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10 Tips for Muslims when using Social Media

Aug 19, 2013
By Kabira Dewan

As-salaamualaikum (May Peace and Blessings be Upon You)

Before sharing my 10 tips with you, it is worth me saying that I am not writing this article from a Shariah standpoint as I am not qualified to do so, but instead more guidance on “good manners” for Social networks for Muslims in South Africa.   As technology makes it easier for us to be in touch “on the go”, it is concerning to see how our Imaan (belief) can so easily be adversely affected unless we make a concerted effort to use resources such as the Internet, You Tube, Facebook, BBM, Twitter, Email etc to our advantage instead of detriment. As a mother to children who are just learning to use social media these are some of the tips I aspire to instil in them as part of good values, some of which have been echoed by the learned Mufti Menk.

  1. Lower the gaze. This applies to both men and women. Lowering the gaze is not just when there is someone standing in front of you but also in cyberspace. Protect your “hiyaa” (modesty). Beware of the haraam media around the internet. Beware of the temptations created when “chatting” to strange men and women.

  2. Be wary of the authenticity of the information received or broadcasted. This is especially true in the case of BBM. It is very easy to broadcast to all your contacts, but unless you are 100% sure of the source, this has the potential to ruin lives.

  3. Choose who you follow carefully. Do you want to be a leader or follower? What are you allowing someone that you follow on Twitter or a Facebook friend to bring into your life? Open your life to those who will help you strengthen your Imaan (belief), and will help you to be closer to Allah.

  4. Be cautious of what you share & post. Allah is always watching us and angels are present to write every action we make. Whether it is a public post or private chat, be always aware that you are not alone. If you son or daughter reads your post or status, what kind of footprint are you leaving behind? Will it make them proud or ashamed?

  5. Are you centred before you hit enter? Think well before you respond; whether you are defending your Deen or defending an injustice. What are you portraying about Muslims?

  6. Is technology benefitting you? With the advent of You Tube videos, are we using this for our best interests. Are you using it to learn something beneficial? Social Media can also be used to do good, it can amplify good and help influence others to do good.

  7. Are you all consumed? Don’t forget your responsibilities offline: Family, Salaat (prayer), school work or work commitments.

  8. Yes, there are consequences. This can be positive or negative. The same consequences apply to cyberspace as it does in “real life”. Technology is a brilliant way of quickly spreading a message. Are you multiplying your sin or multiplying your reward? Is your “status” or Broadcast inviting Allah’s blessing or anger?

  9. Some general guidelines to follow, regardless if you are Muslim or not:

Email:

  • – Be concise
  • – Use simple layout
  • – Answer all questions from an email
  • – Don’t use caps lock, it is equivalent to shouting
  • – Always spell-check and edit for grammar
  • – Don’t send chain letters
  • – Include your contact details
  • – Go easy on attachments
  • – Compress attachments
  • – Respond timeously
  • – Don’t “Reply to All” to a BCC
  • – Don’t overuse Reply to all
  • – Be careful with private information

Message Boards:

  • – Avoid caps lock
  • – Always spell-check and edit for grammar
  • – Search before you start a thread
  • – Don’t hijack threads
  • – Private matters=Private Message
  • – Introduce yourself
  • – Read Forum guidelines
  • – Fill out profile
  • – Post in right categories
  • – Don’t be fake
  • – Don’t spam
  • – Clarify your stance before arguing
  • – Contribute regularly

Facebook:

  • – Don’t spam affiliate offers
  • – Avoid Caps lock
  • – Don’t “poke” people
  • – Reply to comments
  • – Be Real
  • – Don’t tag people unnecessarily in pictures especially if they prefer not to be tagged.
  • – Keep private matters in private messages
  • – Don’t “facebook” every tweet


Twitter:

  • – Don’t spam affiliate offers
  • – Avoid Caps lock
  • – Don’t @mention people in objectionable tweets
  • – Don’t multi tweet long messages
  • – Private issue= Direct message
  • – Contribute Real value
  • – Retweet other’s links
  • – Complete BIO and upload Avatar
  • – Use 20 characters if you want your tweet to be easily retweeted
  • – Use Follow Friday #FF
  • – Test links before you tweet

BBM:

  • – Don’t spam with Broadcast messages
  • – Be considerate of the time of day or night when sending BC’s
  • – Allow a person sufficient time to respond.
  • – It is rude to “PING” someone if they haven’t responded to your message. There is usually a valid reason if someone hasn’t responded ie Salaah time, family time, work commitments, travel, commuting etc
  • – Ask someone’s permission before you invite them to a group.
  • – Ask the person if they have time to chat
  • – Use statuses effectively e.g Away, busy etc
  • – It is “tacky” to use your status for domestic issues bragging or otherwise.
  • – Kids, be careful of accepting BBM invites from people you don’t know and divulging any personal information about yourself.
 
10. Enjoy the wonderful world of technology that brings you instantly in touch with friends, family and the Muslim Ummah from all walks of life all over the world keeping in mind the above tips. Keep these tips handy and Inshallah, (God-willing), you will be safe from the many evils out there.

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