Social media has never been so popular. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of the other various forms, it’s hard not to find yourself being a part of all the hype. Most of these sites are more popular with teenagers and young adults.
There are many pros and cons of deciding to join various social media sites. Some are beneficial to how people perceive us, but others pay portray us having a bad reputation and may pose a risk to us.
Why we choose to use social media
All forms of social media allow us to connect with our friends in such a simply way. We can also follow celebrities that we wish we knew and find out more about them. Using these sites allow you to show your friends what you have been doing and what your interests are.
Oversharing can simply be seen as annoying to some, but could also potentially threaten your professional career and your safety.
Do we share too much information?
A lot of people do share too much information. If potential employers are looking at you on all of the social media sites that you are a part of, you had better hope that you portray yourself as a respectable individual and not a party animal. Unless that’s what your employer is looking for (which is somewhat unlikely), it could be damaging to your future career.
What do employers see?
There are social media websites like LinkedIn allow you to display your education and work experience in a professional way for potential employers and colleagues to view. In a perfect world, this would be the only website that employers would look on the internet for information about you. However in a lot of cases, this is not what happens.
Some employers may judge you based on your pictures on Facebook or your
tweets on Twitter. Provocative pictures and pictures with alcohol and drugs are a major turn off for employers. But if you don’t have these types of things displayed for everyone to see and you portray yourself as a good person, employers looking at your various profiles may actually help you get a job.
There is a website called Klout that allows you to see how you score on a scale from 1-100. The higher the number, the more influential you are. Some employers have been known to look at Klout Scores when choosing a person for a position at their company. Being a student studying Human Resources Management, deciding on who to hire in this fashion in not procedurally fair. It does not show how qualified the applicants are.
What can everyone else see?
It’s not only your professional career that you could be risking. Internet stalking, known as “cyberstalking” is real and can be extremely dangerous. A recent article called Social media safety compares social media to being in a room full of strangers. Privacy settings should be set accordingly. A good suggestion that this article mentions, is asking yourself if everything you post would be okay for your grandmother to see. Most grandmothers want to be respected and not shocked by what their grandchildren are sharing.
There was a situation earlier this year that ended in a teenager being jailed for a month. The teenage boy posted a comment on his Facebook page that made him come across as a terrorist. Lucky for him, he was not arrested, but this situation shows just how seriously anyone can be taken on the internet.
Should we leave social media completely?
Not necessarily. Although we should consider changing our privacy levels and
share things that would not pose us any potential harm. Once we learn how to control the information that we share with the World Wide Web, we will no longer pose a threat to ourselves.
It’s a good idea to look at the privacy controls that are currently set on your social media profiles. On Facebook and like sites, you can change the levels so that only friends can see them. This would be the safest route, after making sure that you only have friends that you truly know.
While doing research for this blog, I have changed my privacy settings on Facebook to Friends only. It was previously set to Friends of Friends, which allows the friends of my friends to see my whole profile. It occurred to me that I don’t know most of the people my friends are friends with. Knowing that I hadn’t changed my settings to Friends only earlier has opened my eyes. It’s too easy for anyone to find out who you are and what kind of person you are.
The internet can be a scary place if you don’t know how to use it or how to virtually protect yourself. Nothing should be posted that can harm yourself or threaten others. It is a great place to connect with friends in a respectable manner. Everyone should just be aware that when something is posted on the internet, it may not be able to be taken back; the damage has been done. Share only what you think is acceptable in order to stay safe.