Bet more than a few of you have relearned how to unfriend someone off your Facebook page.
Maybe your Twitter feed or Google Plus circles have been altered a bit.
Must be an election year.
It was hard enough knowing how to do the delicate dance of politics in our homes, workplaces, churches and social gatherings.
Now there is social media to add into that mix.
Whenever high school students are given advice on entering college or the workforce, how they use social media ranks high on that list.
The way people present themselves on these various sites does affect how others perceive them.
Kids shouldn't be posting curse-laden rants or cyberbullying others about their beliefs or the way they look.
Not many parents or professionals can disagree with that advice. Yet adults seem to forget this lesson during campaign season.
Best behavior: Consider Facebook like a dinner party.
We share photos of our kids, talk about our hobbies, swap recipes, relive sporting events or concerts and discuss popular television shows and movies.
Once in awhile, the conversation turns to politics or religion -- even though we've been warned many times by our elders that it's dangerous territory.
We're a country of First Amendment free speakers, and it can be fun to engage in a little debate and back-and-forth.
Besides, if everyone agreed on everything, that dinner party might get a bit boring.
But what if a guest becomes offensive or starts berating others?
What if a guest makes sweeping negative generalizations that make others uncomfortable?
How would you handle it if a friend used your party as time to get on a soapbox about some issue?
It's not so different on social media.
If you constantly tease or put down a co-worker about a party affiliation or an issue, that person won't forget after Nov. 6.
Preaching to the choir: Also, no amount of postings or retweets are going to change a person's opinion.
Etiquette for social media is a new and ever-changing beast, but some old-school lessons still apply.
Golden Rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you.
My kindergartener: Play nice, don't be mean, and say your sorry.
There ought to be some reflection about what our social media says about us.
If the only aspect of life presented is filled with anger, frustration or mockery of a group of people, that's going to define you.
And some of those people being mocked may be good people who are considered friends in the noncyber world.
Social media isn't a dinner party, which gives a chance to apologize and make nice.
The election will be over soon enough, leaving a mess of political signs across our fine landscape.
Let's try not to leave a mess in other places, especially with our friends and family members.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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