Clinical psychologist Alina Philip says, “Much like the media, social networking sites reach everybody. Therefore, we need to follow ethics and be extremely sensitive to what goes up on them. ”
Admit it: As much as social networks allow us to stay connected with people across the demographics, they are partly superficial. And we get to be pretentious. Most status updates and pictures are to show how witty you are, how much fun and interesting your life is, how deep you are — basically a concentrated effort to dictate a perception of the unique snowflake that is you.
While there is nothing wrong in this, tread carefully when relationships with others are involved. Making and maintaining relationships need effort, time and direct communication — and all of it invested offline.
Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Varkha Chulani, says, “There’s a fine line between sharing of information and emotional exhibition.” “Love you darling. Muah”, “Thanks for last night”, “We need to talk” and “I think your sister is fat” does not need to make it on the Wall. These conversations are best had person to person. And if this is not the kind of thing you would say to his/her face, it makes it all the more cowardly to say it online.
Like Philip says, “Would you go to the middle of Azad Maidan screaming that you have broken up? Then why publicise on Facebook? Your personal space is your personal space. Respect it. Do not make a mockery out of it. Maintain the sanity of your relationship.”
This extends to changes in relationship messages. From Single to Taken to It’s complicated, it’s less of sharing of good news and more of hungering for attention. Wouldn’t it be wiser to decide on the status of your relationship after you’ve finished fighting and decided mutually on it?
Also announcing the cementing of your relationship through status change can be awkward if you have not had ‘the talk’ offline first. Otherwise ABC is happily ‘in a relationship’ with XYZ, but XYZ hasn’t really changed her status from Single.
Be a suit
Taking office gossip and team rivalry online will not reflect well on your resume. Even here, it is better if you solve your problems face-to-face rather than resort to vague sarcastic comments on their status messages and photos.
And no matter how bad your day has been, don’t bitch about a client or boss on your blog and Twitter. You may have a friend who knows a friend, who knows the boss. Besides, your future employers could be online and they will think twice about hiring a person with no discretion.
Keep it positive
A rule of thumb is to announce only the positive — a new job, a celebration or new degree. Steer clear of washing dirty linen in public. Do not talk about your bad day at work or your unpleasant marriage. Remember: 500 friends of friends do not need to know.
Pictures have ceased to be snapshots for posterity and grown into frames of exhibitionism. And here you need to be more careful. What seemed funny when you were drunk and in college, will not be as ticklish when you land a job, or when you wake up sober. When the pictures are of somebody else, the responsibility is greater. You do not know what could land a friend or colleague into trouble and it is best to avoid uploading any picture or video that brings even a shadow of doubt. Happy smiling family pictures may be boring, but they are less likely to land you in a lawsuit.
Pictures of you with your arm around a bikini-clad babe, or shirtless dude after a break-up point less to you being cool and more to you being lame. “This reflects that you are providing solace to yourself that you have a good life, while revealing emotional instability,” says Chulani.
– If you can’t say it to the person’s face, don’t say it online.
– Keep sex talk in the bedroom.
– Save work whines and gossip for post-work drinks.
– Keep pictures PG 13. Just mail the saucy ones if you’re desperate to share and mind the recipient list; BCC it for water-tightness.
– Keep tweets politically correct.
– Discuss relationship status and update mutually.