Aleteia

10 ‘Commandments’ for being a positive social media user

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The "Non-hostile Communication Manifesto" proposed common-sense rules for interacting with others on the internet.

The “Non-hostile Communication Manifesto” is an initiative born in the context of a symposium celebrated in Trieste (Italy) on February 17-18, 2017, under the auspices of the Parole Ostili (“Hostile Words”) organization. Believing that the power of words is important, and that a negative use of words—including insults and unfair criticism—predominates on social networks, the organization prepared this manifesto to propagate virally a “positive style” on the internet, by means of a careful use of language and words.

Read more: A lesson for kids on how to not be ‘ugly’ online

It’s a sort of common-sense Ten Commandments for the internet that everyone can understand and that is worth spreading. Consequently, Aleteia is reprinting it here word for word:

1. Virtual is real — I only say and write things on the internet that I have the courage to say in person.

2. We are what we communicate — The words I chose reflect what kind of person I am: they represent me.

3. Words shape thought — I take all the time necessary to express my thoughts as best as possible.

4. Before speaking, we must listen — Nobody is always right; not even me. I listen with honesty and openness.

5. Words are a bridge — I choose words in order to comprehend, make myself understood, and draw closer to others.

6. Words have consequences — I know that each of my words can have consequences, big or small.

7. Sharing is a responsibility — I share texts and images only after having read, evaluated, and understood them.

8. Ideas can be debated — People must be respected. I don’t see someone who has ideas I don’t share as an enemy to be eliminated.

9. Insults are not arguments — I don’t accept the use of insults or aggressiveness, not even in favor of my own position.

10. Silence is also a form of communication — When the best option is to keep quiet, I keep quiet.

These ten rules re-propose old virtues of interpersonal communication, which have been overcome by the nervous, fast, disconnected, and often brutally aggressive style of rules and norms that have overtaken social networks around the world.

It’s great that this Italian organization has launched this initiative for the digital world; in the end, all efforts to humanize social networks are praiseworthy, arise where they may. Let’s share this with everyone we know!

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