Our mothers taught us to mind our manners. “Yes please,” and “no thank you,” are terms practically embedded into every day conversation – words said subconsciously without thinking twice. But in the past few years, conversation has shifted. The social media phenomenon has taken much of our day-to-day interaction out of the streets and onto our computer or smart phone screens. Do our manners make the transition, or get lost in translation?
Watch Your Words
It’s easy to voice strong opinions when we are safely snuggled in our beds, protected by the comfort of our pillows and by the lock on our door. We tend to have more confidence saying what we feel on the Internet. The recent “the HUB is not a playground” tweet is a perfect example of this. (If you don’t know what we’re talking about, google it.) But before you tweet or post a status, stop and think about if you would have the guts to make that same comment in person. If not, then chances are you probably shouldn’t be posting it. Our online identity should reflect our character.
If Grandma Wouldn’t Like It…
At Penn State we hold the red solo cup so casually in photos you’d think the contents were skim milk. But what we as college students may deem appropriate greatly differs in the eyes of employers, and our elders. Today, our online identity is almost as important as our personal one. Professionals use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to conduct background checks and investigate potential employees. Play it safe with your photos by using this rule: if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, don’t post it. If you can’t resist, alter your privacy settings to limit the audience on certain photos. Also, hide questionable pictures uploaded by others from appearing on your profile.
Food for Thought
In 2010, The U.S. Library of Congress announced that it would keep a digital archive of every single tweet that has even been publicly broadcast on Twitter. If that fact is seriously freaking you out, join the club. Now is the time to take what our mothers taught us about minding our p’s and q’s and apply them to the way we interact on the Internet.
“Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.”
– Margaret Thatcher
Photo by Lauren Matakas