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Opinions of Saturday, 6 June 2020

Columnist: Eric Otchere

The 3 commandments of social media

Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Brian Solis

Social media is not another world on its own but an extension of the real world displayed on technology. Hence, whatever we do there impacts our value proposition in the marketplace. According to Prof. Bob Hinson of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) in a discussion on Zoom with Rev. Albert Ocran, there are three commandments of social media that must guide us in engaging with people and marketing of our personal and business brands. I have rephrased them to sound like the biblical 10 commandments.

1. Thou shall not insult other people

The first commandment of social media is not to use derogatory words at other people. I have observed that in this generation some people (especially the youth) have thrown away the good value of respect for the elderly in society. Young people insult elders because they believe they deserve it because they have sinned in the public eye. Others hide behind anonymity and insult people and drag their reputation in the mud. I am not saying that we cannot comment on what other people do but we must check our language in the public domain.

"We can share our views without insulting others."

Nelson Mandela of blessed memory said that we can make our point without shouting. We can share our views without insulting others. There is so much dignity in that. Whereas Paul said to young Timothy not to rebuke an elderly in public (1 Timothy 5:1), Peter said we must answer people with respect and gentleness (1 Peter 3:15). These are important signposts of maturity.

? 2. Thou shall not denigrate your competitors

In his book The Walmart Way, the once COO of Walmart, Don Soderquist said that Sam Walton (founder of Walmart) will visit his competitors' shop to pick an idea or two about what they are doing right but not to go there to discover something against them. We can do better than our competitors if we are humble to learn from them and add to what we know and are doing already. Do not bring other people down in order to rise in life. I see people make other people their subject of discussion on social media whilst the people are busily achieving their dreams. The Bible says we must not rejoice when we see our enemies fall (Proverbs 24:17-18).

"We can do better than our competitors if we are humble to learn from them and add to what we know and are doing already."

Just days ago, I read about how Christian blogger Tim Challies met Pastor Rick Warren whom he had written a lot about and reviewed his books. He disagrees with him theologically but before he went to meet him, he went back to review his works about the man to know if there was any way he had been unfair to him or crossed the line to say what he shouldn’t have said. We must regularly review what we are sharing about other people or competitors. When Jimmy Swaggart was criticizing Jim Bakker, little did the world know that his own sin will be revealed as well. What goes around comes around.

? 3. Thou shall not comment on what is unrelated to your brand

The third and last commandment is thou shall not comment on what is unrelated to your personal or business brand or you will display your crass ignorance. There are people who want to comment on virtually everything ranging from politics to academia to ministry to family and many more as if they are the repository of all knowledge. You are not! No one is! We all somehow lack expertise in certain areas of life.

"If you force yourself to discuss what you have little knowledge in, you will display your ignorance."

When I started writing, I vowed that there were certain topics I will not venture. I will not pretend to know something I have no idea about! If you are on social media, you must go into arenas where you are knowledgeable or seeking to learn but not to go and show you know when you don’t. You can allow the experts to handle it better.

These are good commandments to keep us in focus whilst we express ourselves on social media. Thou shall not break any of these commandments or you will face their consequences.

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