Guest Post: Post At Your Own Risk
Today’s guest post comes from a recent college graduate and a former student of mine. Howard’s position is that you can post items on social media for the world to see, but you NEED to be careful with what you post! Howard takes the “poster beware” approach when it comes to his personal brand. Read on to learn more about Howard and his advice to his peers.
Howard is a recent graduate of Florida Atlantic University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He is a brother of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. His aspirations in life are ambitious and hopes that he finds true success in all areas of his life.
___________________________________________________________________________________________Social media has taken over my life. My favorite show Parks and Recreation this past season had a priceless moment when the character of Tom Haverford was on a social media detox and then spoke this gem: “I wake up and check my Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.” This sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? I know I’m guilty of being a slave to checking my social media accounts incessantly hoping to see something new and intriguing. Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends, family members and those we put in the “other” column. It’s used to share funny memes and jokes and to learn of political movements and celebrity gossip. Continuously it can be used to network and make connections with people who live hundreds or thousands of miles away from us. It can also be used in a much different light.
It’s safe to say that the millennial generation and onward are reliant on social media to share their every last life detail. You can’t go anywhere nowadays without seeing someone taking a photo of their meal and then putting a nice filter on it and then seeing it on your Instagram feed. As a recent college graduate, I can say that social media use is a double edged sword. My years in undergrad (and even now) were spent updating my social media accounts with my exploits of my nights with friends and fraternity brothers. My peers did the same thing. One bad post or one bad photo can ruin your entire life. Nothing screams “bad decision” like taking photos at the local bar, especially if you’re underage, and even worse if you’re a part of an organization and you know better. There are too many people who I know who have received punishment and sometimes even excommunication from organizations because of their misdeeds they decided to share on their social media accounts. The line between appropriate and inappropriate has been so blurred by our undying need to willingly overshare with our friends and followers. Is it really appropriate to be posting photos of your friends passed out on the floor or in the bathroom, or you making out with some random stranger, knowing full well that those images are online forever? Like the old saying “think before you speak,” this generation should “think before they post” because the repercussions are only becoming worse.
The onslaught of oversharing on social media makes it easier for employers, universities and organizations to view employees, prospective employees and members and then make judgment calls on those individuals. Yes, you can make your profiles “private” but there are always ways to get around that. Your reputation can be ruined in one quick swoop if you’re not managing the content on your pages. I’ve seen friends and acquaintances miss out and lose opportunities because of what they’re posting, and I know that I’ve been looked over for positions because of my own personal postings. At the end of the day, if we’re not conscious of what is going on our social media pages, we may be digging ourselves into a hole we may never be able to climb out of.
While I’m an advocate of social media as a medium to stay connected with those who are important in my life, I also advocate that social media needs to be used wisely. Think twice before posting that photo or that tweet because you’ll never know who is going to see it. It’s okay to be young and have a good time, but there also has to be a level of accountability and responsibility that comes with it. Social media is a privilege, don’t abuse it. I’ve learned my lessons from social media and it’s my hope that my friends and peers can learn from other’s bad choices.