When it comes to expressing opinions online, I’d much rather have someone err on the side of overcommunicating vs. remaining silent, but having spent the past few years truly flabbergasted at some of the absolute nonsense (some of it truly harmful) posted by friends and family on Facebook, I’d like to humbly suggest a few guidelines to consider before pressing that post button:

1) Are you posting a meme?

Don’t. If you can’t be bothered to put a few sentences together to support your point, you’re just making a lazy emotional appeal, and one that’s also often wildly inaccurate.

2) Did you spend any amount of time looking into the source of your information?

If most of your posts can be debunked in less time than it takes to pee, you need to turn in your badge and gun.

3) While we’re on the topic, do you even know how to identify valid sources?

This one truly terrifies me. The slow demise of newspaper and magazine readership coupled with the explosive growth of blogging and the rise of social media has resulted in a whole lot of people that can’t differentiate between journalists and charlatans. Media literacy matters.

4) Do you get most or (shudder) all of the content for your Facebook posts from Facebook?

Insert skull emoji. Not only is this bone-chilling, but the more you engage with garbage, the more related garbage Facebook will serve you with a smile. Look elsewhere and break the cycle.

5) Are you thinking about posting anti-vaccination content?

Delete your account, then smash your device with a hammer.

Written by Kyle Ford

Husband. Father of several clowns. Product guy.