Social media, especially new social media, is such a global platform that it is important to monitor what you are presenting, how you are presenting it, and who is able to see this information. As an avid user of Twitter, Facebook, and now WordPress, I must always be aware of what I am saying or what I am presenting when using these forms of media.
When using or presenting myself on social media, there are always certain criteria I look to follow before making a post of any kind. One of the first things I think of is how are others going to view what it is that I am posting? A general rule of mine is that I am probably not going to post anything publicly, whether it be a thought of a picture, that I wouldn’t want my mom to see (even though she probably couldn’t find it, but who knows these days). If it is something that I wouldn’t want my mother to see, then I probably shouldn’t be posting it in the first place.
Another rule of mine is that I try not to post anything that prospective employers would not be pleased with. Anything I post that could get me in trouble at work or possibly cost me the opportunity at a job in the first place, is not worth posting.
In terms of what information I release, it depends on the platform. For my Facebook account, I don’t usually post thoughts or opinions, but mostly just pictures. The majority of my Facebook profile has been built several years ago, as I am much more active on Twitter now than Facebook. For Twitter itself, I try to keep anything I post creative and funny, as most people who follow me don’t care what I am doing that afternoon, but an interesting thought or idea could intrigue them.
I do think that there is a difference between people’s online persona and their real life person, at least to some degree. For myself, there are certainly aspects of my real life persona I don’t present on social media, and vice versa. I am certainly more outgoing and engaging online as opposed to real life, which I am sure many others would agree with.
As stated earlier, I think surveillance of new media certainly should, and does, play a role in what criteria we use to post information online. If I am in a situation where I know that posts I create could be critiqued and used against me, I am almost certainly going to be more careful in terms of what I decide to post. I would hate for a silly comment I make, or a picture of me when I am not at my finest, to be used against me and cost me a potential opportunity for something in the future. This is a common situation with jobs nowadays, which is way many people use nicknames or other ways to conceal their true identity on social media forms like Twitter and Facebook. Also Twitter offers the opportunity to make your account private, in which you must authorize people to be able to look at your account.
In general I feel it is important for people to monitor what they are posting online. Social media is intended to be fun and engaging, but keep it that way. Don’t allow a mistake in judgment, or a bad picture, to cost you an opportunity or shape others opinions on you. Keep it clean people.