By Deborah Wroe

Sharing, for my generation, was undoubtedly taught at home, with siblings and friends, and at play school – share your toys, share your sweets, it’s good/kind to share.

Oh my, what a difference social media makes to the world of sharing!

There’s over sharing of course, which is entirely subjective. I for one have never seen the contents of a baby’s nappy described on my social media feeds, but I have heard it happens.

In the past couple of weeks I have seen a couple of sharing stories on both Facebook and Twitter which have made me mad and sad.

The first was a story from Australia. A father of three was taking his first ever selfie. He spotted a Darth Vader cut-out in a store in Melbourne and decided to take a picture of himself with it for his three Star Wars fan kids. There were some kids nearby, unaccompanied by adults and he said “I’ll only be a second, I’m taking a selfie to send to my kids” to them before taking the pic. That was that. Until the kids parent arrived back and the story was relayed and/or interpreted differently which led to a Facebook update of the ‘catch this dangerous/creepy man’ type which was shared across the globe until it found its way back to Darth Vader selfie dad who was shocked to see that his image had been shared 20,000 times online and that he’d been labelled as a predatory creep.

Yes, she was tying to protect her kids and others, and reported the incident to the store security, but how sad that her second thought was ‘let’s get this on Facebook’ without thinking of the implications.

The prospect of five more years of David Cameron following the UK general election sparked some protests in London on 12 May. If you read only the Twitter retweets and Facebook shares you’d believe that these protests were either not being covered by the UK press and/or only covered by international press. The reality was that the protests were being covered by UK news outlets online but probably not immediately as the protests were not ‘organised’, as in the police had not been informed and therefore public safety may have been compromised. I was astounded that some respected and media savvy tweeters were sharing the ‘this is not being covered by the BBC, please share’ tweets without checking first to see if it had.

Social media is an excellent source of news and information but it also contains a lot of opinion, conjecture, hysteria, mundanity and banality. We once saw a presentation on social media from a guy who advocated hitting the RT button often, and without reading the links first, in order to position yourself as an authority figure. We say NO! Over sharing works in the world of trash TV, but no one wants to be the Kim Kardashian of the business world (except maybe Kim Kardashian).

Sharing links from your business Facebook page or business Twitter account is a reflection on who you are and what you stand for, even if you have ‘RT is not an endorsement’ in your bio. Reputation is everything dahling, and your social media presence is your very public reputation.

And finally, a word to the wise, sharing a picture of a sad puppy or patriotic poppy on Facebook may be inadvertently giving a far right group a larger voice – Exposing Britain First