On Monday morning, eight of your friends have forwarded the same message to you on WhatsApp. It ends thus: “Please don’t break this chain. Send to at least 7 of your friends. If you break it, you will not receive the good news you’ve been waiting for.”
Besides the fact that it lacks originality, you find the message offensive for several reasons: 1. It’s coercive in demanding you forward the crap to other unsuspecting friends in order to ruin their Monday; 2. It contains a veiled threat of mayhem should you fail to comply; and 3. It clogs up your inbox. You’re sorely tempted to unfriend all culprits. But before you do so, you hope they will read this blog post of what’s appropriate to share on social media and govern themselves accordingly.
Let’s start with the Don’ts:
- Don’t peddle ghastly photos and stories featuring unsavory practices such as cannibalism or bestiality. If it outrages you, it damages other people’s psyches too. Your sharing unwittingly spreads around what you claim to abhor. As the saying goes, “what you focus on, persists.”
- Don’t post unoriginal and unimaginative drivel – If you did not write it, check twice before you repost. First, check its accuracy, its soundness, and its capability to elevate the minds of your readers. Some items posted as jokes on some forums hearken back to the days of Beavis and Butthead.
- No ethnic, religious, political posts on heterogeneous groups. Don’t offend or marginalize persons in the group. Cartoons of the latest political buffoon may be floating around in cyberspace; do not repost in your politically diverse forum.
- Don’t double-share. If a group is a microcosm of a larger one such as the women’s group of the church, do not post the same article on both forums. Either launch it on the larger forum or target the inner circle. Avoid inundating your audience with repetitive postings.
- Do not post inappropriate items on a group board. Too often, one opens a group page to find all kinds of information not remotely connected to the group e.g. caustic jokes, crass stories, unscientific medical advice, etc.
- Avoid long, windy posts. If you can help a friend focus less on the small screen, you’ll be doing her eyesight and posture a world of good.
- Even if true, do not be the eager bearer of bad news. Hesitate to broadcast the death of celebrity or personality. If s/he is not a family member, have a care.
- Post news and information relevant to the group including upcoming events, minutes of meetings, information to be shared, etc.
- Share uplifting stories and anecdotes that inspire and elevate your readers.
- Broadcast original articles about your area of expertise – healthcare, home care, parenting, jobs, teaching, sewing, etc.
- Tell all your friends about good things that will bless their hearts and uplift their moods.
- Teach skills and spread how-to posts for a better world.
Like a leader, share hope!