This post is a series of blogs contributed by SMW NYC media partner Differences Magazine. To learn more about Differences Magazine and to see the original post by Jessica Bender, please click here. You can watch the SMW NYC event on livestream here.
Being a social butterfly takes a lot of energy; along with constantly juggling your Facebook and Tumblr feeds, you have to make sure to be smart about what you’re doing on your beloved social networks. Add another thing to your list of things to be concerned about – you might be a social media sinner, and you might not even know it.
If you’re desperate to run to confession to have your soul detoxed, don’t freak out too much. According to a survey conducted by marketing-communications brand JWT, 71 percent of people over the age of 18 have committed at least one social media sin. On top of that, the average person is guilty of doing two sins out of seven.
So, let’s get to the bottom of this. What, exactly, are the seven social media sins? Answer: they are much like the seven deadly sins we’re all very familiar with. The rundown of the scorching sins are:
1. Greed of social media attention
2. Gluttonous towards consumption of online and social content
3. Lust and desire – think of spending too much time sexting with your boy/girlfriend of the week or watching too much Internet porn
4. Social media enabling you to be a lazy bum
5. Acting angry or lashing out towards people on your social network
6. Social media arrogance
7. Jealousy towards what other people in your network are doing
The topic of teens’ sins on social networks came up heavily during the How and Why We Share: The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media panel on February 16th at JWT Headquarters. Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen Magazine, Ann Shoket, knows first-hand about teens’ online behavior, since she and her team interact with teenage girls all the time. “[It’s great] that girls have a voice and can make a mark,” Shoket comments. “[However}, teens have to be incredibly smart about their own PR and making their own image.” If they’re not, teens are going to abuse their power of free speech and spew obscenities and TMI facts that their followers don’t want to hear.
Another problem that teens may face thanks to their social media use is acting shallow about practically anything they encounter. “Liking something has become such a shallow act,” said JWT Digital Strategist Jinal Shah. “Blogging’s better because it pushes people to think and get into a conversation.” More importantly than that, it enables readers of blog posts to construct new and original thoughts upon reading a piece of stellar writing. That’s definitely something that most teeny-boppers have a hard time doing on Twitter, with the very-limited character space and all.
It’s evident what the Big Baddie of Social Media is, though; the utterly despicable act of trolling and cyber bullying (or, as Shoket prefers to call it, “digital drama”). It feels like every day a new story comes out about teens being tortured by their peers or complete strangers on the Internet.
The perfect example of Internet trolling at its worst (at least in my eyes) was the sad situation involving Florida tween Jessi Slaughter. If you don’t know about this, let me clue you in. 11 year-old Jessi liked to post semi-inappropriate videos and self-portraits on MySpace and YouTube. This would usually go unnoticed and ignored by everybody except her friends. Unfortunately, a poster from the infamously trollish 4chan picked up on one of her videos and posted it all over the site. The Team of Trolls couldn’t help but harass her from all sides, from calling her names via email and IM to sending her death threats via text. Long story short, the trauma of the online harassment landed her in several mental institutions.
Cyber bullying may be hard to defeat, but it’s not immortal. For instance, Seventeen launched a social media campaign called Delete Digital Drama last summer to fight back against it using Facebook and Twitter badges to start the conversation. With a growing community of teens against this harsh form of bullying, it should be harder to get away with harassing people on each other’s Facebook walls.
Now that you’ve been enlightened of your possible online wrongdoings, it’s now up to you to check yourself before you go off being a social media menace. You’ll feel a heck of a lot better not being a troublemaking troll or a jealous lazy bum.
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