Baby-Steps to Saving Social Media

I log onto Facebook and Twitter and feel like I’m reading a diary, except the problem is, with a physical diary, it requires the author to stop, grab a pen, grab a book, and then write out the thoughts word by word and really look at what’s being said. Our social media websites don’t condone this practice. In fact, it has become even easier to share your thoughts. Keys on a keyboard are memorized helping your fingers quickly send out the message online. Additionally, cell phones and other tablet devices are linked to your phone giving people the opportunity to share their thoughts on the spot anywhere they go. With these quick posts, people aren’t taking the time to really think about what they’re posting.

It all boils down to how people want to be perceived. Does she care that she looks like the jealous ex-girlfriend with her constant posts about the broken relationship? Does he care that he looks like a conceited jerk with his mirror framed pictures showing off his biceps? Social media websites have become a dumping ground for the parts of ourselves that we don’t show off in the public world. My Facebook feed is filled with posts about what people are eating, where they are going, and who is annoying them. The problem is, it’s not just our “friends” that view our posts.

Employers are now using social media websites and professionals that know how to navigate through the websites to learn about you. An employer will not be impressed by status updates filled with negativity or pictures of drinking and partying. Besides this, it changed social media websites from powerful forms of connecting communication into a mindless place of to satisfy out boredom.

People recognize the power of communication. Scientists use online medical journals to share their innovations and research. This helps in advancements in disease research and finding cures. Facebook has had its moments of power, as people post and share information about worldly causes, but the problem is today’s youth is clogging the pores of these outlets with mindless diary entries.

In my opinion, people shouldn’t be allowed to sign up with Facebook unless they’re at least eighteen, but that’s just me. Nevertheless, everyone could use a moment to reevaluate their postings because you are sharing information about yourself with more than just your closest Facebook BFF’s. Employers are there, strangers are there, people creating fake profiles are there, every kind of person with an account could add you as a friend and gain access into your world.

For safety, we should not be adding people that we don’t know. Unless you feel comfortable knowing a stranger could track you through your posts, you should not add them! Facebook makes it easy to give in to this temptation with its side bar of “people you might know.” I have had friends who have told me with glee that they’ve almost reached 1,000 “friends.” The reality is, not all of these people are your friends. If you aren’t spending physical time or making an effort to connect with these people outside of the computer, then they aren’t truly your friends. Either way, they have just as much access into your life.

Personal appearance comes into play next. Whether we care about these people seeing our lives or not, we should have genuine concern about how we present ourselves. Some people advise that it’s ok to be honest online and share all aspects of your life—both the good and the bad. I believe we need to throw this idea into our virtual dumpsters and delete it completely from the hard-drive. The reason people are becoming at ease with their computer screen rather than in face-to-face conversation, is because we have a different set of confidence. We don’t have to see someone’s reaction, we can be lied to and never know it and never care. I have had friends post attention-grabbing statuses about their “miserable” lives in order to collect sympathetic comments from other people.

We shouldn’t be doing that! We should be posting only the great things about our lives. When we post this, we present ourselves as worthwhile people to meet and spend time with in person. Additionally, when we don’t rely on the sympathy comments, it forces us to seek help from our true friends. Just because we are entering a virtual era, doesn’t mean all of our face-to-face actions should be suffering. Social media is a world for connection, not for therapy and it has become a dangerous place for some people.

When it comes to social media, everyone must be wary about who is seeing their posts. Making a fake profile is just as easy as making a real one, and at times people are so careful that the fake profile appears legitimate. We need to save our private thoughts, our negative thoughts, and our pointless thoughts for human ears, not virtual ones. If we rely on social media, we lose our sense of courage and ultimately, we lose our ability to comfortably socialize outside of the computer desk. It is impossible to stop people from sharing the short-term posts about daily life, but one by one, we can turn social media  websites back to pure forms of connection—not safety nets for life’s problems.

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