Internet Smarts

Raise your hand if you’ve posted on the internet after one too many glasses of wine.  Now raise your hand if you’ve posted something really stupid on the internet without thinking first.  There are a blue million sites and articles out there which will tell you how to protect yourself from the other people on the web.  We’re here to tell you how to protect you from yourself. We’ve all been there.  I have a trail of embarrassing posts/comments/internet manifestos in my wake.  Fortunately for me, I’m of the Gen X school of the internets and did so under a series of screen names, so it’s pretty difficult to bring all my stupidity back into the forefront.  (Not impossible, but harder than it could be.)  I can point you in the direction of several great articles about general internet safety, but today we’re going to brainstorm a list of ways to keep from sitting in front of your monitor shouting “Undo! Undo! Undo!” in vain.

1. Screen names are your friend.  It’s absolutely amazing how pervasively we can all use our Facebook accounts to spread our own brand of self-branding from one corner of the web to another (uh, yeah, here too…) but that doesn’t mean we should be quite so forthcoming under our real names.   If given the choice between using your FB account and creating a new one to comment somewhere, take a second to make sure you want everyone else who visits the site you’re visiting to know exactly who you are.

2.  Follow the 20 minute rule before you post a rant on the web.  This rule has saved me from Yosemite Sam levels of irrational, rage filled sputtering more times than I can count.  Anger can be a glorious tool for change when utilized correctly, but that rarely happens in the heat of the moment.  Just like those PSAs told our parents to take a break and count to ten so they wouldn’t throttle us in the eighties, taking a moment (or 20) can help you calm down enough to construct a well organized and targeted rant.

3. Don’t show your face if you share naked pictures of yourself.  We at Persephone will never judge you for showing your lovah just how hot you are in the buff, but we gently encourage you to not share both your winsome grin and your ladybits in the same frame.  Things happen.  That completely awesome person you’re crazy about today could become that asshole ex you want to forget at sometime in the future.  Forgetting them is much easier if you aren’t worrying about what he/she is going to do with your personal photos.   Be creative! Take the shot from the neck down, wear a snazzy masquerade ball-esque mask, be artful with a fan… the possibilities are endless.

4. Don’t pick fights that will be more frustrating than satisfying.   I’m really not one to talk, here, as I’ve frequently gotten into discussions metaphorically akin to banging my forehead on my desk a dozen times.  Save your delicious anger for the places it can do some good, or at least recognize a sinkhole of suck when you see it.

What can you add, readers?  Share in the comments! We’ll update with the best answers we get.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

3 replies on “Internet Smarts”

Good advice….I would also add to this,” Do I want my boss to read this? My mother? My kids?” If there is a moment’s hesitation, get a screen name or don’t post it. Also be aware of the level of privacy your friends would like to have before you tag them in photos, @mention them, etc….

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