Why can’t some people behave themselves on social media?

It never ceases to amaze me when I scroll through my Twitter feed and see many posts where people are airing their beefs in public. I’m not talking garden-variety negativity here. I see profanity-laden posts about blocking people for various reasons, or how they hate this, hate that, hate him, hate her. Maybe they’ve decided to launch an all-out public attack on a person or a company who they believe has wronged them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for righting wrongs and social justice, but there is a time and a place for everything. If you’re mad at a person or entity, there is a time and a place to air your grievances. The time is when you’re cool, calm, and collected. The place is definitely not on social media, where the whole world can see it.

Where perhaps the whole world can see you for who you really are.

I recently stumbled upon a post (I’m not naming names) by an author, directed at another author, who wrote, “Even if you’re the best writer in the world, I don’t care. You’re an asshole and because of that I’ll never buy your book.”

Think about that for a minute. When you post a negative Tweet, you can never really erase it. All someone has to do is copy and paste it, and then it floats around forever in virtual reality, staining, scarring, and tarnishing your reputation. Or perhaps showing your true colors.

Your digital footprint is your reputation. Your legacy. Make it a good one. Whatever you’re selling, whatever services your offering, regardless of your motivation for being on social media, keep it upbeat. If you must rail on someone or something, turn your computer off, find a place where you won’t disturb anyone else (where you’re completely alone), and scream bloody murder at the top of your lungs; if that’s what it takes to vent your frustrations and anger.

Or, how about this? Take a few deep breaths, take a long walk, and when you feel calm enough to talk with someone, call a friend, loved one or family member. If you want to actually have a conversation, try not to make it all about you and your anger. Or about you and your issues. Even the most loyal friends start getting a little exasperated if they hear nothing but negativity.

I know none of us are perfect. I’ve said a few things on social media that I regret. But, I made it a policy about five years ago that I would conduct myself in an upbeat fashion on social media and associate with like-minded people.

For me, it wasn’t that difficult. Overall, I’m just a glass-half-full kind of guy. I encourage like-minded people, retweet their promotional and positive posts, and often engage with them.

I have a few general rules. I don’t comment on negative posts. I don’t comment on political posts. I definitely do not engage in online arguments.

Please, folks, all I’m really saying is before you decide to vent or say something negative on social media, think about it. Do you really want your legacy and your reputation to be overshadowed with venom and vitriol?

When I’m on social media I always keep my mother’s profound yet simple words in the back of my mind: “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Best of luck with your social media campaigns.