Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Top 5: Social media crimes

I think it would be safe to assume that almost everyone is on some form of social media nowadays. Even my lecturers, parents and grandmother use Facebook. With that, there has been a lot of emphasis put on safety while using social media. What personal information you shouldn't post online, how to protect your privacy, who not to give information to etc. This will not be one of those posts. This will be more about social media etiquette. The top 5 things you should never do on social media, not because it is unsafe, but simply because many people will hate dislike you for doing so.

5. Overzealous marketing
With so many people on social media, it was only a matter of time before it was turned into a tool for marketing. Now I don't mind my friends marketing their products or services. If anything I'm happy they are working hard to become successful entrepreneurs, and I support them when I can by recommending them to others or by liking their pages. But sometimes, some people can get a little too pushy with marketing. They tag you in EVERY SINGLE PHOTO of their products, they spam links on your wall and flood your timeline with non-stop marketing. I understand they want to promote their products and services, but sometimes too much marketing can seem a little desperate.

4. Clicking on spam links
How I feel when I see spam
If you see the same content posted over and over again, with the exact same comment made by your friends, or a comment that doesn't sound like it came from that friend who posted it, it's probably a spam virus. Which means DON'T CLICK ON IT! When you do, the virus automatically posts itself onto your timeline, your friends' walls, into the groups you are a part of and into chat messages. If it has a sensational headline, or if it promises you a free iPhone or whatever, just don't click it. Just don't.

3. Sharing information before checking it's credibility
Social media has become many people's primary source of news and information. This is both good and bad. Good because you can easily know about current events without having to go to various news sites; bad because some of the information shared is just straight up wrong. During the weeks leading up to Malaysia's 13th General Election, and the days that followed, there was a lot of information being thrown around on social media. Some might have been true, but most were probably false. The problem lies with people who read something online, and share it immediately without first checking if it is true or not. Issues like inflation have become the rage post-GE13, but most people just share pictures of bread and receipts without first checking for credibility of the information. They end up spreading lies and fitnah, and we all know how fast information spreads online.

2. Posting inappropriate pictures
I'm not talking about nude pictures or anything like that. I've touched on this issue before but I think it deserves a second mention. Let me tell you some of the images I've seen on Facebook courtesy of my friends: A baby with his/her legs burnt to ash, a mother crying holding her dead child, several dead children lying on the streets, a physically deformed baby who looks like a cyclops, a man skinning a human arm preparing it for a meal, a finger with the fingernail peeling off, a boy's disfigured hand after playing with fireworks. Get the picture? It doesn't matter what you say about the image. When people see something they don't like, they will continue scrolling. Whatever message you wanted to share won't be seen. Having these disheartening and gruesome images on your timeline is not something that people want. I seriously hate it when people share these kinds of images. 

1. Post spoilers
The same applies to EVERY movie
and TV series. Image: Cheezburger 
Never, EVER post spoilers on social media, even if you write "SPOILER ALERT" first. When people read updates on social media, they don't read one word at a time. They tend to scan the entire post. People get passionate about TV series and movies, and having someone post what happens on social media before they watch it themselves can really, really piss them off. It has happened to me countless times. As an example, there was a TV series I used to watch, and the final season was currently airing. I was a little behind but someone decided to post on Facebook that the main character dies in the series finale. I didn't watch the remaining episodes. Just because you already watched something doesn't give you the right to spoil it for others. This may seem trivial, but this is the number 1 thing I hate the most.

If anyone is guilty of these crimes, you should be banned from social media. I mean it.