Social Media (small print)

Social Media and Communication

I have posted the following (in a similar version) on all of my social media:

“Opinions I express here are my own! Repost, likes, etc. don’t imply my support. Think for yourself.”


We are often “caught-up” in internet conversations with a limited toolset to use for communication.  Limited characters, limited time, limited expressive emojis, and limited to modes of communication that each create a set of barriers to communication that to keep us from fully flesh out the post that we make on social media.   

Barrier 1: We forget our speaking to individuals.  In the face-to-face world, we have a limited number of friends, relatives, or family members that we are willing to share our intimate thoughts, fears and loves.  These individuals know not only what you say, but what you believe. 

Barrier 2:  Many of us are reactive communicators response quickly, but often in a manner that is not always fully matured. Immediacy is a part of our social media conversation. In the manner of a conversation rather than a position paper.

Barrier 3: The first draft is not always the best version of thought post.  Communication immediacy almost always directly opposed to a nuanced discussion.

Barrier 4:  We post on our own public social media pages with a wide range of friends, followers, and the public. “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”  You have control of what you are thinking, but not what the reader interprets when reading it.

Barrier 5:  Discussion and arguments escalate at a maximum speed on the internet that occurs seldom during face-to-face conversations.   Face-to-Face conversations facilitate compromise in a personal way that can not be accomplished online.  All too often, we depersonalize online posts and comments.

These five barriers are presented as list of sample of communication barriers that are universal to social media.


What does this mean?

I try, to the best of my ability, to express my opinions clearly on my social media pages.  You may not be able to fully interpret these opinions if you and I have not spent constructive time together (over coffee, of course) communicating about a particular issue.    

There are many opinions on politics that I do not fully explain in my social media posts.

There are many opinions on learning that I do not fully explain in each of my social media posts.

There are many opinions on information science that I do not fully explain in each of my social media posts.

There are many opinions on self-defense that I do not fully explain in my social media posts.

There are many opinions on the Constitution and Bill of Rights that I do not fully explain in my social media posts.

There are many opinions on more coffee and less hate that I do not fully explain in each of my social media posts.

Many different friends/followers groups comment on my social media posts.  Their opinions are not my opinions. In 99.9% of the cases, I do not remove opinions – I will continue to support their ability to express themselves.

I base my opinions on my best knowledge of a subject. You might not be fully aware of my education, training, or reading on the subject.  By the way, I seldom comment on issues where I am ignorant.  Again, the barriers described above limit our ability to communicate entirely through social media.

My opinions change over time. Beliefs of the past are not indicative of my beliefs of today.

I often repost memes, videos, and post from others.  These reposts are not indicative of my support of another’s opinions. There is a broader context for all of the reposts that may not be clear with the limited ability to communicate via social media.

I often “like” a post from people and groups that I follow.  These reposts are not indicative of my support of another’s opinion. There is a broader context for all of the reposts that may not be clear with a limited ability to communicate entirely through social media. 

I believe that everyone has a vast and almost unlimited right to post their opinion.   I may like many things that I adamantly disagree with based on what expressed in a particular post. However, I support the broadcast of their views.

Public expressions of beliefs, ideas, and opinions are essential, and they should not be suppressed – we move forward through ideas and discussions.

Yes, I will argue opinions with others – even with myself.   I’m a scholar. 


“To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear,
to inquire and answer inquiries, is the business of the scholar.” 
– Samuel Johnson