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Think before you post - A social media message

Posted on 5th August 2016

Hi and welcome back to my monthly blog.

It has been a dynamic month online with conversations ranging from the EU referendum to the UEFA European Championships. These have sparked a lot of political debates and conversations online, but have occasionally escalated into name calling and slander. Sometimes the comments were made in jest and other times maliciously, these have then been brought to our attention.

Generally, a portion of the reports relating to online activity could be avoided if people considered the impact of the words they used online, whether it’s to get a point across or to make a joke.

It’s only too easy to misinterpret language online without facial expressions. 80% of our communication is made up of non-verbal clues that we subconsciously pick up on in a face to face conversation. So whilst technology has enhanced our capability to connect and network with people, it can also be difficult to properly express ourselves online.

There are also times where ‘trolls’ visit social media sites solely to pick on what people say to make fun of the individual.

To avoid these situations, it’s always best to consider the words and comments you make before posting them on social media. Ask yourself, would you say this to a family member? And how would you feel if someone asked you that, or made that comment to you?

Consider the impact of your actions before you take to the keyboard. Once you post a photograph, comment, or tag on social media sites it is difficult to control where it may end up.

Just think, if you have posted something controversial online, could someone screen shot it and share it on another site? Could it affect your future employment prospects? Remember, they may not have a context around that comment or photograph and could potentially make a snap judgement.

It is worth taking the time to step back and think wider than what you may feel in the heat of the moment. This is easier said than done, but if you feel frustrated by a comment someone has made, maybe it’s time to step away from the computer until you feel rational enough to find the right response. Sometimes the best response is no response and that too is ok.

Thank you for reading my blog post, if you have any cyber concerns or would like advice on an issue, let me know by contacting me on Twitter (@DigitalPCSO) or by sending me a message here - It could be our next blog post!

In the meantime, why not visit our webhub and read back on some of my previous blogs? 

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.