The Party Principle
Being a sociable person, I initially took to Facebook and Twitter like a duck to water. I thought it was a great way to connect and re-connect with people from all parts of my life. I quickly determined that my gift for smalltalk was a good match for these platforms. Anybody who knows me is all too aware I never have, and probably never will, run out of things to say.
Yet it is apparent that many people are not as comfortable airing their thoughts to the world as I am. Some have become downright terrified of the possibility of looking dumb or revealing too much. To help relieve their fears I offer one simple rule:
The Party Principle:
Post the types of things you'd be comfortable saying at a large party that is attended by people you know well, some you've just met and others you don't know at all. If you wouldn't stand in the middle of the room and announce something there for everyone to hear, then think twice before you post it on Facebook or Twitter.
Abiding by this simple little rule should eliminate the volatile topics of sex, politics and religion as well as quash all whining - but it doesn't. And as simple as it seems, it sure leaves a lot of room for gray area. It also shows that some people just wouldn't be that much fun to party with.
Picture this: you walk into a party and spot an old friend you haven't seen in more than 10 years. You're excited to see her and can't wait to hear how she's been. You say "hi" and she responds with:
"Justin made poo-poo in the potty today"
Immediately you cringe and think: Great news! I'm sure Mom and Dad are delighted, Grandpa and Grandma must be proud too. Send them pictures! But please, spare me the details. You quietly slip away, knowing there has to be other people nearby with more interesting things to talk about.
Is this situation absurd? Of course it is, none of our friends would behave like that at a party (hopefully)! Then why is it okay to do basically the same thing on Facebook? Remember The Party Principle, we'll be referring to it often.
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