After writing my first post about the cyber hybrid culture – all hell broke loose on Facebook as it usually does. A close friend posted a sensitive political topic about something one of the candidates “said.” People replied with angry polarizing political posts which triggered more angry polarizing responses, and a Facebook war ensued.
I was easily sucked – posting a derogatory comment about one of the political parties “Sucking at life” because their politics was anti-life.
This triggered a young man who I don’t know personally in the face-to-face world spending the rest of the day attacking my comment (and me). Other people began attacking him and so on. This of course translated to people discussing these online interactions in the real face-to-face world. Most of the people who approached me told me that they enjoyed my comments, thought they were funny, and “wanted to give me a hug for speaking up.” But I’m sure there were many other people who avoided me because of those same comments.
In reflecting with another groups of online students through their online discussion forum, I decided that social media does not have a set of etiquette ground rules or a “netiquette” policy as it is commonly referred to in distance education. So with that, I decided to brainstorm a set of social media ground rules:
a.) Avoid trolling, don’t start trouble because not all people know you, your personality, or sense of humor.
b.) Don’t answer attacks with anger, just present logical points or refuse to answer.
c.) Unfollow people you don’t want to see, unfreind people who are not your friends, and block people who are nasty to you.
d.) Use social media to share, network, and interact – avoid the rest of the junk.
I’m sure that much can be added to this list, but it’s a nice start in my pursuit in bridging the gab between our face-to-face world and our cyber world. Many of these social media wars create real life social divisions in business, schools, church, and anywhere else people congregate. It is important to understand that these worlds are connected and we must act accordingly.