Tips for social media engagement

Not sure how to engage in healthy conversations online? Here are some tips:

  1. If they didn’t ask for advice or fixing, don’t assume that they want it.
  2. If you don’t want advice or fixing, go ahead and say you don’t want it.
  3. If you weren’t there, don’t assume you know what happened or how to interpret what happened. And don’t assume your opinion is needed.
  4. You don’t belong in every conversation. Choose wisely and respect other people’s boundaries.
  5. If someone has strong feelings about something, don’t tell them how they ‘should’ be feeling.
  6. If you start a conversation, take responsibility for how people are treated in that conversation stream (and shut it down if necessary), but don’t take responsibility for their feelings about it.
  7. If a person who’s more marginalized (or abused, ostracized, etc.) than you shares a story of their marginalization, believe them, even if it implicates people like you.
  8. If you are triggered by something, resist the urge to respond out of a fight/flight/freeze/tend&befriend mindset. Walk away and (if necessary) return when you’re more grounded.
  9. When you make a mistake, admit it, make reparations, apologize if necessary, but don’t over-explain or justify your actions. And don’t delete your mistake if there is learning to be had from the conversation around it.
  10. If someone exhibits the kind of behaviour you wouldn’t allow in your home, you don’t need to allow them in your social media stream.
  11. It’s not your job to convince people of the truth as you see it. If they’re intent on arguing, but the argument exhausts you, walk away.
  12. Consider it a general rule-of-thumb that if the privacy of something is set at “public” it’s shareable, and if it’s “friends only” it’s not.
  13. If someone regularly shares selfies, photos of their food, or other things you think are trivial, just stop following them instead of offering your opinion.
  14. If you need comfort or support, go ahead and ask for it, but if you’re feeling really vulnerable or raw, consider asking in a smaller container (ie. a private group) rather than out in public.
  15. Comments like “not ALL white people” or “not ALL men” are defensive and never helpful in a conversation. If that’s all you have to offer, step away from the conversation.
  16. If you don’t want Mark Zuckerberg to share your personal information with the Russians, don’t post it online.
  17. Just because you’ve known someone since kindergarten, doesn’t mean you have to accept their friend request.
  18. Tend your own heart first, then tend the hearts of those closest to you. If you still have energy after that, tend those who have the fewest protectors or supporters.
  19. If someone shares something relevant to their culture, race, gender, etc., and it’s outside of your experience, ask questions respectfully (if it seems the right place for it), but don’t offer judgement or critique.
  20. When in doubt, be kind.