We all have read stories about someone writing a post or sharing a picture on social media that later comes back to bite them in the behind. We have been told that current and potential employers look at our media pages and that our online activity follows us even decades later. We also witness people achieving insta-fame as YouTubers, Instagram influencers, and social media personalities. They can make millions of dollars, even as children.
Social media is in the world, and it is here to stay. We are addicted to it, hate it, and have to engage with it. It is the current culture we live in and often how we connect with individuals we otherwise might never see in our daily lives.
As a Millennial, I struggle with the ins and outs of social media. I, too, want to be liked. I am not a sellout, though. I would like $1,000,000 for a short video. I also want to be opinionated and share my beliefs without writing something that will follow me for years to come. I want to be authentic and real without having it come back to haunt me.
As I have struggled with these issues for years, I have found a clear voice guiding me as I engage through social media. Social media can be used for a variety of purposes. There are different platforms and apps that accomplish different things. Looking at each app, you can figure out what purpose it serves and how it can serve you.
Through these questions and doubts of social media’s consequences, it is most important to understand that social media apps are different from one another. They each have their own “personality” and use. As you use social media, be mindful that something written in frustration or innocence today may rebrand you in the future and may come back to haunt you.
If you have a clear purpose for each account you use, you probably will not fall into the trap of posting content that can harm you later. Reflection (such as answering the questions below) can serve as a guide to help you establish better boundaries within social media so that you can fully engage and find your voice.
Reality Changing Observations:
1. What is my purpose in using this form of social media? Professional networking? Brand-building? Money-making/marketing? Social?
2. How do I tailor my content to focus on my purpose?
3. What privacy settings do I need to use, and how does that affect my content?