How to be Better at Social Networking

In this age of technology, social networking has become so widely popular that those who abstain can easily find themselves ostracized. We post to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. multiple times each day, but for what reason? Our cultural addiction to sharing information online has warped our view of what constitutes important information. However, this article won’t be a rant about the evils of social networking, or about the depraved nature of a society that depends so heavily on internet communication, as opposed to actual conversation. It’s also not about the dangers of posting inappropriate pictures online. There are enough of those. This article will hopefully give some tips on how to appear less obnoxious when posting online.

Tip # 1 – Who Actually Cares?

Before you post something online, ask yourself who will be affected by what you’re saying. Will anyone care? Not everyone needs to be compelled by your posts, but it helps if at least some people are. Unless you wanted to look insane, you wouldn’t stand up in front of 500 people and tell them that you’re eating tacos for dinner. So why would people want to read about that online?

Some have claimed that social networking turns users into narcissists. I’m not sure I completely agree, but we should all realize that people don’t need to hear about every mundane event in our day. Try to avoid this. Post less frequently and people will pay more attention to what you have to say.

Tip #2 – Go Easy on the Online Displays of Affection.

Everyone knows what is meant by the phrase “annoying Facebook couple.” If not, check out this article, and you’ll understand. You may have set your profile to “Friends Only,” but that still leaves hundreds who have to endure your uncomfortable intimacy with your significant other. Play-fights about who loves the other more are fine in private, but please, keep them in private. Bringing this nonsense online makes everyone else feel uneasy, like a couple making out on a shuttle bus.

Tip #3 – Don’t Use Social Networking Sites to be Passive-Aggressive

If you’ve ever ended a tweet with #roommateproblems or something similar, or have posted about your difficulties with “some people,” you’re guilty of this one. Sure, social networking has made it easy to get by without actual confrontation, but by dropping hints via the internet, you involve everyone else in your problems. If you’re having roommate problems, cut out the middle man and talk to them in person. It will be faster, and you’ll end the conversation knowing that they understand your message. Besides, what are the chances that they’ll read your post, know it’s about them, realize their behavior is flawed, and then make changes accordingly without getting angry at you and retaliating passive-aggressively? You can’t expect results with this method.

Tip #4 – Don’t get in Huge Arguments Online

It’s easy to be brave when you’re looking at a screen instead of at someone’s face. Even writing this article feels less confrontational than telling someone how to social network in a real time discussion. That being said, there is no positive outcome to extended fights about religion, politics, ex-girlfriends, or really anything else when it’s online. You won’t succeed in changing the opinion of your opponent, but you will succeed in making yourself look stupid. If you see something you disagree with, just keep scrolling. Additionally, if someone leaves a rude comment on your status update, just ignore it. There’s no need to waste your time on an argument that will have no winner. Just let it go. The worst offenders are those who pick fights on social networking – The ones who post intentionally insensitive or offensive posts and comments. Ignore these people. Just like kindergarten, they’re only looking for attention.

Tip # 5 – Links to Your Sources are Helpful

Most of my other tips have been the result of grievances I have with other users. This last tip is something that could actually increase the usefulness of social networking, and not just by avoiding a particular action. These days, many of us get our news from Facebook and Twitter posts. This can be problematic, because the number of posts about an incident can blur the truth. If you want to share a breaking news story, try to include a link to a news site’s article. If you want to share a cool fact, try to attach a URL to the source. Signing up for a social networking site doesn’t make you a newscaster or a journalist, but you can help by directing your friends to credible news sources.