3.1 Connecting and communicating safely
There are many ways to connect and communicate with people online. You have probably communicated with people online through social media services like Facebook and LinkedIn. You may also want to keep in touch with people you know or connect with people from around the world who have similar interests to you. Social media provides a perfect opportunity to share useful information and learn from others.
Communicating online can be tricky because you can’t see people’s visual cues or reactions. There are a set of rules for online behaviour. You may remember from Week 3 that this is referred to as ‘netiquette’. Of course, the conventions may vary depending on the context. If you are unsure, observe how others are interacting before joining the conversation.
In the audio clips, Manuela, Michael and John provide some advice based on their own experiences.
Transcript: Manuela’s advice
I have started my own blog. Recently, I wrote a post about my experiences of Formula One. I followed the advice of a friend and I didn’t include any details that I thought might be too personal. Instead, I thought about what kind of information people would be expecting and I focussed on that. So I had the details about the events, and some interesting facts and stories about when I met some of the drivers.
Transcript: Michael’s advice
Margaret always tells me I’m a bit abrupt when I talk to people. I know you can come over even worse on the internet because people can’t see your face to see if you’re being sarcastic, or joking, or deadly serious. A face tells you that, and your body language can give people clues as well and you don’t get that online.
Because I’m so new to the whole online communications thing, I’ve been really cautious when I’ve talked to people online. I’ve just sort of sat back and followed conversations for a while, helped me feel a bit more comfortable before I launch in with what I think. I don’t want my personal details being seen by people I don’t know, so I’ve been really careful about setting my privacy on Facebook. I even asked Margaret to have a look at her settings. Can you imagine? Me telling her how to brush up online. That’s hilarious.
Transcript: John’s advice
Well, I’ve started to think differently about what I share online. In the past, I’d just post all my photos of gigs and events, even the ones that made my friends look bad. But I’m much more careful now. I still put things up, but I put more thought into it, and I weed out the photos I think would be best kept private.
I’ve also started to think a bit about what I repost from other people. Not everyone shares my warped sense of humour, so I’m filtering out a lot more material now. A few months back, I would have probably shared it without thinking too much about it. I suppose I’m beginning to think about my own online profile, especially when it comes to promoting myself in the cooking world, so I don’t want to leave a trail of online destruction behind.
When you are communicating with others, it’s important to ensure that you protect yourself by limiting the amount of personal information you provide. The tips below will help you.
- If you are communicating with people you do not know personally, try to find out some information about them. Read their profile or look up their digital footprint as you did for yourself in Week 3. Assess how trustworthy they are, especially if they are providing you with information.
- Be aware of what you are sharing. Think carefully about who you are sharing personal information with and avoid giving away any details that you would prefer to remain private.
- Be aware of your safety when you are on social media. For example, if you post information about where you are, it can make you and your home vulnerable.
- If you are concerned, use an image to represent you rather than a picture of yourself. You may even decide not to use your real, or full, name.
If you are sharing information about other people, ensure that you have their permission and take steps to protect them. Remember GDPR.