By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Social media has taken over the world and appears to control most of our lives.
No matter the time of the year, people find any reason or excuse to log onto his or her account to share. These platforms give us a chance to portray the life we want everyone to believe. In some cases we have a chance to create a whole new identity and persona.
No matter the reasons you jump onto your accounts, there should be some rules to follow to keep yourself safe, employed and in good standing with others.
Social media has boomed so much that I’ve decided to do a two-part Best Sellers’ List. Part One will address the men. Then next week I will shine the spotlight on women.
Pay attention, men – here are my do’s and don’ts of social media, just in time for National Selfie Day.
10. Go Live for a Good Reason
Hey guys, have you notice the trend in 2017 of us committing crimes on various live feeds? I was terrified of Facebook Live because in the first three examples I saw, men were murdered. Your life is not a TV show. If you’re shot, you will suffer pain or die. If you decide your criminal activity needs to be broadcast to the masses, just know you will go to “real” jail.
Live (broadcasting a video online in real time) can be a wonderful tool for communication and sharing special memories. So “go live” to capture moments that will enhance your life for years to come. Don’t “go live” to shine a spotlight on something stupid or illegal. And one last thing, don’t “go live” when life is in danger, such as if you come upon a car wreck, see a child choking or are there while your wife is in labor. But go crazy with “live” for dances at weddings, crowning at Homecomings and once the baby is officially here.
9. No Posts After Midnight
Chances of something good happening after 12 is very slim. So men, don’t pull out your phone to document anything that could lead to losing a job, facing a divorce or having the police knock on your door. If something was so awesome, wait until the morning to collect your thoughts, sober up and hit “Post.”
Don’t even post from New Year’s Eve. Enjoy the moment and be grateful to see another year. Capture the pictures and then share your memories while watching the bowl game in Tampa, Fla.
8. Promote Others
Real men don’t mind sharing the spotlight or giving props to others. Use your social media platforms to encourage and build up others. If you’re proud of your colleagues, church members, classmates, friends and family, take a moment to share with the world. It will do something good for your mind and spirit. Your page doesn’t always have to be about just you. Once you pull back and examine your posts, you’ll see the company you’re keeping and where your interests lie. Will you be proud?
7. Tasteful Humor
Most men fancy themselves as comedians or funny. So put yourself in the running to create the next viral meme or hilarious video. Challenge yourself to be entertaining. Show that you have range and can create intelligent humor.
Don’t be childish, vulgar or pitying with your creations. Good humor can be offensive and push the limits. Joking posts should be self-explanatory. To get some practice in, allow your first subject to be yourself. Mock you and shine a spotlight on the things your friends have made fun of for years. Once you get your imperfections out of the way, it’s time to attack family, friends, celebrities, hot topics and much more.
6. Phones Should Not Be Seen
I’ll make this quick, guys: Don’t ever post a picture where your phone is seen in your hands. Women can get away with this flaw, but, men, I want you to use your self-timer to get that pose you have to share online. Better yet, ask a stranger to snap you up real quick. But absolutely no pictures with the phone in your hands.
5. Always Post Post-Event
I’ve had the honor of being a wedding photographer on a few occasions. As I captured the new Mr. and Mrs. walking down the aisle hand in hand, I can hear a notification of somebody liking the post of the newly married couple.
If you’re invited to an event, take some time to actually enjoy the event. This trend of capturing moments in life through the cellphone has spread rapidly.
In horse racing, American Pharaoh made history as the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. His 2015 magical moment at Belmont will live forever in multiple cellular phones. A professional photographer captures a picture of the lucky people present for history. Instead of soaking in the moment, several people had outstretched arms with phones and tablets aimed in the general direction of the track.
Before American Pharaoh was in the winner’s circle, spectators were posting. I’m sure Justify’s recent Triple Crown victory was treated the same way.
If you feel the need to “go live” or record an occasion to post immediately, bring a designated cameraman.
4. No Toilets
Here is another one I can keep short and sweet: Men, don’t take restroom selfies. Therefore you won’t have to worry about a toilet in the background. The locker room after a great workout is OK. But don’t find yourself gravitating toward the toilet area to take a picture.
3. No Car Selfies
I’ve notice an unsettling trend of late. Guys are taking selfies in their driver’s seats. This is not acceptable. Men, we have never looked so good in the morning to the point we needed to take a selfie in the car. No seat beat should ever appear in your photos or your avatar.
Women started this style of selfie, and it belongs to them. Men, we can keep the “posed up next to my car” trend. If you are styling and profiling before work, take a moment to prop your phone up to get a photo of you in your full glory.
2. Both Hands Visible
Men, you should have both hands seen in photos. That’s why these phones come with a self-timer ranging from three seconds to 20 seconds. Most cell phones have 10 seconds to allow you to set up the photo. Take full advantage of this technology. It allows you to flex, gangster pose and even give a professional smile.
There are three occasions when it is OK for a man to take a selfie. First, if you’re with your significant others, hugging a family member/friend, or with a child. Second, you can take a selfie if you have a gang of folks with you, i.e., the Ellen DeGeneres Selfie. And, finally, a man can take a selfie if he is mocking selfies (see Rule No. 7).
We can be vain sometimes. But, men, we should remember women have the market on beauty and grace. So you shouldn’t have more mirror time or selfies than your girlfriend. And a good way to limit yourself is making sure both hands appear in your pictures. After a couple of self-timers, you are ready to put your phone back in your pocket. (By the way, no man should own a selfie stick).
1. Stop, Look and Reflect
Finally, guys – before you hit “post” or “send,” read your message. Just make sure it’s worth sending out to the masses forever. Once you hit “send,” there is no going back or deleting. So your heat-of-the-moment post can cost you spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. One dumb post could cost you your life.
So after composing your deep thoughts via the keyboard or touchscreen of your device, wait 10 seconds. Then read the message. Finally, read the message out loud. If it sounds dumb to you, it will sound dumb to us as well.