Social Media and Civility

Social media offers a kind of freedom no one would think could be possible away from the screen. This freedom can easily be mistaken as incivility, and it is time we learn how to identify it. Social media is an excellent resource for people to show inappropriate language, request information they might not normally ask a stranger, or share open feelings about political, religious, or other beliefs and experiences. This can sometimes lead to a feeling of entitlement, resulting in incivility in trying to influence the opinions of others.

Influencing others on social media can be quite difficult because we all know how hardheaded Americans are. But individuals must remember that influence is not the same as persuasion. Influence is the opportunity to motivate someone in order to achieve the optimum outcome. Persuasion lacks emotion, and is simply used to spur someone to action or to make a decision without actually earning their sincerity. By influencing someone to be civil on social media, you are approaching the situation professionally. Respect the other’s opinions and do not shut them down. Find responses that can support your reasoning and compare the different opinions in order to find common ground. Be conscious of what you say and what you post so your first impression is not someone who seems like a social media Nazi. Do not persuade someone to be more civil online, it only comes off as aggressive and unprofessional. Avoid blaming or shaming. Bring in statistics to support what you have to say. And just always be respectful.

Everyone can be a little uncivil on social media, because there will always be someone we do not like or do not agree with. Don’t just sit back and watch others do unjust things, speak up, but you need to be civil too.

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An Ethical Dilemma

Social media gives people the chance to create a new identity, or express their current one. It is an outlet to show all and tell all, so why would it not be okay for, let’s say, employers to go searching for this identity of yours when considering hiring you?

Some people may say it is an invasion of privacy, but I say it was you who made your social media account, and it was you who posted on those accounts. If you are willing to let the public see who you are, you should we willing to let your future employer know who he or she would be hiring. If I was an employer, I would want to know if you are responsible and mature. I would not want to hire someone who would portray a bad reputation on the company/workplace.

As a nursing major, I have learned in my classes that nursing deals a lot with ethical dilemmas associated with social media. There are situations where nurses may expose patient confidentiality by posting pictures of or with the patients, by posting about information, or simply posting about an experience with a patient. These situations can result in license suspension and/or termination. As an employer of a hospital, by getting to know the applicant’s life on social media, it may prevent the hiring of someone unsuitable to exceed a positive reputation for the hospital and the association with the profession of nursing.

So, yes, I believe that is is ethical for employers to observe an applicant’s social media before hiring, because it is a way to understand the applicant’s identity that is not shown in the interview or on paper. It is a way for the employer to see how the applicant would act outside of the workplace as they are still an associated member and have the responsibility to create a good reputation.

If you were an applicant, would you feel that your privacy had been invaded if you were informed that your employer had observed your social media accounts?



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Embracing Identity

If you are someone who feels the need to hide your identity, for fear of judgement or harassment, you are not alone. There are millions of people in the world that struggle with embracing their identity. Whether it be your sexuality, race, gender, religion, physical/mental disabilities, or age, you are a victim and society is the bully.

Social media plays a huge role in embracing identity. It has the power to convince us of our worth and alter our perception on the idea of acceptance. It is up to us as citizens to accept the differences within each individual in order to change the corruption that society has been formed around.

Instead of using the power of our voice to disrupt others’ identities, we can use our voice to embrace the diversity and accept the diversity that has evolved over time. We have the ability to change our society into something we are proud of.

I do not always agree with the opinions or actions of others, but I make sure to respect them. If I have something to say about it, I do it in a mature and appropriate manor, because everyone deserves to speak their mind. It is okay to disagree, but there comes a line between power and obstruction. We can not take back the things we say or do, so with that we must think before we do something we know is wrong.

I challenge you and me, as citizens, to embrace the diverse identities in our world, to respect the identities, and to never let others change the way we feel about our own identities.

Think about this: How can you help people to embrace their identities?

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