How not to destroy your future prospects due to social media

I don’t even have any preamble for this post. It is what it is. There’s been a really concerning trend and level of disclosure of personal information that I’ve witnessed on social media recently, and it alarmed me. A couple of things to consider:

  1. Not everyone who follows you is a friend or has your best interests at heart. It is unwise to share too much personal information about yourself. Particularly sensitive personal information. It can be used against you. This is basic. Also if your accounts are open or have low privacy settings, anyone can see it. Anyone in the world with access to a computer. Consider the magnitude of that.
  2. Just because you delete something later means nothing. A low-level tech head could retrieve everything you’ve ever done, every foolish or ill-thought out thing you’ve ever written, and pass that information on to people who have sideways plans for you. Furthermore, the more people share personal information, the more valuable and lucrative it becomes for people who have those kind of agendas, and the more your current and future privacy will be compromised.
  3. Do you want a job in the future? A good one? Then for goodness sake take a minute to think before you publish online. When you use the internet, you leave a trail. Even as it is employers are using basic Google to sort the wheat from the chaff. It is not long before they’ll be using more sophisticated programs and will be able to dig up things you posted 5 years ago. Depending on what you put out there, you are potentially building up a case for your own elevation or destruction. Furthermore, if you plan to run for office or apply for a role with high responsibility on a grand scale…think extra carefully about what you write. Campaigns are notorious for digging up dirt on the opposition, and nowadays they won’t even have to dig that far because of what? Oh yes. Soshal meejyah.
  4. I understand there’s power in testimony, but there’s also power in wisdom, discernment and good judgment. Consider the cost. Don’t jump on trends because everyone else is doing it. Don’t unnecessarily release information into forums that were not designed to protect you. There is nothing wrong with good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction.
  5. If you are going to have your full Christian name and your face in your profile, think seriously about the digital portfolio you are building up of yourself. I understand that people go through seasons and don’t remain in stagnant places of thought or behaviour, but understand the world you live in; one where bad news, scandal, infamy, devastation and misery are the staple diet, and few will care if now you are Mother Teresa 2.0.
  6. One moment of madness can erase a lifetime of integrity and honour. The older you get, the less forgiving people will be.

What saddens me the most about all this, is the legions of really young people engaging in social media in destructive ways, who lack the mental maturity to perceive the possible long-term repercussions. Currently there is really nothing to guide or instruct people how to behave online and that makes it one of the most dangerous places on earth to be. Without knowing it, many people are loading the gun of the sniper shot that will shut them down in the future. In addition to this, the fact that we are so digital these days means that when that shot comes, unlike before, the humiliation probably won’t even be private or at least contained to a small amount of people. This has serious personal implications, and implications for the stability of society as a whole. A bunch of miserable, defeated and suspicious people are not the building blocks of a great future.

There’s no denying social media is addictive, and it’s so easy to share on it that it almost feels natural but…every so often, unplug from the Matrix.

Pause.

Just a little.

It’s literally like Who Want’s To Be A Millionaire: [50/50 to post or not to post, phone a friend (best option in many circumstances) or ask the audience (for the ones with self-control or the truly reckless)]

Make a choice.

Then own that choice. Whatever the outcome.

Yours Truly

xx

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9 thoughts on “How not to destroy your future prospects due to social media

  1. Hehe, this is a really clever and insightful post Tols, thanks for sharing, tech-heads like myself can do with the reminder from time to time. Can you give an example though of the sort of things you’ve seen/heard of that are no-nos?

    I mean I know someone who lost a job with a local council because of their outspoken political views on social media, but then they pride themselves in saying pretty much everything on SM so in a sense, they were asking for it. What I’m wondering is, are there little things that people do that they may not realise are hampering their future chances?

    • Thanks Yinks. I deliberately avoided giving specific examples as I didn’t want to draw more unnecessary attention to people’s lapses in judgement & compromise their future privacy. The worst general example I’ve seen though is someone who by giving a testimony, admitted to having attractions to underage children & teenagers of the same sex. I know I don’t need to say anything more.

      • Oh wow, yeah that is big… Okay fair enough, I hear where you’re coming from and wisdom is needed, with this, as with any thing.

        Was gonna say more, but I think it’d be more beneficial (and not because of the fear of a digital footprint!) to discuss it offline 😉

  2. Love this article..so insightful.These days I find myself writing out a status/tweet then deleting it before I share it. It’s so easy to just share whatever you’re thinking at the time and use the ‘freedom of speech’ excuse but we do have to be wise. Having said that, I’ve made a few posts that put me in a vulnerable position but I’ve had alot of positive feedback and it ties in with my chosen career.

    • I love this comment because you’re an example of someone who has actually taken a moment to consider the cost, weighed it up, THEN decided to go ahead. You have & are owning what you’ve put out there about yourself. Some use social media in highly emotional states which clouds their judgment, or means they put sensitive information they have chosen to share, across in a way that will leave them vulnerable to its misuse in ways they were unprepared for. Ditto on the writing & deleting. In the past I was not so judicious, but I’m learning lol.

  3. That is a really good tip especially tto those
    new too the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must reead article!

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