How to not be an idiot on social media

Worried you’re making a fool of yourself online? Here’s how to use your social media the right way


There are the Tumblrs.  The Tweeters.  The Facebookers.  The Instagrammers. The Bloggers.  Though as separate as these social networks appear, it has become clear that there are too many people who simply have not recognised the difference between their functions.

Now newsfeeds are covered with filtered photos of food and selfies: Twitter’s full of screenshots and captioned cat photos, WordPress and Blogspot are being abused and treated like Facebook. And Tumblr is what is has always been – an unmanned zoo of soul-searchers, deep-thinkers, and confessions of the Late-Night Bloggers which range from hilarious to relatively disturbing.

BE CAREFUL

As for the rest, the lines between each social network have blurred and all but dissipated.  Enter this article, with the established definitions people need, and bringing order back to the world-wide-web.  (At least to a certain extent).

Facebook

Despite the misleading, “What’s On Your Mind?” that they ask, Facebook status updates were created so that someone can casually update their friends on the events of their life.  Example: “Not looking forward to the drive home, but had an excellent day skiing!”

What Facebook is not for, is ambiguous posting about how heartbroken the updater feels intruiging and guilting their friends but being very unclear as to why the updater feels this way.  It gets worse if a reader asks, “What happened?” on a comment, but the updater replies, “Textme.” Because suddenly the topic is too personal for public eyes.

Think before you post

Try not to forget that a post on Facebook is as equally public as standing on a stage and announcing it in front of a crowd, even if you get to sit in a desk chair behind a screen.

Don’t brag too much

Don’t unnecessarily lengthen words

Keep your relationship to yourself

Twitter

Twitter – the microscopic version of Facebook.  While statuses can be as long as paragraphs, tweets are focused on small thoughts.  Funny or not, tweets should get straight to the point.  Twitter became a useful medium for scanning top headlines of your local or national newspapers and the best way to keep up with celebrities, if you’re into that.  

But lately you’ll find that a lot of very popular Twitter accounts only ever post pictures with captions or links to pictures with captions.  I end up scrolling and scrolling, scanning past link after link for some kind of substantial sentence to read.  Pictures like that belong on Tumblr, folks.

And don't use it to tell people about this

And don’t use it to tell people about this

Instagram

I have only one thing to say here: Selfies in moderation.  Followers enjoy the amusement of an occasional drunk selfie, or when you’re getting ready for a big day or good night out, but let’s be honest.

Selfies have absolutely no correlation to the inspirational clichés they often come with, and when they happen twice a day, they lose all novelty or admiration of your beauty.

#selfie

another #selfie

and another #selfie

Blogs

I do not mean Tumblr blogs, which is the problem.  Blogs like blogspot.com or wordpress.com are meant to be opened and run by people with a specific purpose for running them, i.e. traveling, DIY projects, photography, funny stories, etc.

They are not a social network like Tumblr or Facebook where you make daily posts about your personal life.  How a person gets up in the morning and gets ready for a 9 am lecture in Jane Holloway Hall might be interesting to them, but they really need to try and consider whether people actually care.

Truthfully, running a wordpress or blogspot blog about your daily life is literally like letting the world read your personal diary.  It is private, complicated, and useful only to you.

Interesting

Tumblr

It’s a concoction of all of these, so apply all of the above. It has the least restrictions of all the social networks.  A scroll down your dashboard brings everything from vines to photos to personal revelation posts to small and embarrassing details that one blogger felt that the world needed to hear.  Some of these include: Miscellaneous Statements (“Beyonce doesn’t win Grammys, Grammys win Beyonce.”),  famous quotes, captioned animal photos, and captioned gifs (the last two are very often of cats).

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