Rules for Living through Screens for the Internet & Social Media Obsessed

Smartphone (Image Credit: Johan Larsson)
Smartphone (Image Credit: Johan Larsson)

This summer I’m taking two online summer school classes and participating in an online internship. When I need a break, I’m on Twitter, WordPress, or any number of other social media sites. So while my connection to people has not dwindled this summer with being out of school, it all happens while I’m sitting in my twin bed at home. I am living virtually through screens.

Realizing that this is true for many other people as well, I started thinking about the guidelines that we as a society use to navigate our virtual connectivity. For example, it is okay to browse through your second cousin’s best friend’s tweets, but it’s still panic inducing if you accidently retweet something from more than a month ago. Calling out corporations, governments, and people of power on social media platforms is okay if you feel like they’re doing something wrong. However, if you want to harp on it repetitively, most people would appreciate you finding a blog instead of bombarding your Facebook friends with your constant opinions.

To these unwritten rules I propose we add the following three:

We should not attack people for their grammar slips.

Sadly, I find this one seems to be increasingly more common. On one hand, cool, people are proud of knowing basic grammar. On the other hand, not cool, people are shaming others to make themselves look knowledgably superior and therefore “win” an argument about something, typically, unrelated to grammar. I’d like to throw out my own estimation and say, 90% of the time you know what the person is saying. Respond to their comment, or don’t. Do not switch the entire focus to become the grammar-police. It just makes it look like you can’t come up with a response. Plus, how many of us have been the victim of an iPhone auto-correct at some point?

We should not tweet/post/etc about the things we hate.

If you hate everyone making political posts during the election, don’t make a post about hating political posts during the election. Also, it will not decrease the number of said posts. The same goes for hating on sports, royal baby updates, et cetera. Note, I do not mean commenting thoughtfully on something you have a problem with should not be done. Bringing awareness to issues is important; whining for the sake of whining is not.

We should let the internet supplement our lives.

This is one of those things we all are aware of, but not something we all follow. Instead, the internet seems to consume us sometimes. I know I am certainly guilty of that. I find myself thinking about if something will make a good tweet, or picture to share when I think about what I’m doing for the day. When I went to Disney World last month I surrounded by Mom’s videotaping, and children snap-chatting.

Essentially, I’m suggesting that as we navigate our screen lives, let’s not do things we already deem unacceptable in three dimensions.  Obviously, there are lots of other things that could be added to this list. What unwritten rules do you think we should abide by that we already don’t?

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My favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and “I Believe I Can Fly,” by R Kelly is my heart song. I grew up in the quaint suburb of Katy, Texas. A true southern girl, I go by my first and middle name; Sara Katherine. I’m a little in love with Frank Sinatra, and a lot in love with my dream of being a writer with a faithful English Bulldog by my side. Presently, I live in Waco and go to Baylor University. I’m excitedly pursuing a double major in Journalism and Professional Writing.

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