Have you ever posted something on social media, instantly regretted it and taken it down seconds later? We’ve all been there whether it was a selfie that didn’t get any likes in the first few minutes of uploading, or a unkind tweet that you publish in the moment and then feel shameful and delete it. This post is a little bit different to what I usually talk about, its personal, more of a reflection of different habits, thoughts and views on something that I and many others use a little too often.
Its so easy to pick up your smartphone when you’re bored or waiting for a bus, and whats the first thing you do? Open Instagram? Snapchat? Facebook? Twitter? I can guarantee unless you have someone to reply to one of these would be your first instinct. Social Media is constant, its in our hands, its in our minds and it can become very consuming of our lives. When everyone you know is using it, it becomes very hard to distinguish situations that should be kept offline and not broadcast to the entirety of your followers list.
I began thinking about the media consumption of our generation recently when I started contacting companies to get experience within the media industry for a placement module at university. Thinking about future employers and what they could see posted under my name made me think about my online habits and those of others that I have noticed.
I had always been taught not to swear online since the day my parents allowed me to make a Facebook profile. As a young teenager I sometimes disobeyed this and could be a little rude, just as a bit of harmless fun with my friends. Luckily for me this online attitude stopped as I went through secondary school and Instagram was released. It was ideal for me as my hobby for photography was just starting. I used the app as professionally as I could at the age of 14, using my weekends to practise my photography and then upload my photos gradually during the week. When I realised that this was gaining me more followers and likes on my photos, I understood that this was a way I could network myself and my photography, making me think about the content I was sharing. Since then I have always used these sites as a means of posting my photos and communicating with others. Now I have both a personal account and a professional account, but as they are both public profiles everything I share is something I wouldn’t mind a future employer seeing.
After this came to my attention I have noticed many people around the same age as me, who will soon be in this position not care so much about what they publish online. Tweeting about how much they dislike someone they work with or replying to others with rude comments. Moving on from an employers first impression, doing this is just ridiculous and quite frankly very childish. Seeing this subconsciously gives anyone viewing your profiles a slightly negative view of how you may behave offline. This is where I have noticed growing up that many people, those of which should be acting like adults, cannot distinguish between their online and offline lives because they don’t understand that not every situation revolves around what you post social media.
People feel protected by their screens and use social sites to act differently to how they would in person, which could have huge consequences when you begin to understand who can access these profiles. The internet and social media is a rule-free environment, where we can interact and communicate with society while accepting minimal personal responsibility for the implications to what we do… until it gets involved with life away from the screen.
So before you click that tweet, post, share button take a minute to think about who will be able to view that post? How does it present you? and the reasons why you are posting it.
I hope this post has been useful in someway, I haven’t written this to criticise anyone, hopefully more of a way to encourage you critically think about the content you publish online and who can see it. Your online identity will be there forever because once you’ve clicked that button, its very difficult to retract.
How do you feel about social media and how its used among young adults in contemporary society?
Thanks for reading!
*all opinions and views are my own*