It is wonderful to live in a world where we can share our experiences through social media. We can instantly share breathtaking pictures, describe exciting and challenging experiences, and innovatively connect with our family and friends. Since social media is such a powerful medium it is important to think carefully before putting thoughts and pictures up for all to see.
- Most importantly it is essential to be responsible, honest, and respectful when posting. During your first few days and weeks (or months and years) overseas it is easy for sensory overload to overwhelm and to post first and think later. This is especially vital when you are tempted to post something negative about your new country or entering into a political debate. It is always smart to write and then wait a day before posting for all to see. It is may be wise to ask a friend to read over what you have written if it may be controversial. Remember that once something is posted to the internet you cannot grab it back! Even if deleted, your post can be found.
- Be safe when posting. Turn off geo-tagging on Facebook and on any photographs you post. Check other apps you post with to make sure it isn’t letting people know your location. While it is fun to let people know exactly where you, it is important to remember that your location information could put you in danger if broadcasted to the wrong eyes.
- Know the privacy settings on all your social media platforms. Go through the setting on each platform so that only those people you want are able to see your posting. Remember that on some platforms your “friends” can “like” your posts which then enable their friends to see your posts. Even with strict privacy settings it is a good rule of thumb not to post anything you wouldn’t want on the front page of your hometown newspaper!
- For maximum impact, be selective in posting. Choose the best 2-3 photographs instead of dumping all 45 photographs you shot. You don’t need to tell everyone about each meal you eat or every new person you meet, but focus on the unique and exceptional. It is wise to put a limit on how often you post online. Posting at most once a day and limiting yourself to two or three days a week will maximize the impact of each post. Think quality over quantity.
- Be wise in sharing personal details of your life. Talk to a close friend offline if you need someone to talk over personal matters. It’s never a good idea to share intimate details publicly online where it can live forever. It is never good to post when you’re feeling angry or upset about something, as it is easy to say something that you don’t really mean. Everyone has some low points along the way, but its best kept in conversations off of social media platforms.
Social media makes it easy to share our new experiences creatively with our friends and family back in our home country. With simple planning and being smart in what we share, we can communicate clearly and imaginatively with our loved ones.
What tips do you have for a successful social media experience overseas?