Social media has rapidly developed since the 2000’s. With the introduction of MSN just before 2000, being able to be “social” anywhere and everywhere, with anyone has moved to be a commonplace concept. You can now talk to people on your mobile, on a tablet or on a laptop at the click of the button. We upload our lives online, showing the world what it’s like to live in our shoes. This could be a status on Facebook, a tweet to our Twitter timeline or a “selfie” to Instagram. It’s a snapshot of reality online and it will be there for as long as we let it. It may remain there forever, like our forgotten Bebo accounts… the question is are we oversharing?
There have been various news stories about the disadvantages of social media, with individuals being sacked for misuse and for posting things from their personal lives online. Having a “personal brand” online is something that is up and coming in the world of work, with employers now being able to look at your every move. We share moments of our lives, but some of us overshare and pay the price.
For example on my blog, I write about my mental health. Am I over sharing personal information? I don’t think so. I’m giving people an insight into my life so that I can help others. I post about my student life on my Instagram page. I do this to let people know about the university I study at as they may be prospective students. I could go on. All of the social media applications I use have a purpose. Do yours?
Life has become a social event. We are social beings after all. We are placing our memories in permanence online. Some people place their very personal lives online. Think about that drunken night out with friends where you were so drunk that you ended up in a gutter. The morning after, there is a video up on Facebook of that moment. Not something you want a future employer to see.
We have control of what we put online, but some of us don’t think. Would your family want to see you like that? My guess is probably not. Don’t share something if the answer to this question is “no”. You never know when a person could bring that picture of you smoking with your pants down past your waist from 2007, when you didn’t know the consequences of your actions would impact you later down the line when you have an interview for your dream graduate job.
We all have a brand. A “personal” brand that I mentioned before. We are advertising ourselves (sometimes unknowingly) to future employers. We all have an image to upkeep. Do you want to portray yourself as a professional – showing that you are mindful of how your personal life can impact your professional life or do you want to show that you think those lines are blurred? I know what I want. It is important to remember that we need to be aware of what we are sharing with others.
There are somethings that I would never put online. I am reluctant to share my emotions online and would never put any contact information on that I wasn’t comfortable with. As a professional going into the journalism world, I know that I have to be careful what I say and how I show myself online. I think that people in society should be mindful too because you never know when it could bite you back! Keep what you put on social media under control. Be personal, but remember the line. It is there, be sure you can see it and don’t cross it!
What do you think? Comment below!