Each and every platform of social media once possessed a less-than necessary nature to me. Since I began using it around the age of 13 the sole purpose of social sites existed to me as avenues where I kept up with high school friends and gossip. It was not until recently I recognized the tremendous power which exudes from the simple apps we scroll among aimlessly and communicate with one another upon on a daily basis.
My goal in writing and sharing this post with you- whomever you may be, whatever place you may be at as of this point in your life -is to emphasize the brevity of the online world which has both adhered to and absorbed our lives, and the impact it may have on your future for better or for worse (let's think in terms of better here, shall we?). Through an accumulation of professional and personal experience, as well as ongoing first hand education regarding so, I've broken down how you should use social media to your advantage in 2 easy parts.
PART 1: FIND YOUR RHYTHM
Every. Little. Thing. you post is a representation of any and all components which encompass your identity. This may come as news to some while redundant to others. For those who may not realize this it is a harsh reality, one which presents no take-backs or second chances, as we all know we cannot rely on the delete button to permanently retract what we distribute among the plethora of the web. It is imperative to ensure the content you choose to share among your social
media does not reflect poorly on you as an individual by any means because it could harm your professional reputation; and your professional name is not confined to the corporate/business world, it is you as an entity among any line of work (from self-employment to manual labor). Instead, your socials should exemplify your best qualities. This is not to proclaim a necessity to have flawless photographs of an unrealistically perfect exotic vacation effortlessly sprawled across your feed (unless that's what you're into), it simply suggests you share what you would and will be proud to have your name attached to - no pressure but literally forever; this is the internet, after all.
If you're into food and are seeking a career in the food industry, post about it. You're into surfing? Post about it! You're low-key not sure what you want to do eventually but enjoy spending time with friends and family? You guessed it- post about it! Simple photos of you on your own or with your family and friends won't hurt, if anything it demonstrates a level of sociability and quality of your character. Consider social media a way for you to get to know yourself better by sharing personalized content. *Side note: you should ensure anything you PUBLICLY share maintains a level of appropriateness. In other words: think before you upload! If you post something you have to question whether or not it could come back to bite you in the bum later on, it would behoove you to remove it before it causes any "real," damage.
PART 2: ACT ON YOUR INTENTIONS
Regardless of your goals, if your are interested in altering the content of your profiles across the various social apps you use, a helpful way to achieve this is by using the SWOT method (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). You don't need to type anything out or even write anything down. Simply observe yourself from an alternate perspective or ask someone you sincerely trust to tell you straight up how the content of your profile(s) portrays you. If you get a response you're satisfied with, perhaps minor changes could be made; there's always room for a little improvement. An earful of negativity may prompt you to make more serious adjustments.
The good news for those of you who may/may not have squeaky clean social media is this: there is always time to tidy up your socials to establish and secure a positive reflection of yourself. Though the only social media I have personally occupied has been Myspace, Twitter, and Instagram, I myself am guilty of posting some distasteful things to my Twitter feed in the past (damn that 15 year old me who found her tweets more intriguing when they included swear words! *cringe*). This semester of college has brought forth several projects to me involving social media usage, so I acknowledged this as an appropriate time to utilize a Tweet-Eraser app to expunge my feed from the profanity which once...unfortunately occupied it (I internally scream and cry at the thought of the rap lyrics I used to post).
As for Facebook, Instagram, or other social outlets, it is important to practice damage control there, too, if necessary. Though I support others in their decision to post what they want, such damage control entails riddance of any photos you may have with alcohol or red cups in the picture, as the dreaded red cup has become detrimental to students, applicants, and employees alike (sorry, Solo). If you do not wish to bulldoze such evidence of you enjoying yourself with your friends I highly suggest you: A) private your account and create a separate page to fulfill the growing desire of many employers and professionals to see you maintain a social media presence for your professional identity, or B) add emoji stickers over any alcohol or red cups which may photobomb your pictures.
Social media is complex and slightly evasive in clarity of use, but if you observe the tips and suggestions I've listed here I guarantee you will experience the multiple benefits which result from clean media at one point or another; whether it helps you land a job or a brand deal/endorsement (for those of you interested in copping one, I could make an entire post about that alone!).
Thank you for reading today. (:
*Today's photographs were taken by the very talented photographer, Christian Hinkle. Check out his work & follow him on all of his social media!