So, you pop on to your Instagram for a moment, and see a trending hashtag movement has taken over your feed. How do you decide which hashtags to share, and where? There are so many ins and outs in social media, it can be overwhelming.

Giving Credit, Where Credit is Due

When you engage in a social media campaign of any kind, there are some rules of the road to follow on the Information Superhighway. Regardless of the proliferation of social media sharing, it’s important to cite sources and give credit to content creators when you share. This is not just an easy way to be a decent social media user; it’s imperative from a legal standpoint.

For example, legal disputes involving intellectual property can be found in every level of the court system from local to the higher courts on a daily basis. Citing sources is as easy as simply giving credit to the person, place, website, etc. that the content originates from. Simply put, if you didn’t write it, create it, photograph it, or compose it originally, you should mention the creator.

Stake Out Your Claim to Space on the Web

Social media has become a second nature type tool, just like planes, cars, and the smartphones and computers we use to access them. By linking your individual social media platforms into one social media network, you create a virtual address that customers can easily find.

You can think of this space as your own virtual retail block of your brand or business. The greater the ease you afford customers to switch from one social platform to another seamlessly, the longer they remain on your pages. Ease of access is considered a highly desirable trait in online forums, and sites that are difficult to navigate see their traffic drop in drastic numbers if the problem isn’t addressed in a timely fashion.

Viral Can Be Both Good and Bad

It’s hard to stay neutral on the web. Today’s social media is tied to our careers, education, interactions and how we receive our news and information. It’s as important to factcheck before sharing the latest viral trend; this helps avoid not only legal complications it also reduces trolling and negative blowback to your social media persona.

Trending hashtag movements, memes, time sensitive news articles all need to be doublechecked before you share them. Finding out if you are spreading information that is helping humanity, or misinformation that could have negative impacts on yourself and your community at large is the ethical responsibility of all who surf the web, not just journalists and media personalities!

Words Matter; Nice Does, Too

We teach small children to respect others and show courteous behaviors when in public, and we as teens and adults should head this advice ourselves when engaging in social media. Countless studies and reports are available, online of course, showing the huge impact social media has on cultural issues. Be kind when online, and mind your manners.