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Make discretion on social media a New Year resolution

The social media played a key role in Thai society this year, with many people embracing it wholeheartedly and making it a part of their daily lives. The use of social media in Thailand was notable not just in terms of how widespread it was, but also how it affected many users.

The one lesson that many users learnt was that what they post on their timelines is not private - that every word they type is recorded and stored in cyber world forever. What's more, their comments can be seen by people across the world even if they tried to keep it private - limited to just close friends.

In some cases, a comment posted on the Net can end up hurting the user. For instance, an air stewardess ended up having to quit her job because of a comment she posted on Facebook, while the manager of a movie theatre had to resign after a video clip of her having an argument with a film-goer went "viral".

The power of social media seems to be getting stronger, not just among individuals but also among corporations and business. For instance, the food giant CP was affected badly by a rumour posted on LINE, while tycoon Tan Passakronatee and his Ichitan Group were hit by misleading messages posted online.

Social media is, of course, not all bad - many people and organisations also benefited from using it efficiently. Unsung heroes have got applause they deserved, while some people came under the spotlight for their actions.

Perhaps, social media can be seen as a democracy of sorts, as it gives everybody - regardless of their position - a chance to tell their story and express their opinions.

Over the past few months, it also played a part in politics. Nearly every stakeholder has been using social media as a weapon, with messages of all sorts - including non-attributed quotes, unchecked data, rumours, opinions, propaganda and the like - flying freely.

However, since comments posted on social media can reach a wider group of people quickly, it certainly is time for users to start using their discretion and learning to post messages responsibly. Also, its time people learned that not everything posted on social media is the gospel truth.

Maybe practising good etiquette online should be part of everybody's list of New Year resolutions.

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