I’ve been conscious of what I put on social media for a very long time now. I’ve been dancing since I was four and throughout my studio time I attended very many dance conventions. There was a master teacher Laurie Johnson who taught tap dance to us throughout the weekend. Every time I took class with her she would bring up inspirational advice, usually having to do with the growing social media world. She would tell us stories of people that she has known that posted the wrong thing online and the wrong person say it and it cost them their job. She was already an inspirational dancer but she is a truly inspirational person as well.
That being said, I continue to be aware of what I am posting on my own social media pages as well as what other people are posting of/about me. Throughout college, the Communication program, and the DCIM program I am continually reminded of the effect social media has in society and the workplace. This is especially something I need to be aware of since I am graduating in May and might have potential employers searching my profiles.
In Look At Us: Collective Narcissism in College Student Facebook Galleries, by Andrew L. Mendelson and Zizi Papacharissi, the authors examined the choice of photographs that college students included on their Facebook profiles. Most photos included partying and alcohol and seemed exaggerated and posed. I’ve never been a fan of that kind of “bragging” to your “friends” on social networks. I party and I drink but I don’t see a need to post a photo of myself with alcohol in my hand. What does that communicate to people? It may communicate that I can relax and have a good time but it can also communicate that I am wreckless and unprofessional. Especially now that I am friends with parents, family, and people that I work for or with, it is definitely inappropriate. The people who I care about know who I am and what I do so I’ll go live in the moment, have fun with them, and not worry about if this picture will be Facebook worthy or not.
The constant need to take photos and share every moment of our lives with everyone on the internet is so silly to me. Go ahead and post a photo of yourself partying or kissing your boyfriend once and a while but I do not want to see one every other day. Keep your relationship to yourself. I use my Facebook privately to share things and communicate with people that I actually care about and keep in touch with. I’ve gone through my friends list several times and deleted that girl that I talked to once in class and that boy that I had a group project with in 11th grade. I do not see a need to keep up with people’s lives that I do not know.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people that are always taking pictures. Like I said before, I like to live in the moment. If you are so worried about taking a picture or video of every single thing at a party, concert, night out, then are you really experiencing the moment and company? Put the phone down and ask your friends about their lives while you are with them instead of stalking them on every social network to find it out. Attend to the relationships you have and communicate people!
As Laurie Johnson has said, “Be present in your life. Engage in what’s happening around you. You don’t always need to have your phone in your hand as if you’re bored and waiting for something better to happen.” (lauriejohnson.com).