This is, as far as I know, the one hundredth column I have written. I don’t think that’s entirely accurate — in the past, I have written from other computers and such — so I think this is column number 115? 130? Something like that. But on this laptop, this is marked as ‘Blog Improvement 100’ and that calls for a special gesture.
So, this week, I’m going to talk about manners. More specifically, manners and social media. What are the four top no-nos of navigating a world that is mostly online? Let’s get started:
Post incriminating information on Facebook: A good status message is short and funny, reveals something about your life or your day, and can be just as easily forgotten. A bad status message is something that is full of poison and lingers in people’s memories for a very long time. Do not post anything past two in the morning, do not post naked pictures, or those of your friend throwing up. Do not make references to your messy break up. Stay as classy online, as you would off it.
Think before you tweet: This sentence has become a bit of a catch phrase. From the woman posting about her miscarriage in the middle of a meeting, to the one who continued to tweet while her drowned toddler was being pulled out of a pond, having an application on your phone and your fingertips is a dangerous thing. Like Facebook, I’d recommend posting nothing under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, if you’re pissed off at someone, don’t tell the world until you’ve had a chance to cool off. You never know who’s following you.
Be careful, stupid: If you’re using Facebook Places, Google’s Latitude or Foursquare on a regular basis with markers to your house, your favourite coffee shop or the dark alley you just walked down, you may as well have a T-shirt on that says, “Please Stalk Me!” Being open and frank, brilliant. Telling the world your address and number of belongings, very not
Pick your battles: Okay, you hate Chetan Bhagat / Salman Khan / Raj Thackeray / faulty service at an airport. But in a world so primed against terror, you just cannot make a statement like “tempted to blow the whole place up” and not get flack for it. There is a fine line between being funny and being a troll. And since Google was invented, nothing you say online will ever be forgotten, so if you’re going to get into politics, be careful that you believe one hundred per cent in the team you’re batting for.
Meenakshi writes a blog at thecompulsiveconfessor.blogspot.com.