Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Opinion: Think before posting in 2019

Social media has become a grand medium for how we communicate with and react to our world. Because of this, throughout 2018, some people’s off-handed posts caused some major problems. There are two major lessons we can take from these mishaps to make 2019 social media interactions a bit more palatable: be respectful and check for accuracy before posting. 

The first lesson we can learn is from the saga of Logan Paul that unfolded at the very beginning of 2018. The YouTuber posted a series of videos of his tour of Japan that caught some criticism for his disrespect of the culture before hitting a breaking point in his video when he recounts his visit to Japan’s Aokigahara forest on Dec. 31, 2017. In this video, Paul showed footage of a dead body. 

In the first few weeks of 2018, fans and outsiders were riled up about the infamous video. Google’s reaction entailed removing Paul from their preferred partner program, causing the celebrity to lose approximately $5 million of ad revenue. Twitter lit up with reactions belittling Paul’s actions as immature and insensitive because he decided to include footage of the dead body and comedic comments regarding it. Paul then spent most of 2018 trying to redeem himself to his former fans, showing remorse and posting more thought-out and sensitive videos to make up for his previous impulsiveness. 

The other example of tweets gone haywire in 2018 is many of President Donald Trump’s tweets, this time because of a lack of accuracy. President Trump tends to tweet impulsively with unverified information, causing many of those who are not among his most loyal supporters to mistrust his statements. Regardless of how one agrees or disagrees with the man’s policies, it has become common for the White House staff to have to come back and clean up or correct the president’s statements over the platform. 

The inaccuracy of President Trump’s tweets from virtually any other person would lead their audiences to start discounting the seriousness of their statements. However, because they are being made by the president of the United States of America, the office has to put out even the most outlandish statements with some seriousness. 

These mistakes happen by President Trump stating personal opinions as facts, exaggerating needlessly and not using verified information. Most of them are easily correctable by spending a little extra time before posting in order to really understand the issue and the numbers involved, rather than making assumptions based on limited information. These tweets have called the professionalism of the president into question, making the political side of social media much more fiery than it needs to be.

Though most people do not face such serious ramifications when they post online, it’s still important to think about how people will react before posting. Each person is entitled to their opinion, but checking that your post is respectful and accurate in its information can help others to accept it as valid, rather than just writing it off as uneducated and insignificant. 

As in most instances, in order to be respected, you have to be respectful. A little bit of decorum on social media wouldn’t destroy it, but could make it a generally nicer place to be.

If you take time to think out posts before you put them up impulsively, you not only make yourself look more trustworthy online, but you also get to be on the leading edge of making social media a kinder, more thoughtful place in 2019. 

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