Lots of people use social media. It helps us keep in touch and share things with friends and family. It can make us sad, too, if we compare our lives to our friends’. It can also even make us miss on work we are should get or even lose a job we love. There are lots of things to pay attention to when using social media. This post is a reminder of what they are. It will also teach you if you do not already know.
First is that the internet remembers long after you forget. No matter your privacy setting, comments and pictures may be seen by lots of people. It is very easy to take a screenshot of even messages that are supposed to disappear. Remember this! The picture may be embarrassing in the future. The comment could be taken the wrong way or might even be intentionally mean. These things could be trouble later on, no matter how innocent or funny it seemed. You might have been making a joke but there is no way to convey tone – except maybe shouting – online. People can be confused or angered easily.
Second, remember that most people only post the best of the best things that happen. Nobody is going to post about their tough Thursday when they couldn’t get out of bed because they were sad or sick. They are going to post their great holiday photo. The picture of their family might show everyone looking happy but two minutes after the picture was taken, they were all fighting. You only see what people want you to see of their lives. You cannot compare the bad things in your life with the great things that happen to everyone else.
Third, think professionally. Keep an email address that sounds professional in case you need to send a message to an official organization or put it on a resume. Maintain a professional profile on networking sites, and keep that separate from your “fun” social media accounts. You do not need your networking site linked to a feed where you live tweet your favorite tv shows while drinking wine. Have it be something that you would not mind your kids or your boss seeing. Be sure that it represents who you are in the workplace and not who you are on your time off.
Lastly, know that it is fine to walk away from social media. Just because everyone you know has an account on a certain site does not mean that you need it as well. There will be a cool new messaging app out tomorrow that does all kinds of things and people will like it. The next day they will be on something new. Decide what works for you and what you can get the most out of, personally, professionally, or both. Then stick with that. Do not worry about anything else. You will be happier and it will make your social media interactions much more worthwhile.