Ask Dr. Joy Miller: Social media drama

By WEEK Producer

October 24, 2012 Updated Oct 24, 2012 at 6:37 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Have you seen people post rude and sometimes shocking comments on social media?

In tonight's Ask Dr. Joy, we are looking at what people will say online versus what they are willing to say face to face.

There are many reasons for this new powerful secret weapon, so let's look at some tips for managing your posts.

First of all, here are some of the reasons why some people say things online that they'd never say face to face:

* Research shows that anonymity is powerful. People feel like they can hide behind a screen name and be safe to say anything

* People know they can be less than anonymous on places like Facebook, but they feel protected by arbitrary rules they think protect them (like privacy walls, close friends, limited profile view, etc)

* Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania believe that Facebook lowers our self-control because we believe we are just talking to our "friends"

* People are less inhibited because they don't see the reaction of people face to face.

How does something like Facebook make people feel invincible?

* People develop a false self or image of themselves on Facebook - and are encouraged by "likes". These likes make them feel empowered and boosts their self esteem

* With an inflated ego, people tend to have lower self control and believe they have the right to say whatever they want; it is an entitlement (especially if it is rewarded with more likes)

* If you want to protect that view of yourself, you lash out at others who don't hold you in the regard you hold yourself.

* Some people say they feel so invincible that they even write provocative things to get more readers and discussion on their site.

What are some tips for people who are posting on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks?

* Remember that nothing is private: You may think there are protections, but there are ways to get to many items without much trouble

* Think before you write. Always allow yourself time to read and re-read things you write. Ask yourself… would I say this to my friend in person?

* Don't write or post everything. Remember, your posts might be seen by your present employer, your potential employer, your school, your family and your partner

* Contemplate getting "likes" in person. There is nothing better and more rewarding than REAL contact with a person. It takes a million likes to equal a couple of real hugs.

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