The Mask of Social Media

By Dana Cobb, Director, Business Development & Senior Account Executive at TrizCom Public Relations

Oscar Wilde was once quoted as saying, “Man is least himself when he walks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.”

It seems that we have always been more comfortable expressing ourselves from behind a mask. However, with the advent of rampant technological communication, sometimes the masks people wear when they are online, texting or via email actually muddy the tone and create misperception in messaging. This masquerade ball that is social media is absolutely the most dangerous of all.

Facebook has been linked to depression and also has been described as a haven for narcissists. Instagram, and the widespread use of "filtering," has raised concerns about how these digitally altered photos leave many people feeling envious or bad about themselves.

However, the habit of social media has become a way of functioning. We wake up, have coffee, check Facebook, go to work, Instagram at lunch, check email, Snapchat, etc. But what if we were more mindful about what we are posting and why we are posting it? What if we took one small part of impulsivity out of the equation? Create a space between thought and action.  Many people and companies have seen their brand compromised because someone didn’t do just that. The examples are endless.

Personally and in business, here are five questions that you can ask yourself that may shift your decision to share content, pictures or thoughts:

1) Why this?

                What’s the intention behind the post? Take a pause. Internally inquire.

2) Who will see this?

                Is this a company account? Is this appropriate for your intended audience?

3) Can it be misunderstood or bring about unhelpful controversy?

                Tone is tricky. You must be mindful.

4) Is this MY news to share?

Don’t blow a big announcement, especially someone else’s. Embargo until you have permission to share.

5) If commenting on an article, did you read the whole thing?

It becomes fairly obvious when someone doesn’t read an entire article before commenting. Be informed.

One tried and true rule that has stood the test of time needs to be applied no matter what mask you may or may not be wearing on social media – the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”