Jane Binnion column: We need to stop and think

Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.
Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.

This has been a pretty interesting week in my business.

And who decides what is okay and what is a deal breaker?

Then more issues came up of people posting contentious information and pictures of others without their permission, which subsequently led to 
Radio 4 calling me to discuss the new trend of putting a social media clause in the pre-nuptial agreement. So whilst planning their wedding, the happy couple draw up a contract agreeing that they will not share certain things about the other one on social media. Probably a good plan really as some of the things that get posted as a result of hurt and anger in the heat of the moment , are pretty cringeworthy.

I’ve never felt comfortable being a spectator of someone else’s domestic squabbles. On top of all that the police have announced that 50 per cent of complaint calls that come in concern social media bullying or anti-social behaviour and they are training up around 6000 officers to deal specifically with online offences.

It seems to me we’re in very interesting times and we are still feeling our way through it all. We now all have a voice, which is great, but because we don’t understand the tools we haven’t learnt all the rules yet. It sometimes feels like giving a hammer to a toddler – a very useful tool, but we had better expect a lot of damage initially.

There will always be people that bully and are offensive for their own reasons, but mostly the rest of us are pretty clear what is okay to say and what isn’t. The problem is that we don’t always think about the consequences before we post things that concern other people.

A little while ago a teacher got sacked after being tagged in a photograph of her with a drink in her hand that had been taken at a party. It wasn’t a bad photo at all and she had no idea it had been posted on Facebook.

We need to train ourselves to stop and think, “Who will see this?” and not share pictures of other people without permission – just in case.

I grew up with the saying, “it’s not my news to share”. I think that’s possibly a good rule for social media. If someone wants people to know their news, they will tell them themselves.

Let’s stay safe out there. 