To Share or Not to Share… that is the question [guest blog post by Emma Baird]

Please meet Emma Baird, who will be blogging for us during SMWGla. For her work, she blogs about policy matters to do with carers in Scotland. Personally, she blogs about her interests in food, diet and fitness, and skincare at highheelsandpinkglitter. Thanks, Emma!

If my mum or my employer read this, would I be dismayed? And if the answer is ‘yes’ then I don’t put it out there. That’s the golden rule I use for anything I post online. Simple, but effective.

I’m fairly reserved and some of the information I’ve seen people post on social media sites fills me with horror. Just why would you share that? And in some cases, why would you assume people would be interested in that level of everyday banality?

But here we have this tool which allows everyone to have an opinion – sometimes well informed and interesting, sometimes malicious, spiteful or typed and posted while under the influence of alcohol. Don’t do it!

There are old-fashioned rules you can use to apply to social media and which will stand you in good stead. So thinking if your mum or employer reading something that you’d posted online isn’t a scenario you want to be in, apply it.

Years ago, I was advised never to write something down in anger because it created a lasting token of an emotion which can often be short-lived. This applies doubly to social media sites. It can be very tempting to vent your rage online and it takes only minutes or even seconds for those words to appear. And then of course the subject of your rage may choose to respond online resulting in a most undignified exchange, available for the world and her husband to see. (There are a whole lot of examples of this on Twitter, usually involving reality TV stars yet to develop a thicker skin.)

Choose your online friends carefully too and check out privacy settings for everything. Privacy isn’t usually the default setting for most social networking and therefore if it’s something you value, look into the settings for your account and find out what they mean.

So share by all means – I’m very grateful for what Facebook, Twitter, blogging et al has brought to my life. I’ve admired great pictures, laughed at funny videos, contacted old friends and enjoyed the sense of connectivity with a whole wide world. But treat it with care, think of what you want other people to see of you and never, ever post while drunk…

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