Think Before Posting

Social media is a remarkable thing in that it gives not only friends and family, but perfect strangers, a pretty good insight into a user's psyche. From the comfort of our living rooms, we learn who is positive and optimistic, who is negative and dramatic, who we should avoid and who we might like, if we actually met them in person.

This is good for those whose words match the pleasant thoughts in their heads, but not so good for those who struggle with negativity and who don't take the time to consider what message their words convey. Their negativity screams out through their words, and has an adverse effect on attracting positive people and energy into their lives.

Many who consistently post negative messages seem unaware of the image they create for themselves through their words. In their mind, they are just blowing off steam; however, to someone who barely knows them, they are creating a very unattractive image - an image that will make it difficult for them to attract the positive energy that they so obviously need. They are scooping water into a sinking boat.

Before social media and even the Internet, astute people used journals and diaries to help them monitor their thinking and emotions. They knew that what they wrote impulsively and privately allowed them to see their thoughts on paper and make corrections, if necessary. The Internet changed that for a lot of people. Instead of keeping those thoughts private and quietly working to improve them, they published them instantly. Again, this can be positive if the poster's thoughts are positive, but negative if the opposite is true.

One of my favorite sayings goes: Mind your thoughts for they become your words; mind your words for they become your actions; mind your actions for they become your habits; mind your habits for they become your character; watch your character for it becomes your destiny.

In that hierarchy, the few moments before we press the share/post button fall between thoughts and words. When we are looking at what we just wrote or what cartoon or picture we are about to share, we are seeing our current state of mind. If we decide to post those thoughts, they instantly transmit an image of us to the world. Is it the image we intend or should we hit cancel, sign off and address our thoughts before proceeding?

Consider a post that I see several times on Monday morning: MONDAYS SUCK!

While it's true that many employees try to wish away the first day of the work week, the vast majority of those keep that thought to themselves, because they recognize the negativity and lack of appreciation it conveys. Most social media users would recognize this too, if they took the time to evaluate their thoughts before sharing them.

What are you really saying when you say, "MONDAYS SUCK"? Obviously, you are voicing frustration that your weekend is over, and your time is obligated to work rather than pleasure. You're not alone in that sentiment; many would prefer a life of leisure to one of productivity and to spend time with friends and family instead of at the factory or office. However, instead of saying "MONDAYS SUCK," and proceeding to head into the first day of the week with dread and bitterness, these people approach their work week with a sense of purpose and resolve, understanding that work is essential to living for most people not yet retirement age.

They might also consider that their audience could include those with terminal diseases who hope to see as many Mondays as possible or, those who wish that they had a job to go to on Monday. Those are the people most likely to purse their lips and shake their heads at the MONDAYS SUCK post, but there are many others who dislike negative intrusions in their day. Among that latter group could be customers, clients and others whose opinions we value.

Your social media activity is part of your brand - how the world sees and values you. Just as Pepsi wouldn't attach a pile of trash to its logo, don't attach bitter and negative words and images to yours.

-- Mitch Arnold