THE Department of Education under the leadership of Vice President and Secretary Sara Z. Duterte recently issued an order for the promotion of professionalism including the use of social media.

The impact of social media has become so powerful that people depend on it in getting information and connecting with people. It greatly affects how we communicate, and people usually get every piece of information from social media.

Good thing if the information is true and accurate or something that shapes the nation or reconciles differences. What if the contents are harmful or alarming or fabricated?

This is why media literacy plays an important role in the 21st century. With the many sources of information today, we need to filter and identify reliable sources. We need to understand the messages being communicated to us.

The DepEd Order reminds all DepEd employees and officials, whether for personal use or if it becomes an incidental tool in carrying out their mandates, to exercise caution in the use of social media, especially when sharing posts or content.

This means they should avoid becoming part of spreading false information. So, when they share posts or retweet, they should always take a moment to fact-check.

They are reminded not to participate in the spreading of rumors and false information. We will know that the information is real when it is in-depth and evidence-based, unbiased, and the author or source has built a credible reputation.

Knowing the difference between disinformation and misinformation can spell a big difference.

Disinformation has the intent to deceive, manipulate, and harm. Misinformation is the spread of false information that wasn’t necessarily created to harm.

Misinformation is when you think it’s true but it’s not. Disinformation is when you know it’s not true but you spread it anyway. So, when you share posts with no fact-checking, you become part of disinformation and misinformation.

The DepEd Order also emphasizes not posting online attacks against fellow DepEd employees.

Social media has become a platform where people share all kinds of emotions. While others share all their happy moments, some throw tantrums by ranting on social media.

Research shows that venting causes more anger and aggression in the long term. Venting is expressing a negative emotion in a forceful and often unfair way. With social media venting, people are not afraid to air strong opinions on anything. It creates a cycle of negativity.

But sometimes venting is healthily expressing thoughts and feelings. When a person who is venting is self-reflective rather than reactive and is open to feedback and perspectives, it alleviates tension and stress.

Going back to the DepEd Order on the promotion of professionalism, it encompasses how it is to become an ideal public servant. If all DepEd employees and all other government workers will exercise professionalism, we will produce a better generation.

Professionalism is about achieving high-quality results and outcomes while feeling good about oneself.