Being conscious of the dangers of social media

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Marquel Plavan spends time in her sophomore dorm room checking social media during a study break. Photo by Katie Chaikowsky.

We live in an age when our lives are constantly broadcasted online via social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. While these platforms help us keep in touch with our friends, they can also drastically increase miscommunication.

Taken out of context, a joke or criticism can be misinterpreted wildly. Not only should we be cautious about interpreting things we see on social media, but we should also be mindful about the content that we are posting, since it can harm our own reputation and that of others.  

Employers do background checks for potential employers and often look at social media accounts, which should be an incentive to refrain from posting suggestive content. It would be a shame to lose an opportunity due to a lack of prudence.

We should also be cognizant of how the content reflects upon others involved in the social media post. While you may feel comfortable posting about a pre-TGIT get together, someone else in the photo might not be. Because the content we post can be harmful to the reputation of others, it might be a good idea to ask the people in the photo if they object to it before posting it on social media.

When we take a picture out of context, we create a story that may have little to no truth about what actually happened. If we share the made-up stories with our friends, the rumors will harm the reputation of others and can harm their chances with future employers.

Another danger that I have noticed occurs on social media is the increasing amount of hateful posts. I recently read an article in The New York Times that claimed that we have a moral obligation to delete Facebook due to the negativity and hate it seems to promote. While I think that claim is a bit drastic, I agree that we should abstain from media platforms if they tempt us to shame others.

Shaming others based on what we see on social media should not be acceptable under any circumstances. I would hope that most people hold themselves to a higher standard than those who bash people on Instagram for their race, sexuality or religion, but unfortunately it continues to happen every day.

Even if someone on your Instagram feed posts something of which you do not personally approve, it is not charitable to shame them or post hateful comments. It is not our job to judge others, nor to promote any negativity online.

I would suggest keeping all social media accounts on “private” to secure your information and protect yourself and your friends from the dangers that accompany social media.  

Keeping your social media account set on “private” prevents the general public from viewing your information. Not only could that prevent employers from seeing anything that might be considered suggestive, but it can also keep you and your friends safe. Lastly, I would also encourage anyone who comments on social media to be respectful and charitable.

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