A timely overview explores how to use social media wisely.
The dark side of social media, a component of which is incivility, seems to dominate current news cycles, so it is refreshing when a book focuses exclusively on the network’s positive potential. Leary (Lord Help Me…I’m Single, 2006) rightly recognizes that social media is merely an enabling tool for individuals who “must understand how much power our actions truly have.” The manual’s approach to the subject is both liberating and limiting; offering “101 ways” allows the freedom of a great number of entries but restricts each to the briefest discussion, often a single page. The concept forces content into tiny segments that cannot help but be so simple as to be obvious, as in “Answer Questions,” “Like a Page,” and “Really Mean It.” The restrictive format also promotes repetition; one would be hard pressed, for example, to distinguish between “Don’t Post in Anger” and “Leave Your Crankiness Offline.” On the positive side, though, the intent of the sincere guide is to encourage high-minded, ethical usage of social media; in that regard, it succeeds admirably, and perhaps being obvious and repetitive helps achieve that goal. Who can argue with such decent statements as “Choose your reactions wisely,” “Take care in posting anything that is overly personal about your child,” and “When something makes you laugh, use social media to spread the joy.” One of the more topical entries, “Avoid Fake News,” is addressed early on. “Fact-check your news, people,” urges Leary. “Be part of the movement that stands for sharing truthful news with the world…and speak out when you see fake news being perpetuated.” Also included are some tips that could enlighten and inspire: The book recommends gleaning daily wisdom from Notes from the Universe, viewing inspirational videos shared by Upworthy, and learning something new via TED Talks. The volume’s last entry, which touts “soulcial” media as a way “through which users communicate authentically and ethically to create positive impacts,” is appropriately uplifting.
A noble and well-intentioned guide; social media tidbits for optimists.