While with my college friends this weekend, we reminisced about all the stupid antics we got up to during those four years (re-enacting the Dirty Dancing dance scene in the dorm hallway, ordering way too much Chinese food, wearing pants in every color of the rainbow) and how very, very glad we are that we weren’t running around with cell phone cameras everywhere we went.
In fact, there are some photos from this weekend that I’ve seen that should probably disappear, though only because they’re taken from very bad angles. 🙂 But we’re now adult enough to know that while it’s fine to share certain things in email, we’re not about to put unflattering pictures of each other on the internet. Plus unlike in college, when we *gasp* did a bit of underage drinking, we weren’t doing anything illegal or immoral or that could hurt our careers.
Social media is a big topic of conversation right now. Thank goodness that we didn’t have Facebook in college. I fear what photos of me would have been published. And as we all know, nothing is ever truly gone from the internet. Again, I wasn’t a bad kid, but I definitely did some stupid stuff. That’s the point of college.
Apparently, at many colleges and universities, students are suddenly finding themselves getting caught during these ridiculous antics thanks to the wonders of social media. Someone posts a picture, someone in power sees it, and boom. And things can only get worse when you enter the workforce. I have noticed a number of people starting to use their first and middle names on Facebook rather than using their actual last name so that employers can’t find them. I’m not sure this is a foolproof method of keeping things protected, unfortunately. I think the better lesson is to think before posting.
But when you’re 19, how often do you think before you do anything?
Even adults make really ridiculous social media mistakes. I’ve seen people I know posting some very inappropriate things on the internet. Are these things you really want coming back to haunt you? I have no problem with the proliferation of Twitter and Instagram (I use both), but maybe think before you post.
(Also, you don’t need to Instagram everything. Seriously, people.)
I was talking to a coworker on Election Day about how I think that elections may be different in a few decades when more and more of the candidates grew up in the social media era. After all, it is often said that in this day and age, FDR wouldn’t be elected because he was in a wheelchair. And many believe that Kennedy defeated Nixon because of the power of tv – after one debate in particular, those who listened on the radio thought Nixon won and those who watched on television thought Kennedy won. I’ve seen and listened to the clip and I agree. I wonder what it will be like when people start digging into social media history as opposition research.
I guess the takeaway here is think before you post. This doesn’t mean that you can’t post things that are silly or inane, just remember that what you post may never ever go away. Yikes.