Here at The Northern Light, we like to think we’re pretty hip – especially when it comes to technology.
Even more so when it comes to social networking sites. Most of us came of age around the same time as MySpace and Facebook, and have spent most of our formative years immersed in the sites our parents all thought of as “devious.”
Well, now our parents are on those “devious” sites too.
We’ve also grown with the advance of Twitter, another social networking medium based on a platform of micro-blogs. Younger than most social networks, it has become popular with the mainstream media because, unlike MySpace or Facebook, most people choose to list their updates publicly.
Including Alaska’s ex-governor, Sarah Palin.
Unlike many adults, who are still trying to figure out Twitter, she seems to have it down. She usually “tweets” a few times a day about random topics related to her life.
The thing people might not “get” about Twitter, is that that’s one of the points. Some people use it to log news, music, pop culture or whatever their interest is. Some just use it to chronicle their lives.
But with the power to document your life via Twitter, comes the responsibility to have some self-restraint. As young people navigating the digital world we’ve learned that what you say online is the equivalent of standing in front of a massive audience of captive listeners, only that whatever you say or do is posted for everyone to see, whenever they want. Over and over again.
For example: This cryptic “Mama Bear” July 15 Tweet, where Palin says, “She sees danger? She brazenly rises up on strong hind legs, growls ‘Don’t Touch My Cubs’ & the species survives.”
We get it – you’re defensive. But if you’re going to say something like that, you might as well just say it out loud. Call a press conference at your hunting shack or your fish wheel and let Katie Couric have a follow-up question for you to dodge. Using wild, rambling metaphors makes anyone look like an idiot. If you’re going to be governor, you shouldn’t attempt to look like one.
Regardless of public gaffes, one of the first rules of social networking is not to post anything personal. But this should be elaborated on one step further; don’t post anything that might be vaguely alluded to as being personal.
Another example: Say you get dumped and you’re not too happy about it. You decide that on your Twitter or Facebook status, you’re going to post something like:
“All I can do is try.”
“Let’s be us again.”
“Love is a battlefield.and I just got shot”
It’s not the most obvious way to say “I miss you and I’m upset” but is a way to get your personal feelings out there.
It’s also poor web etiquette.
If someone has something personal to say, it should be reserved for a less impersonal and public setting. There’s no quicker way to alienate and upset people than subjecting the public to your private issues and struggles.
Like deciding to quit as governor of the state of Alaska.
We get that she doesn’t want Alaska to deal with the overused “politics as usual” sentiment. Or that she doesn’t want to spend extra state money on “frivolous” ethics complaint charges. So, as part of yet another cryptic explanation, she Tweets this on July 17:
“elected is replaceable;Ak WILL progress! + side benefit=10 dys til less politically correct twitters fly frm my fingertps outside State site”
Not only does she not want to be governor anymore, she’s excited about it.
Should we, as the people who elected her, be OK with this? The Northern Light feels like jilted lovers, reading our exes’ pathetic, longing status updates. It’s immature and inappropriate.
But mostly, we are not OK with poor web etiquette.