Social media – it’s quick, simple and increasingly part of our daily lives. But whether it’s for business or pleasure, as we sit behind the perceived anonymity of a keyboard leaving a growing trail of digital footprints it pays to ponder the mark we leave and the picture we present.

Social Media – Are you leaving a mark to be proud of- (1)

So here are some points of to consider as we navigate the social media minefield and leave our mark for now and future generations.

Would you say that in the real world?

You see it on a regular basis – people making comments about posts that they would be unlikely to make to someone’s face. The rule of thumb should be; only say what you would in the real world, remembering words used on social media are no less harmful than in person. More to the point they are there for posterity, a written record forever online, and the laws are evolving every day when it comes to social media and defamation.

Respect others and the value they add to conversations

Social media is a true democracy, a place where people are free to comment, post ideas and add to conversations. And that’s a fact that should be respected on the net. You may not agree with a person’s political or social views, but they’re entitled to them. A little bit of respect goes a long way online, and if people considered social media discussions more like a lively dinner party where debates are engaged in and enjoyed, there’s so much more to learn.

Privacy is still Privacy

Some people love social media and are happy to put their whole lives online, but that’s not the case for everyone, and that too should be respected. If you want to tag a person in an image on Facebook or post a screenshot of a conversation, seek the other party’s permission first. After all, would you pin their holiday pics to a notice board at the local community centre or print their letter in the newspaper without consulting them first?

Please and Thank You go a long way

In the words of American essayist Waldo Emerson: “Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy” and that certainly applies to social media. Yes a draw card of modern communication is that it’s brief, succinct and straight to the point, but please and thank you never go out of style, and kindness and respect engender that in others.

It’s easy to feel comments and actions on social media float out into the ether never to be seen again, but just as in the real world, the way we interact online is a reflection of who we are and what we stand for as an individual or business entity. With some manners, courtesy and consideration, you can ensure your digital footprint accurately reflects the right image and tone.