Are You Safe Online? Part2- COMMENTS

I really enjoy the workshops I host about online safety. We learn so much. So one of the big questions was:
 How can you be safe out there when you leave comments on forums, blogs, social media or when others are leaving comments on the things you post?  

During the workshops, we came up with a list of ways to get control of those comments. All these rules were summed up in two phrases:


If others are leaving comments you don't find acceptable:
  • STOP following or sharing with people who make you uncomfortable.
  • NEVER associate yourself with people who might make you uncomfortable with their language, comments, discrimination, rudeness... Hey, they might be your aunt, your best friend, but online, they are out of control.
  • BLOCK, delete, and report if needed. 
  • DO NOT respond. It links you to them in searches and anything in writing is theirs. They can print it out, copy it, repost it, add it to your comments. (And yes, I have followers who use my "private" conversations with them in "public". It makes me very cautious of what I say.)
  • FORGIVE. Yup, we all make goofs. We found evidence that people can change their entire image. Let those past mistakes go. 
    • Yourself, your children, your friends, your parents. Everyone needs to be safe. If you can believe it, some made comments like, "Sure I saw her being stupid, but I figured after she got in trouble, she'd learn."
    • Know what the site is about and check it out so you understand how the comments should look. A forum that tears every single query to shreds, isn't going to do any less to yours. One that only leaves happy comments, will do the same to yours.
  • Watch for scams! Know what is real and what is a potential virus festival. 
When posting your own comments:
  • THINK before you share. Do people REALLY need to know this? Do they care? Is it important for them to know? Will they be upset if they don't know? Will it annoy them?
  • CHECK the settings before you post. Is this private, public, for certain friends only? 
  • ReCHECK 
    • Every time your application, device or the server makes upgrades in case things are reset to a default. 
    • Is a post suddenly getting a strange number of likes or shares? What's going on? Know your comfort zones and what to expect. Things can spiral out of control quickly. Deleting the source won't always fix things and once it's out of your control, the comments can turn into Meme's you didn't want.

    • Don't take it to heart when your friends don't share your excitement at your good news or don't comment on the loss of you pet. They might not have seen it, they might be waiting to see you in private, or maybe they have other reasons for blocking you or deleting you. Their platform is not yours, you can't tell others how to control it, you can only control your image, your safety.
    • Know why you are on this application, device, social media, forum and ensure it responds to that reason. For example, if you want to fangirl and leave messages for your fav Rock Band, which forum is best suited for this? Should you comment under your real name? Know what you are on, evaluate why you are on it; educate yourself.
    • Remember that what you put out there--even if privacy settings are installed--is out there. Others will view it, share it, like it and the application might own it. Don't say things you don't want shared with the general public or future generations.
    • Understand how the site or the app you are on is making profits off you.
  • BE SUPPORTIVE of your friends when good things happen to them. It's nice when your friends are happy, isn't it? 
    • Remember comments are seen by everyone.
    • Be calm and professional when you respond.                
    • Check grammar, spelling and put out your best.            
    • Have proof to back up what you say if it is a fact.         
    • If you have doubts, have others you TRUST reread it before you post it.
  • AVOID fights. 
    • Settle these things in person not online. 
    • Explain or defend yourself only if needed. 
    • Keep it simple. 
    • Get someone else to explain it for you. 
    • NEVER EVER post in anger or sadness.
  • APOLOGIZE: If you goof, apologize and fix it. Remember to apologize on the platform where the goof was made. If you made an embarrassing typo on Twitter, apologize on Twitter not on LinkedIn. If your account was hacked on Facebook, let everyone on Facebook know, not on Pinterest.
  • STAND UP TO BULLIES. When you see bullying, stick up for your friends and end it by being positive, or simply report it.
What other things do you do to stay safe online?
Comment if you dare. lol.


Nas said...

Great post, thanks for sharing. Never mind how many times we check settings, we always make goof.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Great post, Tanya. I've had the experience of blocking a couple of new followers that looked kinda creepy. And I usually do go check their twitter site out to see what kinds of tweets show up. And I've even unfriended a couple of people who wanted to get combative over issues, as that's not why I network. Your post is full of good reminders of professional networking behavior.

Richard Hughes said...

Thanks, Tanya. Can't be too careful.

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Thanks Nas, yes, we are online so much that goofs are unavoidable. Taking control of them properly is very important.

Elizabeth, that's a great example of how to be pro-active. We have to stay on top of problems before they happen sometimes.

Yup, Richard. Pays to be safe.

Valentina Hepburn said...

I've had to block some Twitter followers because I felt uncomfortable with their messages. Very timely post. (Shout out on my blog) x