Since the advent of social media, people who uses it are both content creator and publisher. People like to share stuff to their “people,” and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, some content maybe undesirable for some. And like the movie ratings in motion picture, the same practice should be observed by individuals in social media. Content creators need to be cognizant, at the onset, on how their content will eventually be consumed. So the content is crafted appropriately towards a specific audience.
Once you post an update in social media, you should expect that your audience will react to it – positively, negatively, or neither. It’s foolhardy to assume that just because someone is in your “Friends” list (on Facebook) that they will respond positively, or appropriately, to everything you share. Your audience can be your family, close friends, fans, co-workers, general public, competition, … anyone!
There are social media platforms, like Facebook, that gives you the option to define your audience. In Facebook, it’s controlled under Privacy Settings and Friends List – you can group people based on a certain criteria and you can attach this to updates you post, so only those people in that list will be able to see it.
Twitter and Instagram don’t have this fine-grained audience setting, you can only set your account as either private or public. So for private, those who follow you will be able see everything that you post. And for public, everyone who has an account will be able to see your post regardless if they are following you or not.
Scenario: If you have a very conservative friend and you post a risqué update and you get reported, or they will make a bad comment, guess whose fault is it? Yours. Know your audience and create content appropriate for that audience only.
Don’t Be An FCC
Some social media platform allows you to review comments before they get published, or gives you the ability to delete them. Pre-screening is more desirable than sanitizing comments (or discussions), you have all the right to do it, but it will make you, the publisher, look like a close minded bias individual.
However, don’t mistake constructive criticisms (about the post) versus personal attacks, by all means, nip the latter in the bud. But if you only allow favorable feedback from updates you post, that’s not really good for your image.
You Are Responsible For Your Own Privacy
Social media platforms with weaker privacy settings are often targets of content leeching – it is a practice where another site, usually not affiliated with the platform in question, use an automated process (like programs or bots) to siphon content from users on another platform without their consent for republishing for their benefit, i.e. to drive traffic to their site, commercial use, misrepresentation, spam, etc. Photo sharing social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr, that both have weak privacy settings, are often targets. Leechers often justify that since the content is published in the “public domain” that it gives them the right to use it for commercial use. When people are caught in the moment, they share anything they document in their life, it maybe fun then, but may not necessarily be in the future. And once photos are on the internet, it will be almost impossible to get rid of. With mobile phones equip with built-in cameras and public cameras rampant, it is impossible to control privacy, but you can manage what you have control of, and that is content you produce. Common pitfalls; sharing sensitive documents like driver’s license or legal documents, sharing private family photos to the public, etc. And remember, the logic, “I have nothing to hide, so I’m sharing everything.” is a fool’s argument.
EXERCISE: How To Define Audience On Facebook?
Here are simple steps on how you can define an audience on Facebook and apply it to a status update. Note: Only for Desktop version.
1. Create a “Friends List” – click “Home,” and on the left sidebar next to “Friends” click More.
You can create as many lists as you want. But having a small number of lists is easier to manage. Come up with an appropriate name for the list based on the kind of people you want to add to it. In as much as you can create a list of people you want to “allow” to see specific content, you can also create a list of people you want to “restrict” to see specific content.
2. Add Friends in your list - people can be added in many list, but it’s best to have fewer or no overlaps.
3. Use the appropriate Friends List – select the appropriate Friends List for a given status update before you post it. Your last setting is preserved, and will apply to succeeding posts until you change it.
4. Use “Custom” for mix audiences - you can use “Custom” setting if you want to target a mix group of people in multiple lists, like mixing various friends list and some individuals. Your custom setting is preserved until you change it.
5. Post your update – finally, post your update, and give yourself a pat on the back for doing your job. No policing, no surprises, no sneaky private messages, no hurt feelings, and no drama.
Unless of course your intention is to incite drama and tension or don’t give a rat’s ass, then forget about everything you read here.