You Are What You Post: 5 Cautionary Lessons About Social Media Use Today

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Social media best practices allow you to present your best self to your list of "friends" and "followers." 

Right now, social media has become the go-to place to share information and opinions with friends, family, and anyone else on your feed.

These platforms are great for connectivity but they can also be manipulated, so use careful consideration when posting information.  

The social media posts you make also reflect who you are, therefore, you may need to pause a moment before you release something you might regret.

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Today is a time of great polarization. It's difficult to know who to trust or the facts that are presented to you by the information and choices you have available.

Values are changing and it's necessary to use your best judgment to express your beliefs, especially in public on social media.

Here are 5 social media best practices you need to remember before you post.

1. Beware of agendas.

The places get your facts must be evaluated carefully because there are organizations and movements that want to promote their point of view and will do just about anything to sway your allegiance to them. 

This can be left or right-wing groups, religious institutions, corporations, or individuals who want to convince you that their way of thinking is the best and that others are inferior. 

Generally, the agendas that are promoted are an attempt to raise money for a cause, gain power, influence, or control. It's not always easy to see through the reasons some information is promoted as fact even though it isn't. 

The manipulation is rampant today so you may have to do a little investigation before you can confirm certain evidence.

It's only natural to want to belong to a group, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to do. Flaws within the institutions you thought were rock solid have proven they are blemished with scandals and errors. 

The government, corporations, media, religious organizations, political parties, and even benign institutions have proven they are not immune from these issues. 

2. Discern self-discipline, filters, and sensationalism.

Using self-discipline and filters isn't always common on social media or even in your interactions with others in person. You don't consider the influence you have when expressing an opinion or stating a fact you believe to be undeniable. 

Sensationalism and irony are difficult to discern because you have a culture that is desensitized to abnormality. Misspelled words in ads are okay but rude behavior is another matter.

There may be ways to filter or demonstrate a point that do not involve a "shock" element.

Respect for others and decency are relative to opinion and many people express their version of these virtues. The golden rule is not always practiced on social media and it can turn into a big problem.

You may know someone who you felt was an outstanding individual and see them make posts that were strong enough for you to change your opinion of them. 

A person posting kind words and pictures, for example, might be someone who is worthy of your admiration. Someone consistently posting hateful posts will likely convince you that they may have a problem. 

3. Do a self-exam.

A short self-exam may allow you to view yourself from another person’s viewpoint. 

Do you post love and kindness or hate on your social media platforms? Does it matter to you what you post? Do you filter or think twice about the post you are making or not?

You may experience a reaction from out of the blue from someone you admired who finally had enough of your perspective because they believe you crossed a line. 

You may not care but if this person happens to be an employer or a close relative, you could damage your career or a relationship that you once considered precious.

If you believe the consequences are worth the price of spreading an ideology, then it's okay for you. You may live in a bubble of friends, family, and acquaintances that have the same perspective.

The issue is that when you make a public pronouncement you do not have control over who sees it.

Strong opinions may isolate you from opportunities because you are revealing your personality and character. The post may not be welcomed by someone who may have been offended but chose not to respond.

You may not care or be concerned until you begin to face unforeseen consequences.

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4. Think before you post.

It has become common for zealotry to inspire some to act against another person they disagree with because there's been no real accountability for this behavior so far. 

You may want to pause and think before you post on social media. The consequences you may create for your actions may be greater than the passion you have, in the moment.

The consequences of cancel culture are enough to make anyone think twice when posting. 

There's no leader or ideology that has the definitive moral authority to follow. It's up to individuals to exert their own morality to return to a sense of civility.

5. Who are you?

Social media is changing the world. It's good to have a platform to share information, but it can do harm if you're not careful. A short pause before you post is a reasonable habit to develop.

Society is highly polarized these days and contributing to the division is not helpful. You may be on the verge of a crisis unless some action is taken.

The information you receive these days can be an attempt to promote an agenda that may be manipulating. 

Look at your last ten posts and pause to think about the perspective you're projecting. You may have to go on a "diet" and make some changes in the postings you make on social media.

Your good judgment can be a "best practice" to follow.

You're entitled to your opinion. Or, at least, you used to be, but be careful.

It's OK to belong to a group or to have an ideology but be careful that you're not turning into a robot.

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John Cappello is a practicing psychic medium and author. Visit his website for more information about his work on his website.