attention. “I comment to make things clearer to the person who posted the thought with the hope that he will be able to appreciate the other side and stop annoying people. But if I sense that that person cannot be helped, I dare not waste my time and effort to comment.”
ADVICE. “Social networks are great outlets for expressing one’s thoughts or feelings. They are useful means of communication. But many people abuse this by polluting their sites with senseless posts. If you have a problem with someone, be gutsy enough to confront him or her in person. Also, public display of affection can be cute at times, but overdoing it on networking sites is pathetic,” Villalon said. “And remember, nobody really cares how many times you yawn in a day,” she advised.
“I think we have to think first before we act. I mean, it’s okay to post something on your wall or blog about stuff that annoys you, but sometimes, you have to be aware of the people that surround you. You might hurt someone with what you’ll write. Sometimes, we have stupid and immature moments. Let’s just remind ourselves to snap out of it,” Abby Umutoy, a model, suggested.
“Think before you post. I firmly deem that right now, some cases of criminal injustices are done more advanced and this reminds us that everything we post or do on social networking sites can be very crucial to our safety. Discard posting mobile numbers on Facebook - it makes other users get easy access on scams or things that can harm you. I don't have any Twitter account, but for Twitter users, don't use the site to gossip or something alike,” Quinanahan said.
“The cyberworld is fluid; it is not bound by time and place (geography). It’s a world-dimension that engulfs the world we know of and live in. Its portals as well as its life-source/force is the social media. Feed social media with goodness not with trash. I always believe that what you write, even with the crudest form of writing like that of the cave walls painting in Lascaux by the Cro-Magnon, outlasts the writers. It makes the writer immortal. That is why, write something that can tell the generations after us that the humanity before them are not full of trash, of evil, but a humanity of greatness and goodness,” Pampliega said.
VALUE. Here are some social media etiquettes to live by. Don’t ruin other people’s lives by posting trash and lies online. There are proper avenues for concerns that you believe are valid. If it’s a legal issue, get a lawyer. If it’s a petty conflict among friends, tell your issue to the person’s face instead of humiliating yourself and the other person online. Who knows, it might even get worse when people start making nasty comments as well.
Another would be to listen to others. If ever someone doesn’t have the guts to tell your upfront about your mistakes and would rather post it online, think before retorting. See where it’s coming from. You might be able to learn something about yourself from that person. This will stop the cycle of hatred.
Finally, before making a post, consider this, “Would this help?” If not, don’t post it.
At the end of the day, it would be nice to have contributed to the community through social media.* (Marie Katherine Villalon, The News Today, Aug. 17, 2011)

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