Have you ever unfriended some people because you do not like what they post? I have.
Have you ever wished to unfollow some people whom you cannot unfriend because you have to know what they post? I have.
Have you ever yearned for your timeline to be an aggregate of useful information than a feed of useless chatter? I have.
If we develop allergic reactions to these vexatious people, we have to likewise ask ourselves the question: Are we also annoying to them? It is more realistic to manage our own social media life, than to expect others to regulate themselves (but of course, we hope they read this!).
Discover how our Ateneo High School community reflected on our internet “persona” in view of changing what we do in cyberspace into a pleasant and professional activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. We want to use our social media for social good.
I guess, we all have experienced some social media ‘friend’ who gets on our nerves because we constantly see their rants, their whines, and their repeated posting of their “selfies of themselves.” Let me define that: the selfies we don’t want is a photo of one person in a frame, taken by the very person on the photo, and done repeatedly. Worse is a collage of only their faces (e.g. in four quadrants). After all, you can only take one or two of an unflattering photo, but that’s about it. The important adverb is “repeatedly.”
For the Ateneo High School’s Community Spiritual Hour on 5 September 2014, we decided to reflect on our “persona” in the internet. We believed that we represented the school wherever we went, whenever we were in public – whether real or virtual. We carried the name of the school and its values, so our “persona” in cyberspace should equally be respectable. St. Ignatius of Loyola had given us a tenet:
Not to impress, but to edify.
At the very least, our community affirmed that among all social media posts, we had an aversion to repeated selfies, different forms of hate messages and emotional rants the most.
These were the reflection questions:
- What posts do you like? What kind of accounts do you follow?
- What posts do you not like? What kind of accounts do you unfollow?
- How do you regulate yourself on social media?
- As a member of the faculty and staff of the Ateneo High School, what are professional ways of regulating oneself in social media?
After sharing our personal answers to our small retreat group, we sent the data to the Testing and Research Office (TRO) for collation. And then we reported the results to the community for deepening. Fortunately, the community found the results enlightening. We were happy to discover concrete suggestions on how to behave ethically and professionally in cyberspace. And we did not have to look far: the results came from our very own.
Dear readers, you can make your own judgements about what posts help inspire another person to be God-like, and what items don’t. You can also profit from these results if you take them as guides to ethical behaviour in social media.
I will also include some of the staff/teachers’ responses. However, I will not use their real names for confidentiality. Instead, I will use characters from Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.
I. Categories of Posts/Accounts Liked/Followed
“I follow inspirational, insightful and God-centered posts especially about family life. I read posts that are helpful to me and my fellow teachers as well as those that are related to my personal interests.” – Crispin
|2. Socially-relevant information (current events, articles on current|
|3. Entertainment (TV, movies, celebrities, etc.)||15|
|4. Relevant and updated information about friends and family||14|
|5. Lifestyle (Food, travel, health and wellness, DIY, hobbies,|
|6. Others (‘thought-provoking’ posts, opinions that trigger intelligent|
debate, notable figures, promotes activities that may help people work in
solidarity with other people)
|9. Science and Technology||3|
|10. Culture, Literature, Arts||2.5|
|11. Work-related information from colleagues||2|
|12. Announcements and advisories||2|
|13. Greetings on special occasions||0.83|
II. Categories of Posts/Accounts Not Liked/ Not Followed
(I don’t like) “selfies, selfies, selfies (esp. kung feeling pretty or pogi); or posts that makes ‘parinig’ to whoever the target reader is.” – Sisa
|1. Ego-serving: selfies, bragging||27|
|2. Hate messages: discriminating, attacking, humiliating other people||20|
|3. Rants, emotional posts.||12|
|4. Negative news (explicit, gruesome content, violent images)||10|
|5. Rumors, celebrity gossip, etc.||7|
|6. Anti-Catholic posts||7|
|7. Chain Messages||5|
|9. Specific annoying people||3|
|10. Auto-updates from games; or invitations to play games||1.67|
|12. Uninteresting people||1.67|
III. Personal Ways of Regulating Self in Social Media
“I choose my posts and I think before I make it public. If it’s too personal and it’s not that important, I don’t. If I’m in doubt, my rule is DON’T. Even if I have students in my friends list, I am not worried because I believe, I have self-control and I know my limitations.” – Basilio
|1. Filtering posts: language, content, images||42|
|2. Restricting and classifying audience (friends, followers)||16|
|3. Non-disclosure of personal/sensitive information||11|
|4. Reduction of posts||9|
|5. Limit the usage of social media (reduce the number of hours)||7|
|6. Coursing personal communication in private||4|
|7. Making immediate public apologies or deleting posts for inappropriate content.||4|
|8. Deactivation or complete avoidance of social media||4|
|9. Limit revelation or avoid posting personal information||2|
IV. Professional Ways of Regulating Self in Social Media vis-a-vis being in Ateneo High School
“Being a teacher, I post something informative or heartwarming about people and the workplace. Since the school has several venues to express our concerns, I don’t use FB to air issues — I’ve learned this from a grave mistake I once committed.” – Kapitan Tiago
|1. Posting/sharing only relevant and motivational information||23|
|2. Filtering posts: language and content (eg. not commenting negatively about work, specific people, and keeping communication professional)||20|
|3. Restriction and classification of audience: not accepting requests from students, limiting communication to current students (talk only about school-related topics)||17|
|4. Limit the usage of social media (reduce the number of hours)||10|
|5. Reduction of posts/comments||7|
|6. Deactivation or complete avoidance of social media when at work||7|
|7. Avoid sharing inappropriate posts||3|
|8. Make immediate public apologies or deleting posts for inappropriate content||3|
|9. Separating personal from the professional||3|
|10. Choosing unpopular social media platforms||3|