With everything going on in the world, things are tense and a quick scroll through your social media feed shows it. People have differing opinions on everything from politics to face mask protocol and it seems like now more than ever, sharing those opinions in posts can set off heated debates. If you’re trying to avoid negativity or the stress of wondering if you posted the wrong thing at the wrong time, Dr. Chrysalis Wright, a psychology professor at the University of Central Florida who specializes in media behavior, suggests asking yourself these questions before posting.
- “Where did I get the information I want to share, and is it accurate?” – Before you share an article or someone else’s informational post, double-check that the content is verifiable and from a credible source. It’s always a good idea to do some fact checking before you share or post so you’re not spreading misinformation.
- “Why do I want to share this?” – Is this post important to you because you have a personal connection to it or is it a subject you want to bring attention to? Maybe it’s just a thirst-trap photo of you looking good while drinking a margarita, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
- “How can I phrase what I want to share in a respectful manner?” – There’s no hard and fast rule about what the most appropriate tone is, but unprovoked intensity probably isn’t the way to go. For example, if you’re posting a photo of yourself wearing a mask, writing two-paragraphs shaming people who don’t wear masks is only inviting conflict. “Try to steer clear of emotionally charged posts,” Dr. Wright advises. And proofread it for tone and expression before posting.
- “Am I prepared to receive backlash from my post and defend it and myself, if necessary?” – Make peace with what you decide to post and if you sense that it could be controversial, gear up for the response you may get. And be prepared for negative feedback and comments, because haters gonna hate.
At the end of the day, regardless of opinions, be kind and respectful. Telling everyone else they’re wrong literally accomplishes nothing. Your relationships with friends and family are more important for everyone’s long-term well-being.