In less than twenty-four hours, two major events have stood out on my social media feed: the Boston Marathon tragedy and the tremors we felt here in Dubai.
Both impacted me. I went to university in Boston and lived there for three wonderful years and I loved the spirit of the city. In the case of the tremors we felt in Dubai today, I like most of the city felt the ground shake and there is natural concern that you have for the safety of your dear ones after events like this.
In both cases, I saw Twitter and Facebook explode. In both cases, I saw concern, sorrow and fear.
In both cases though, I saw people intentionally or unintentionally take advantage of the situation or jump to dangerous conclusions on social media.
For those who took advantage of the situation, shame on you. This is not a time to promote your brand or product with earth-shattering offers.
For those who started jumping to conclusions that weren't fully thought out, remember, just because you can think it, doesn't mean you need to type it. If you are going to type it, think about it and ask yourself would feel comfortable saying what you're about to type in front of a larger gathering. If you think you wouldn't be comfortable talking about it in a larger forum, then don't type it.
Social media is powerful. Understanding the power it holds and applying it aptly though is something many of us tend to forget when we're excited. Take a deep breath, think through what you're doing and remember, it's not always about being first to express your thoughts but about being thoughtful in what you express.