AGREE TO DISAGREE: How to Play Nice on Social Media
Mar 05, 2021
Social media has taken over our lives as we (unconsciously!) find ourselves browsing through our Facebook feeds and regularly updating our Instagram stories whenever we can. Everything, from paying bills to shopping, and even social interactions, is now pocketable.
And with social interactions come the occasional (or frequent?) disagreements. But just because you disagree with something, that doesn’t give you a pass to be disrespectful – if someone isn’t playing nice, it’s not an excuse to do the same.
We’ve listed a few do’s and don’ts on social media etiquette (or should we say, netiquette?) off the top of our heads you might find helpful.
(Over)sharing is not (over)caring.
Social media can be a fun place. Classical memes? Flat lay aesthetics? We’re there for it! But while Facebook and Instagram are where most of our interactions take place these days given the pandemic; you don’t have to share everything.
Not only can too-frequent updates be annoying, you can’t guarantee what people on the Internet might do with the information you put out. And in the same way you try to keep yourself secure, extend the same courtesy to others by refraining from sharing content that might be too sensitive, private, or unflattering for them – ask before you tag! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
And while we’re on the topic of oversharing, make sure to fact-check before tapping that post button. Fake news is a very real problem and can very well result in unnecessary panic and conflict in real life. Put those social stalking skills to good use (oh c’mon, we’ve all done it!) and make sure your sources are accurate and unbiased before sending the links to your group chats. Not only can it be pretty embarrassing to be the source of fake news, there’s also nothing worse than worrying tita and her amigas for a reason that may very well be exaggerated or just downright false. Being nice online is also about being responsible.
Correct them with kindness
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We all have our own experiences and reasons for having the beliefs we do. But yes, there are posts that are harmful and must be addressed–like bullying comments or misinformation–but when calling them out, you still need to play nice. Otherwise, counteraggression will just contribute to creating a hostile online environment with no room for proper dialogue. It can even carry over to offline relationships for those you know in real life. Friendship over because of a nasty comment? Yikes!
If it bothers you *that* much, the mute and unfollow buttons exist for a reason – it doesn’t make you any less of a person to decide there are people not worth your time and energy. Remember: if it costs you your peace of mind, it’s too expensive. Instead, why not follow accounts of cute pets and 1-minute recipes? Or how about informative ones like Edukasyon.ph? You spend so much time online anyway, might as well make it a positive experience!
In a world of 93761741 filter options, kindness should be your go-to.
Amidst curated feeds and well-thought out branding, social media remains to be an incredibly personal platform for people to express themselves. Whether it’s a post celebrating a career milestone, mourning a break-up, or sharing your two cents on a social issue, your feed can be telling of the kind of person you are. If a random stranger stumbled across your account, what would they think and say about you based on your feed? On your comments?
Don’t let your emotions rule you, especially negative ones. Take a step back and consider if what you’re about to post will offend someone or make them feel bad about themselves. Social media provides us with an avenue to learn new things and engage in discourse, but only if we let it.
This is not to discourage you from speaking your mind; rather, it encourages you to be mindful of the cyberspace community when doing so. After all, James Baldwin did say “we can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” Finding the sweet spot between expressing yourself while respecting others is key.
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