"Before you use Facebook, send a text, tweet, or blog,
T - is it true?
H - is it helpful?
I - is it inspiring?
N - is it necessary?
K - is it kind?"
"Think" also happens to be my employer's slogan since the 1920s (the Japanese translation is the imperative form rather than the infinitive, 考えよ). And as an INTJ, I both value and enjoy thinking (and perhaps over-thinking). Years ago I'd read about an abridged version of the acronym "THINK" - that is, it had omitted the "is it inspiring" criterion. Oftentimes since then, I'd found that my observations or insights meet only half to three quarters of the remainder of these criteria. As a result, perhaps I've become even more taciturn than in my youth - although even back then, I believed in the concept of "live and let live", which also meant I wouldn't try to meddle in others' affairs in a desire to be similarly treated.
What has this all to do with my professional views, one may well ask: it was this article on Ted Nguyen's site about the increase in rude behaviour via social networking services. Despite its bias towards English speaking (and in the case of the accompanying infographic, American) sources of stats, intuitively it is not a stretch to consider that a larger number of people spending more time on SNSs will mean not only an increase in interactivity via those media, but also more spontaneous behaviour. When tempers flare, the physical act of typing privately into a device and hitting send is deceptive, in that it seems to distance ourselves from accountability for our words, and also from the urgency created by looking someone in the eye when addressing them with the exact same sentiment.
Real life creates stressors and balances alike in most lives, bringing both highs and lows to everyone. Facebook, on the other hand, is a place of skewed PR - some will prefer to only share highlights and positivity, whereas yet others may lean towards perpetually complaining about circumstances or those around them. The biased newsreels we see from our contacts may exacerbate irritations we choose to feel about said individuals, more than when spending time with them in person. Since using SNS/SMS to interact with others results in losing tone of voice and other non-verbal cues, text-only communication leads to misunderstandings and other complications, which in turn can result in substantial damage, occasionally permanent in nature, to interpersonal relationships. Humourous examples of more transient instances of confusion have been documented extensively in sites like Damn You Auto Correct!
If more of us chose to apply THINK the acronym to our SNS based interactions, surely we can curb this insurgence of rudeness. The above linked article says one should consider how one's grandmother would react to what one may be considering to share, but my personal attitude has been to only post anything that I wouldn't mind a prospective employer seeing. I'd like to think this post serves as an example itself, of embodying the THINK acronym, though perhaps it's a bit low on the inspirational scale.