Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Social Networking

I'm quite a big fan of social networking. My husband's really perfected the art but I have to admit I was the first of us to try out Facebook. I like to post the odd status - some days I post nothing, other days a fair bit. I'm on Twitter and LinkedIn and I use all three slightly differently.

I like to see what my old classmates are up to these days. I like to hear that someone just got married, had a baby or suddenly changed career path. Some people I speak to once a year, others almost daily. It depends whether I have anything to say. Or not.

But it also depends on what someone else has to say to me. Take today: after I quoted something really funny my son had said to me on the way home from school I had quite a lengthy conversation with a friend about nativity plays then someone else wrote me a personal message, completely unrelated to the topic in hand, at the bottom of that conversation.

Fortunately I was able to remove that message before too many people saw it because, out of context, other people's interpretation of it could have been detrimental to me. It would have been awful though to switch off for 6 weeks and come back to find that message plastered there for any of my connections to see.

For years we've been told don't write down anything which you would not want the world to see but it becomes difficult to control if someone else is doing the writing. People need to think before they write: not just "Would I like anyone else to see this?" but "Would the person I am writing this to want it written publicly or personally?"

Responsible social networking is a lot more sophisticated than owning a computer with internet access. It is not as easy to gauge as face-to-face or telephone communication. But it also isn't that difficult to stop and think before we post about the consequences of our words upon others' feelings.

Equality in the home

Heidi Cohen: Social Media's 10 Commandments
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