Cautionary tale: Social media requires forethought before posting

Madison Little

Hashtag. Ating. Trending. Tweeting. Snapping. The internet streams social media into teens’ lives every waking moment of the day. Social media has become the communication form of choice with teens which comes with the good and the bad. It allows them to express themselves and communicate instantaneously with family, friends and strangers, but many times those participating in the realm of social media aren’t aware of the risk that comes along with such a public space. In many situations, a good idea can turn into a bad decision in the long run. Pictures and captions posted on social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or even Snapchat can affect someone for the rest of their life.

While posting a picture of you hanging out with a group of friends or tweeting your favorite lyrics to a song may seem innocent at the time, the outcome of these decisions could have permanent effects on your life. A debate has arisen over whether or not employers and school officials should examine past social media posts when deciding whether or not someone is a good fit. While many believe this is an invasion of privacy in people’s lives, I think it makes sense.

If someone is worried about something that they post on social media, it is most likely due to something inappropriate or irresponsible. Employers and colleges may want to avoid people who post inappropriate things and see them as a poor fit for their program. This is why it is important to maintain proper social media etiquette before it comes time to apply for college and jobs. Keeping photos and captions away from vulgar or inappropriate language is a necessity when it comes to social media etiquette.

I have seen this issue take place first-hand. When my uncle was in training to be a State Trooper, he was unaware that his sergeants were looking on his past social media throughout his entire bootcamp and training process. Luckily, he didn’t have anything that was improper or unsuitable that would have caused him to no longer be a candidate for the public servant occupation. If you don’t have anything inappropriate lurking on an account associated with your name, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The people making a scene about the situation are the ones whose social media is filled with pictures and posts unworthy for a professional occupation.

There are negative experiences surrounding people that have once chosen to post unacceptable things on social media, like people losing their jobs, health insurance coverage, and even their relationships.

The internet records every keystroke and photo uploads are quickly archived. Did you know that you cannot ‘delete’ a photo from Facebook? While you can remove it from your profile and the button is labelled ‘delete’, Facebook keeps a copy that is associated with your profile forever. On many occasions, law enforcement has been able to track people and their activities based purely on their internet activity. The footprint you leave on the internet is large and will continue to impact your life in the future.

Social networking is here to stay, and it shows no sign of being a fad or slowing down. It is ingrained in both the workplace and social spheres; the important thing to remember is to always think before you post.