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To post or not to post: A checklist for social media users

What you share online could have an impact on your work, future career prospects and social life. A simple Google search of your name could bring up posts, comments, and photos from years ago, so it’s important to carefully consider the content of your posts before you publish. – Written by Kele Scheppers.

Everything on the internet is in the public domain. Be mindful of what you post on social media channels to protect your reputation, your personal brand, your bank account, your business or career, and your privacy. Here are some questions to consider before you click ‘post’.

1. Is the content offensive?
Re-read a post after you write or create it, and consider if it could be interpreted as racist, sexist, or discriminatory. Avoid posting content that could be deemed to reflect discrimination based on religion, gender, race, or ethnicity because this could constitute hate speech.

2. Could the content reflect your workplace or business partners negatively?
When going through a difficult time at work, it’s best to keep the information off your social media channels.  Even if your colleagues don’t follow your social media profile, they could find out about your frustrations through shared contacts.  No matter how tempting it may be to complain about work online, rather keep it personal to avoid it affecting your work, career, or business negatively.

3. Could your post be considered threatening?
Wishing someone ill, whether it’s a colleague, celebrity, family member or celebrity is not okay. Steer clear of harassing others or expressing an intent to harm them in any way. Even if you intended for the post to be sarcastic or joking, it may not be interpreted that way by the reader, so think twice before posting.

4. Does the post express an intent to harm others?
While you are welcome to discuss and even disagree over topics on your social media channels, the conversation should never incite or facilitate serious violence. Content that asks or offers services for hire to harm others is prohibited on social media channels.

5. Could this post compromise your safety or the safety of your family and property?
It has become common for people to post when they are at the airport about to jet off on a holiday, but this information could be used by criminals to break into your house and harm your family or property. Don’t share the duration of your time away and rather share your holiday posts when you have returned.

5. Does the post reflect an attempt to harm yourself?
If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, reach out to a therapist or getting in touch with the South Africa Depression or Anxiety Group, instead of posting content that could be considered to celebrate or promote suicide or self-injury.

6. Could you regret posting your content?
Images of inebriation, nudity or sexual activity should be left off your social media channels. Even if you delete a post, there’s no guarantee that another individual hasn’t already taken a screenshot, which could compromise your personal reputation.

7. Is this information true?
Being a responsible digital citizen means that you check the sources of information and help promote news literacy online by sharing true, fact-based information. 

Would you like to brush up on the essentials of navigating the internet? Our free Kitso WhatsApp bot is here to help you develop these crucial digital literacy skills. Add it to your WhatsApp by clicking here.

Kitso is our interactive tool on WhatsApp where you can learn about:

  • Digital presence
  • Community standards and reporting
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Online safety
  • How to identify real news and avoid misinformation
  • Privacy
  • Digital tools for the classroom