Social Media can be a recipe for disaster if approached carelessly. The speed of the Internet allows us to broadcast our emotions to a vast public, without any structural barrier between our feelings of the moment and the social consequences of making them public. When the private sphere leaks out into the public arena, things can easily get misinterpreted or taken out of context.
One of the many valid lessons I learned from my martial arts Master is that anger us makes us stupid. Literally, adrenaline pumps more blood into our muscles, taking its load of oxygen away from our brain. When we act in haste or in anger, we are usually not accessing the higher intellectual functions of our neocortex.
We evolved in an environment where fight or flight reactions were a matter of survival, with distances and physical barriers allowing us to blow off steam when necessary. The rage we might feel today, when we read something we perceive as a threat to our lifestyle, is a primal urge that needs to be refined to serve us well in our new post-industrial setting.
This can easily be solved through a conscious effort to monitor our communications, especially when we are operating in an extremely public channel like a social media profile. The old adage of counting up to 10 still works perfectly to give us the time to elaborate our feelings and thoughts in a more articulate manner. More on the topic can be found in my class, Empower Your Voice – Achieve Your Goals, in the lesson dedicated to the distinction between Public and Private Conversation.
For a recent example of a high-profile social media mishap, here is the link to an interview on a recent controversy and my opinion on this specific case.