Social media is everywhere, it has become embedded in our culture. We use social media to communicate and stay in touch with friends and family. We use social media for dating. We use social media to get news and information, and share our opinions on things. We use social media to post pictures and videos of ourselves and our lives. We use social media for everything.
College can be crazy. You enter a new world of independence and experimentation. You are expected to try new things and step out of your comfort zone, but you need to be careful of what you post on the web. While things may seem simple and fun now, posting that picture of you with a beer in your hand months before you turn 21 can come back to haunt you.
College doesn’t last forever and soon enough you will start looking for a job. Guess what? Your employers will google you. I highly encourage you to google yourself on a regular basis. They will check your Facebook. They will be looking for someone mature, professional, and responsible. If you have anything that doesn’t fit the bill on the internet, it could result in not getting the job.
People in politics and leadership roles have been bashed and even lost elections because of information and pictures that have resurfaced from their past. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s human nature, but the trick is to make sure there is no proof. Even if you delete a picture it is still out there somewhere floating around the internet atmosphere. So, don’t post it in the first place.
Here’s another situation to think about; You spend all weekend doing some really awesome stuff and you post it all over every social media outlet you are on. You forgot you have an exam first thing Monday morning. You email your professor and ask for an extension and make up an excuse about why you aren’t prepared. It won’t be too difficult for your professor to figure out the real reason you can’t take the test by simply getting on the computer. Not to mention all your friends and classmates have seen your post and will be asking you about it in class for your professor to hear.
Social media has changed over the years. At one point, yes, it was weird and uncool to friend your family members on Facebook, but not anymore. If your parents don’t have a Facebook account they will probably have one soon. If you can’t be friends with your parents on Facebook because you think you will get in trouble, that’s a good sign to stop posting what you’re posting.
Here are some things to be aware of before you post:
Your location and surroundings
There is nothing wrong with being at a bar, if you’re old enough. Even if you aren’t doing anything wrong you can still be guilty by association. So before you post that picture make sure your friends and the people around you are appropriate.
Your actions and expressions
If you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, do not document it. You should also avoid any offensive gestures, like flicking the camera off. Expressing yourself is great, but social media is not the place. While many people do post their opinions about things on social media outlets you should avoid it. Do not start a rant about how much you hate your professor or boss. They will see it. Avoid discussions and arguments about politics and religion, these are sensitive subjects. You can join a group or forum specifically for that without letting the world see it.
Here are some things you SHOULD post on social media:
You just landed a great internship
You climbed a mountain
You went to a museum or art exhibit
You took a road trip with your roommate
You aced your final exam! Yay!
You went to a concert or sports game
You volunteered for a non-profit
You visited your family in Europe.. or Texas
You ran a race
You tried a new food
We get it, FOMO is a very real thing. The fear of missing out and the fear of people thinking you’re missing out can be stressful. No one wants to be known as a boring person. Because of this, a lot of people feel obligated to post everything online especially if it is something risky. But it also cool to post things like the ones listed above.