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Social Media and How it May Be Impacting Your Life

Updated on January 2, 2015

Social Media is Inescapable

Everyone from my finace's grandparents to my barely teenage nieces and nephews are using social media. Family I have never met, schoolmates I haven't seen since elementary and ex coworkers have all taken the initiative to reinstate initiative with me. While many people are thrilled to see their friend request or follow request inbox building, I feel an overwhelming sense of suffocation.

Don't get me wrong. I use Facebook and Instagram just as much as the next twenty-something female. I have posted pictures that I later regretted and posted statuses that I certainly wouldn't want my grandmother reading. When I was younger that wasn't a problem. My grandmother didn't know what Facebook was. But times have changed, as have the users of social media. With the rapid boom of internet communication, we, adults have had to adjust the material we post.

Think of all the people who might view your profile in the next year. Your family, distant or close, prospective employers, detectives, exes, friends and teachers. What you choose to post has a direct reflection and impact on your life.


What to Consider When Posting on Facebook

Remember that anyone can access your profile. Perhaps you have your security settings set to private and only your friends can see your uploaded images or shared statuses. But, the internet is a playground for those who are tech savvy. If the right person wants to get onto your account, chances are they can.

Have you ever opened a Private Message from someone on your friend's list and suddenly your friends are seeing posts from you that you never posted? Something as simple as opening a message from a friend can get your profile hacked.

So, when you go to upload the pictures of your Friday Night at the bar, remember who your potential audience is. Ask yourself if it is something you would want your mother or your grandmother to see? Is it something you would want your children to see or read? If not, it's probably best to keep it to yourself.

Although you may assume that you have likeminded friends and that it's simply an opinion, posting something vulgar, nude or containing illegal substances may offend someone. It may even lead to problems with the law. According to NYU Local, underage peoples can be charged with underage drinking from a picture posted to social media. In the article, "Yes, You Can Get Busted for Underage Drinking Based Off Your Facebook Photos", a young man accepted a friend request from an unknown girl soon after was charged with underage drinking. The same article states that eight students from the same college have been charged with underage drinking because of pictures posted on Facebook.

So, if you are a Freshman in college, think before you post that beer pong picture to any of your accounts. It may take a turn for the worst.

Source: Stuart Miles, Free Digital Photos
Source: Stuart Miles, Free Digital Photos | Source

Tip of the Day

Every six months or so go through your pictures and delete old pictures and limit the amount of "selfies" on your profile.

Also, ask or remind friends not to tag you in party pictures or other pictures without your permission.

Social Media and Your Career

Many employers use social media to screen prospective employees. Twitter and Facebook are two very commonly checked websites among employers according to The Undercover Recruiter. According to the same article, surveyed employers said they didn't hire a person based on their social media profile because of the following:

  • inappropriate photos posted
  • posted negatively about a previous employer
  • lied about their qualifications
  • posted about them drinking
  • posted inappropriate comments

However, used effectively, your social media profile can also make an employer more likely to hire you. Employers often look at Facebook or Twitter to get an idea of who you are as a person, not just the qualifications on your job resume. So, if you are looking to apply for your dream job and want to impress your employer, be sure to emphasize your personality through your profile. Other positive traits employers can pick up from your profile include creativity, good communication skills and possible references.

No matter what kind of job you are applying for, it is important to keep your social media accounts in mind.

How often do you post to social media?

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It's Okay to Keep Things to Yourself

Another thought that should be considered is that it is absolutely alright to keep memories or thoughts to yourself. As a society, we have made it socially acceptable to share our every move and thought. We have our first amendment rights and can use them as we see fit. That is not the argument here.

However, if you had lunch with your grandmother on Sunday at a little bistro, it's okay not to snap a quick picture and post it to Instagram. It's perfectly acceptable to hold onto that memory and cherish it as your own and no one else's.

While we all enjoy seeing our best friends' proposals, weddings and newborns, sometimes it's appropriate to wait on sharing. When I gave birth to my daughter I made the mistake of instantly making an announcement on Facebook. For at least two days my phone chirped and buzzed with curious minds and people demanding more pictures. I just wanted to cherish every precious moment that I held her. Looking back, it would have been a good idea to wait a week or two, and in meantime tell my close friend, as my family already knew.

Other things you may not want to share immediately, or at all include divorces, breakups, starting a new job or becoming pregnant. Things change on the drop of a dime and it can be extremely difficult to readdress a previously positive statement.


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