The Unspoken Rules of Social Media

So, you are now connected to Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, and YouTube! Congratulations. You rock! You are dot com. Fine, you can now share jokes, chat, get updates from your friends. You are dreaming of scholarships and many more opportunities. But wait a minute, how exactly should you use these social media tools? What rules constitutes appropriate behaviour on these social media platforms? Below, we outline some

Rule#1: Common Sense is Key. In all your dealings, let common sense be the guiding principle. Whenever is doubt, revert to common sense. What would you do in an actual face to face encounter?

Rule#2: Be Courteous. It is extremely important to be courteous in your communications. Be polite, say May I, Sorry etc.

Rule#3: Choose your friends carefully. As the Baganda say, “Mbulira gwoyita naye, nkubuulire empisa zo”. People can tell a great deal about you by the company you keep

Rule#4: Don’t send friend requests for strangers just because you want to have a large group of people in your community

Rule#5: Not everyone is who s/he claims to be on social media. There are many crooks, and people with exaggerated profiles. Don’t fall for their lies. Some students have been coned of their school fees; others kidnapped by crooks via social media

Rule#6: Never engage in a quarrel on social media. No good ever comes of it. When provoked, just ignore and move on.

Rule#7: Practice self-censorship. Not all content is appropriate for social media. Just before you click “Share” or “Like”, or Comment, think twice if you won’t be embarrassed by that comment down the road. I know of s student who lost a scholarship opportunity because his sponsors were disappointed by his comments on Facebook! Further, many prospective employers now Google interviewees to get some background information

Rule#7: Photos of private moments should remain private.

Rule#8: The person across the table should take priority over the online person. A common mistake is to remain chatting on social media (Facebook, Twitter whatsapp etc.) When you are in the company of others e.g. for a meeting or an outing. If you must, explain why it is important to do so to the person you are with

Rule#9: Respond to messages from friends. The reason you joined social media was for interaction and communication. It irritates to join the network and never respond or recognise your friends’ attempts to reach out to you.

Rule#10: Learn the rules of the game, such as abbreviations and Smileys

Kalema Golooba Ayub