The internet was built for sharing information. So how do you know when you see something online if it’s worth sharing? Is it safe to share it, and what does it really mean to share things online? I want the internet to be a nice place, I really do. The reality of life not being perfect is as true in our digital lives as it is in our homes and workplaces. We know when our gardens are a looking like they could do with a tidy up pretty easily. We can take a peek out our window and in a single glance see that a little hard work now will pay off big time when we crack open a cold beer and enjoy the space on a hot afternoon. It’s not so obvious with our social media profiles. Over time our untended gardens could use a little pruning here and there, and maybe a little re-organisation, sometimes a total overhaul – the same can be said for our digital gardens. Next time you’re going to share something quickly run through what value you’re adding – to yourself and your community.
Stuff you should never share:
- Illegal Stuff: It should go without saying, it’s been decided that this stuff is so bad for us that we are outright banning it. It takes many years and a lot of hurt and losses to get something made illegal and I can’t think of a single situation where this would be adding value in our communities.
- Hurtful Stuff: Please stop and THINK before you post. Is is True, Hurtful, Illegal, Necessary and Kind.
- Untrue Stuff: For the same reason we tell our kids not to spread gossip, and not to lie. It doesn’t add any value, and most of the time it results in seriously unbalanced situations with unhappy endings. Of course the caveat here is organising surprise birthday parties. It’s easy to share things that aren’t true by accident, which is why you should check out the tips below for making sure you’ve got your ducks in a row.
Stuff you should do when sharing
- Check it’s legit: First check that domain name up in the URL bar is actually correct. Is it really the right domain name? Not sneakily adding or removing any characters? Do a quick online search and check you’re not sending your mates to a cloned website!!
Quick which one’s correct?
- Check the facts: because gossip stops when it reaches a wise person. Have a look over on Snopes and you’ll see if they’ve busted it as a myth already. When you share things ‘just in case’ you are acting as a distribution point for fabrications. If the old use-a-tennis-ball-to-unlock-a-car trick really worked, then there would be a lot more stolen cars out on the roads! Next time you see something that looks too good to be true, protect your community by using Google, Bing or even DogPile to check the facts. If you’re looking for more proof before sharing why not try one of the search engines in this list of search engines on Wikipedia.
- Check the copyright: when you find a great image you’d like to use somewhere, check that license before sharing it. If you share an image that someone has put in the creative commons then this infographic from fotor will help you make sure you’re using it for one of the allowed purposes. Don’t claim it if it isn’t yours – that’s just lying.
- Add value: Be one of those people that adds value when they share. Sometimes people we know do stuff online that doesn’t add value. Oversharing has to be the most obvious/annoying things here (#TBT baby photos anyone?) We love you, but you must be stopped because this is just too embarrassing. If it really is funny, and you really do want to share it consider the medium you use to share it and whether it’s in a PM (private message) or a group (less public, but still public).