All things type. Nothing fancy. Thoughts and musings by Elena Veguillas. 991 to go. Twitter. Instagram. Circular RSS

Social media manifesto.

Tuesday 7 July, 2020

I wrote this manifesto back in 2018 when the political instability in Spain translated into social media anger and it created an even more binary digital world. Since then I have reworded it a few times and although it will never be finished I feel this is the right moment to share it. I wrote it for myself, I am not trying to tell others how to deal with social media, but it might be useful to others. It is hard to follow, and sometimes I find myself saying things without reflecting first. It has to be taken with care. It is not saying do not share your holiday pictures, or the result of that wonderful workshop, or how difficult it is to go through lockdown. These past days have reminded me how important it is to reflect on our words, because they matter. And they can hurt others.

  1. Read
    Read before sharing. Do not share a link to anything without reading it before. Not just the headline. Read it all. Read it well. Read it before commenting.
  2. Sources
    Always verify the sources. Where does the information come from? How credible is the source?
  3. Relevance
    Always ask myself before posting a comment or a link to the vast quantity of data already out there on the internet, is this adding something relevant?
  4. Explain
    Try to explain in a short paragraph why it might be relevant to my friends, family or colleagues. Why is it worth sharing it with them?
  5. Positive
    “If it is not positive do not post” doesn’t always apply, but keep it in mind.
  6. Negative criticism
    If I am sharing something negative, or stating something negative, is it constructive? If not, think twice.
  7. Asking
    Before asking, search it, google it. Then ask.
  8. Bias
    Ask yourself about your own privilege/bias before posting, commenting, critiquing, etc. Then go back to point three.

Reasons behind each point
Point 1: because some headlines can be easily misleading. Remember in a newspaper or media the author of the article is not necessarily the same person who writes the titles. They are meant to grab my attention, upset me and say/write something that I might regret.

Point 2: to avoid the spread of fake news. Some websites are devoted to stopping hoax and fake news, remember to check them. If it looks suspicious check it. If the source is trustworthy it does not mean it is right, but I can only hope they have checked their sources. Look for further confirmation.

Point 3: for information decluttering. This is difficult, because what is relevant? What is relevant to me might not be for others. Relevance does not mean functional or utilitarian, social media does not have to be always useful, it can convey many other things.

Point 4: for information decluttering (too). Am I able to explain in line why that link/article/whatever matters? Why do I think others will benefit from it? If I am not able to explain it maybe it is not worth sharing. Or maybe it is needs more reflection.

Point 5: to generate a healthy debate in a safe environment. It is not about creating a fake happy environment, but considering how social media can easily grow into aggressive conversations, hate speech and harassment, keeping the negative tone down might be a good first step. If I cannot avoid sharing a negative comment, then go to point six.

Point 6: to generate a healthy debate in a safe environment (too). What does this is shit adds to the conversation? Is that a necessary comment? Does it help others? Does it contribute or provoke hate speech? Could I instead say why it doesn’t work? Could I instead make a positive contribution?

Point 7: don’t be selfish and lazy, do your research. If I can’t find the answer then it is fine to ask others for help. Not knowing everything is perfectly ok. Not doing my job is not.

Point 8: because I am white, European, privileged and it is easy to forget. But I am also Spanish (and Latin?), female and migrant.

Original text 2018. Reviewed 2019, 2020.