Let’s keep the Web a safe space for all

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Everyone is allowed to express themselves however they want to, especially on the big ol’ World Wide Web. Technically, anyone can post about anything under the sun on their social media pages because (1) it’s their profile and (2) they have the right to freedom of speech and expression.  Like every good thing in life, however, too much can sometimes turn the good into the bad, and even the ugly.

In this day and age, it’s so easy for words to get lost in translation. Your meanings are different from the person’s at the other end of the screen. It just takes one wrong usage of a term, and the internet goes on a ravenous manhunt. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, though. Most times, the online community comes together for the right causes. That goes without saying we can’t be blind to the other side of the coin where other people post downright hateful messages. You know it’s bad when people start leaving/avoiding a social platform because of the community there.

It’s an understatement when I say the Web can be scary. Because it really is. What we can do is to try to keep it a place where everyone will feel welcome. If you’re not sure if what you say or post online is offensive, check out this list of how you can make the internet a safe space for all.

If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing

This is social media 101. It’s basic. Just think about all the energy you’ll be wasting just to type a nasty or hateful comment about someone online. Instead, channel that energy to do something more productive.

Also, don’t be a troll. There are a number of people on the internet who know which words to say to push someone’s buttons. Don’t be one of them. Seeking out fights with strangers online, even if you’re bored, should never be a hobby. Be quick to bite your tongue to hate and be eager to spread love. Remember: people have feelings. Is it really worth your time to go out of your way to hurt someone?

When in doubt, Google

Reading means learning and educating yourself about certain topics you might or might not be familiar with. It’s important to do this first before mashing away at your keyboard.

When in doubt, ask. Or Google! It’s not shameful to admit you don’t know something. Information is already at your fingertips, so take time to access it. You’ll save much more time and energy Googling than arguing with someone online.

Always keep in mind that reading is fundamental in scenarios where you’re reading someone else’s posts. Before sharing your opinions on the matter, think about the context. Why do you think he/she posted this? What do you think he/she wants to get out of it? If you want to share how you see things from your side, do it in a friendly manner because people tend to get hostile when they feel hostility directed toward them.

At the end of the day, we all share the Web and we all enjoy the fact that we can post anything we want. Must we wait for the time to come when moderators will check our posts first before making them visible to our friends? Or wouldn’t it be better to start being kinder to each other now?

Read more: 10 social media etiquette you should follow

Words Ayie Licsi

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