Humans are inherently social—we crave connection and interaction. So it’s no surprise that social media has become integral to our lives. While it serves its primary purpose of allowing us to connect with people, share our opinions and experiences, and stay informed about what’s happening worldwide, it’s a central plus point that it’s also a source of daily laughter, entertainment, and inspiration for many.
Some people might even think that social media is the best thing ever. However, it is essential to remember that it has a fair share of significant drawbacks when not used properly. So before hitting that post or share button, spare time to read these five things you should avoid doing on social media.
Don’ts of Social Media
Posting Personal Information
This is one of the most common mistakes people make on social media. By sharing too much personal information, you unknowingly expose yourself to cyber criminals lurking and waiting on social media platforms for their next target.
Hackers and scammers can quickly take over your social media account with your shared personal information such as a home and work address, contact number, email address, and birthday. They can easily steal your identity, scam you, or trace you—putting your overall safety at risk. So, be mindful of what information you share on social media, and limit it to only the bare essentials like your name and profile picture.
Sharing Fake News
While social media is a platform where people can share experiences and thoughts, it can be a breeding ground for fake news and false advertisements. Since anyone can write and post whatever content they want, regardless of its accuracy, it’s easy for this incorrect information to spread like wildfire on social media. Not only does this mislead people, but it can also cause panic and chaos.
Be a responsible social media user by verifying the authenticity of the news or claims of the products before sharing. You can help stop misinformation by running a quick search on Google. If you can’t find credible sources to back up the claim, it’s probably fake.
Trolling and Cyberbullying
With the anonymity that social media provides, some people use it to harass, threaten, or embarrass someone deliberately. Trolling and cyberbullying can make social media a toxic environment clouded with harsh, offensive, and traumatic comments. Unfortunately, many people have fallen victim to these online attacks, damaging victims’ mental health and reputation, sometimes even leading to self-harm or suicide.
So, don’t respond with the troll if you witness bullying or harassment online—you can unintentionally contribute to it going viral. Instead, report the incident to the social media platform so that they can take appropriate action. And if you’re ever on the receiving end of trolling or cyberbullying, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support.
Posting Inappropriate and Sensitive Content
Another social media faux pas that can bounce back to bite you is posting offensive or sexually explicit comments or images. Not only will others have a negative impression of you, but they can also get you into legal trouble. If the photo or comment is of someone else without their consent, you might violate their privacy rights, and they can sue you for defamation.
Aside from that, posting sensitive content can also offend or upset people—even if it’s just a joke. This content includes religion, political views, race, or sexual orientation. If you post about these topics on social media, be respectful and mindful of how your words might affect others. Avoid getting into arguments with people who may have opposing views—you’re not going to change their minds by typing heated words on a keyboard.
Spamming People’s Inbox
Social media is a great way to connect with friends, family, and even strangers that share the same interests as you. But that doesn’t mean you should spam their inboxes with messages or notifications, especially if they don’t know you. That’s just annoying, intrusive, and rude. Likewise, if you keep liking or commenting on someone’s post even though they don’t acknowledge you, it might make them feel uncomfortable.
If you want to talk to someone, start by sending a friend request or following them first. Once they accept your request or follow you, you can start messaging them. But even then, don’t overdo it. You should space out your messages and allow them some time to respond. If they’re not responding, maybe they’re not interested in talking to you. In that case, move on.
Once you post something on social media, it becomes public information that anyone can see, including your family, acquaintances, and colleagues. So think twice before posting online—you wouldn’t want your hard-earned reputation, career, and future opportunities to be jeopardized with just a click. Finally, keep in mind that your cautious and considerate posts make social media a safer and more pleasant experience for everyone.