Social media is everywhere now. It’s pretty rare to meet someone who isn’t on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or some other social platform, and while the type of social media people use is constantly shifting, it’s pretty clear that some sort of online social interaction is going to exist in our technological world from here on out.
So what’s the big deal with being careful about what you put online? While you might feel like your social media is your property and that it’s a free space to post whatever you want, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to being wise with your social media usage.
1. Employers look at your social media pages
While it’s true that not all hiring managers check out your Instagram profile, many do. “According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates they are considering hiring, and around 43 percent of employers use social media to take a look at current employees.” If you don’t have a private profile, there’s a good chance that your reputation is going to precede you via the photos and captions you post about your life. Employers want to have a peek into the real person that they’re hiring, and they want to make sure that that person is who they actually say they are.
While there are many reasons to be careful about your social media usage, the fact alone that your future career could hinge on what you post is worth using discernment about what you add to your account.
2. Speaking of privacy settings…
Use them! Privacy settings are continually getting more and more complex, and it’s important that you take a look at what your settings are at now and then. Since most social media platforms update their terms and conditions, along with their privacy settings on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to click through and see if all the world can see everything you post.
It’s a good idea to consider stronger privacy settings in general, unless you’re using your social media platforms as your business. In that case, monitor your followers carefully, and be careful not to post anything about your residential address or other private information.
3. Be kind and wise
It’s so much easier to get into arguments and say quippy, sarcastic comments when you’re sitting behind a screen. It’s a lot harder to take an acquaintance out to coffee, ask hard questions, and try to understand someone else’s point of view. Matter and manner both matter. What you say is really important, but how you say it is equally important. Consider your audience, and use a lot of wisdom and discernment about what you’re posting. If you’re having a hard time discerning if something is okay to post, run it by a friend, or maybe consider not posting that status or photo if you’re not completely at peace with it.
4. Don’t’ spend all day online
This is a worldwide problem. Technology is ever-present, and like any normal human brain would respond, we are drawn to its possibilities and the access it gives us to amazing solutions. The thing is, if you spend all day scrolling on Instagram, you’re probably wasting a lot of time that you could be using to, say, make friends! Or finish your homework, work a job, be creative, exercise, etc.
If you’re the type who’s pretty dependent on your phone already, consider writing up some very basic rules for yourself. Something like, “I will not use my phone for the half-hour before bed,” or “Instead of looking at my phone first thing in the morning, I’m going to take 15 minutes to sip my coffee and dwell on a Bible verse.” Small steps are important here because going cold turkey on not using social media could cause you to give up your goal entirely. Enlist the accountability of your roommates or a friend, or better yet…see if they’ll do a social media fast with you. You might find yourself connecting with other people more, feeling more peaceful, and pursuing life in a completely different way. When the highlights of other people’s lives aren’t constantly in your face, you’ll find you have a little more wiggle room in your life for other things, like calm, beauty, inspiration, and connection.