Editor’s Note: Parents: School’s out soon. You’re most likely in the midst of planning for summer camps of all sorts and vacation for your child(ren). That’s great! What about what they are doing online (when they say they are ‘bored’)? More specifically: what are they posting on social media via their cell phones or their laptops at home? Orlando-based Communications Guru Wendy Gustama agreed to share a recent discussion she had with some young people at her church on Social Media Etiquette. I thought these tips would be helpful for the entire family, but especially for young people. Thank you Wendy! This is one of OCN’s occasional Guest Editorials.
What does your online presence say about you?
Recently, I was given the privilege to speak to my church youth group about social media etiquette. From a professional standpoint, communications is what I do. In the spiritual sense, I also consider myself a devoted woman of God. But putting the two together? Though it was a tough task, it wasn’t impossible.
Here are some tips that I shared with the teens that evening:
- Your Name. Throughout the Bible, we see that names mean more than what we are called. In some cases it defines one’s purpose (Matthew 1:21) and in others, signifies authority (Exodus 5:23). Our profile names may be something we take lightly, but in addition to a first impression, it sends a strong message on how we see ourselves. My rule of thumb: keep it simple and either go with the name your parents gave you or something respectful. No need for @DaRealist407 or @FlyChick89 (for example).
- Your Profile Photo. Remember how we were taught to not judge a book by its cover? Although we are called not to judge others, we can’t control how others think. And for that reason, it’s important to make sure your profile photo is appropriate. Even the full body photo of yourself – replicated three times side-by-side – can give off the wrong impression. For a safe profile picture, imagine your graduation photo … without the awkward tilt of your head, of course.
- Your Posts. When in doubt, don’t post it. Often times we feel that if we don’t share something it’s the end of the world. Let me assure you that your evening at Chipotle still happened even if you don’t Snapchat your meal. If your pastor, parents or future college admissions director would cringe at a particular post, consider taking it down.
- Your Time. If you’re checking your news feed and timelines before brushing your teeth, we’ve got a problem. I won’t preach about an ideal time to spend on social media, but what I will say is that balance is essential. Social media is not the bad guy, but if it gets to a point where we’re putting it before God, it’s time to reevaluate how we’re approaching this medium.
- Your Friends. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33. In other words, and I’ll use another quote “you can’t keep a clean reputation hanging around messy people (Anonymous).” This holds true for real life and virtual connections.
Whether someone meets us in-person or find themselves perusing through our social media platforms, they should be able to recognize the character of Christ. Since you have the power to post, like, comment and share, YOU control what people see.
So, what does your online presence say about you?
© Orlando Community News, 2015