Why does discretion go out the window with social media?

I get it. This is America, home of the free. Without free speech, this country would not enjoy the rights and privileges we have today. However, where does common sense play into that right? It seems to me that most people don’t regard social media as a reflection of themselves. What you post about your personal beliefs, love life and political beliefs can get you into trouble. When it comes to social media, it’s best not to share things of that nature. It allows others to pre-maturely judge you and can carry negative consequences.

Part of my primary job duties is to manage several social media platforms for a college department. It has become apparent that every freshman should read this article regarding good practices of social media use.  Presenting your best side, albeit censored self, is probably a best practice.

This hit home for me a few days ago. As the director of the Catch Your Breath UCF campaign, I have a special interest in the perceptions and acceptance of the smoke-free policy on UCF’s campus. My heart sunk when I saw some pictures posted on Facebook where smokers decided to use a No Smoking sign as an ashtray. But I was furious when I saw it was an employee who was involved with drafting the smoke-free policy that did the posting. They weren’t posting it in defiance of the policy, just sharing how smokers are opposing the policy. However, it was bad judgment. It contributed to the further spread of negativity regarding a policy that UCF wants student and employee support with.

So apparently it’s not just students who need help understanding the impact of social media communication, but everyone who adopts the technology. Although not posting pictures from the weekend of your binge drinking games might be obvious, you can just as easily be judged by your “retweeting” or “liking” a posting about abortion, health care reform, or just everyday news.  I don’t want to shed on your right to free speech, but really it’s just to protect yourself.

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