You’ve just recovered after a wild night out at the LCR. You check your phone only to discover a camera roll full of pictures that have the potential to rival the current exploits of Miley Cyrus. So what do you do with said images? Upload them straight to Facebook of course.
We are the internet generation, and sharing information about our lives online has become almost second nature to us. Social networking sites, especially Facebook (which has over 1.5 billion users worldwide) and Twitter (which has roughly 500 million users) have become somewhat of a safe haven to us. With gadgets such as laptops, phones and kindles providing ease of access to the internet, and Wi-Fi hot spots popping up almost everywhere you go, we now have even more opportunities throughout our day to like someone’s excruciatingly long status about the unfairness of life, or to retweet a few lines of hopelessly romantic song lyrics.
Whilst detailing our innermost thoughts and feelings on social media pages can be extremely relieving, it could also become a potential issue for us in the future. Every status we write, every photo we upload, every painstakingly thought out 140 characters that we tweet- they all say something about who we are as an individual. But do we ever pause long enough to decide whether our posts create a positive or negative image of us? And who is really paying enough attention to notice?
Online branding is happening all the time. By simply having an account on a social media site, you have created something which in itself is arguably a virtual representation of yourself. Your likes, dislikes and your opinions are laid bare for everyone to see, by your own admission. Think about the most recent status you posted on Facebook or the last tweet you sent: Without even realising it, you could have just possibly added another bit of fuel to the fire of your own online brand, but you may get burnt from it in the long run.
While Facebook and Twitter are helpful in terms of connecting you with people around the world, they can also be helpful tools for employers to use when making a decision about a candidate for an important job position. Right now, quite understandably, you might not be too interested in what your future employer will one day think of you. You’re a university student, you want to go out and party, meet new people and have such a good time that you won’t remember half of it the next morning. But what if your drunken antics could one day cost you your dream job?
To some degree, we can think of our social networking accounts as being relatively private, potentially because with the right settings, we are able to limit the number of people who can see our profiles. However not everyone is keen on limits. Some people prefer their account to be “open for business”, with everyone and anyone being able to see their information, including those potential future employers.
Of course, settings can be changed at any given time, but if you still aren’t in favour of that option, then there’s another easy solution: just try and be a little more selective about what you’re putting onto your page in order to be sure that the image you are cultivating of yourself is one that you can be proud of.
If all else fails, simply ask yourself a quick question before you click post; would you let your mother see it?