Why Are You Posting That Online?

by Dan Gheesling

This past weekend I went to the Homecoming game at St. Mary’s. I used to spend a lot of time on the campus when I was teaching and coaching, but now not so much.

I try to make at least one football game a year to check out the team, and say hello to some of the coaches and staff I used to work with. It is always very nostalgic, even though I have only been away from the campus for a few years.

Before the St. Mary’s game started, I was standing along side the fence watching the teams warm up, and an old friend/boss of mine invited me to watch the game with him from the field.


When I told him thanks for inviting me down, all he said back was “sometimes you just need to be nicer than the next guy” and everything really hit me, and for a quick second I kind of freaked out internally.

I’ve connected with people online who I know read the blog, and I know that some of my family and friends also read it. But when someone you wouldn’t expect to read what you post online actually reads it, and then mentions it to you, it makes you realize something important…

Digital Life vs. Real Life

The line between “digital life” and “real life” is officially gone. While this is nothing you probably have not heard before, it is something not everyone truly realizes.

Everything you put online, good, bad or indifferent is going to connect with someone you know in “real life” at some point.

Sometimes someone may talk to you about what you posted online, or maybe they never will. They could be an eternal lurker of your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook account and you’d never know it.

Regardless of how you feel about it, this is now the norm.

Personally I used to want to keep both lives separated, because I have been “connected” since I was a young kid (Prodigy, TSN, and AOL back in the day) and that’s how it always was.dan-gheesling-prodigy

It was always rare for me to meet someone in grade school or middle school who was also as connected as I was in the early 90s.

In the rare case I did meet someone we just understood not to talk about it in front of everyone else at school because they just didn’t understand (translate: they would rip on us).

But now that is all changed.

While I have always known the digital/real life line was shrinking by the minute, it took an older friend (and former boss of mine) to make me personally realize it.

Get Better Online

It amazes me to see what people (no matter what age) post online, mainly Facebook. Some people “get it” and others have no regard whatsoever with how what they are posting is actually being perceived.

Whatever you do online is an extension of your real life personality, and sometimes is even more “real” than we tend to be in person.

Sometimes being too “real” (ie. no filter) can be a problem, so I wanted to share a few tips with you that I use when deciding what to post online:

1. Don’t complain. Share the fix.
Just like in real life, no one wants to hear you complain. If you’re thinking about posting about your bad day, call a friend/family member instead. If you want to take it one step further, instead of posting a complaint post the problem you are experiencing with a solution that helped you figure it out! People will get a negative or positive perception of you online, the good thing is that it’s in your control.

2. If we wanted to learn more about religion or politics, we’d “follow” or “like” the Pope, Dalai Llama, Mitt Romney, or Barack Obama, not you.
For most of us, we don’t talk politics or religion openly with strangers. Why? Because it is very divisive. The same goes online. We all have a “friend” on Facebook who posts daily reminders about why we need to vote for X…and if you’re anything like me you quickly unfollow them.

If you’re tempted to post something political or religious, do it on the perfect Subreddit, or Religious Forum, not to your friends and connections online who may not always agree with you.

3. Share your hits AND misses.
I’m sure you can identify someone you follow whose life is always “perfect” based on the photos and stories they share online, heck you may even be this person.

While it is awesome to share your success with friends online, sometimes people can learn more from our failures as well. The family photo that didn’t turn out perfect, the streak marinade that turned out to taste like hot garbage, or the vacation from hell can all be very useful to other people if you share it with them in a helpful way.

In Closing…

I’ve made a ton of mistakes online and I hope that after reading this it helps you avoid making mistakes as well.

The line between digital life and real life is almost non existent, and it’s in your best interest to remember that when deciding to post something.

And if nothing else, thanks Rych for telling me you read the blog!

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  • Miranda Wiley

    I’ve had my fair share of over posting and have cut that out. I realized how bad it looked, and a lot of it had to do with the people I surrounded myself with. Like the good book says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Therefore that has been a big change in my life as well. Great post again. :-)

    • Dan Gheesling

      Glad you enjoyed Miranda, I am sure we are all guilty of this at some point. :)

  • sam

    I had Prodigy back in the day and I thought I was the only one. Seemed like everyone else had AOL! I remember the days of the “Message Board”, you had to post then check back in a few hours to see if anyone responded. Good stuff.

    • Dan Gheesling

      Prodigy back when you got 30 hours for the month and you and your sister would fight over it!

  • Colleen Kelly

    I see this on Facebook more than anywhere. angry and pessimistic people posting all the time. Even though I do get tired of seeing it, it can be a downer, I think if people are posting things that are like that, it could be because at least at the moment, they don’t have a supportive person to turn to, to vent to. So maybe Facebook, Twitter etc. Is a way to let it out. I think a lot of people use social media to let off steam. I understand but have to admit I want to say Stoooooooop!” a lot of the time. :) I agree with you Dan. Hey thanks for taking the time to write the blog! It’s so great to have it back! :)

    • Dan Gheesling

      Yeah I think FB is the biggest culprit as well.

  • http://tracyseekins.wordpress.com/ Tracy Seekins

    This has been something I always instinctively knew, as I’m sure you did, but nothing makes it so real as when someone is talking with you and quotes you. That’s when it really hits home. And I’ve made every single one of these mistakes but they are mistakes I’ve probably made in the face to face as well. The difference is that if I do it face to face I might be making a conversation mistake in front of one or two people as opposed to making it in front of 500 people who can then share the screenshot of my stupidity if they choose to. Every moment is a chance to learn and change that behavior and I have hopefully learned from my mistakes and I hope maybe my pain helped someone else learn before they did the same thing :)

    • Dan Gheesling

      Glad it helped Tracy!

  • Nova Gamer

    Hi Dan,
    Tbh…I think you need a twitter coach….your twitter game is pretty bad.
    I find that the people who are self-aware, comfortable and can roll with the punches do well on social media. A lot of times it’s not what you say but how you say it.

    • Dan Gheesling

      I disagree! :)

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