Social media websites have exploded throughout the past ten years. A large amount of the population that use social media outlets have made it part of their everyday routines (often several times a day) to log on, update their status, post a picture, or tweet, depending on the site you use. There are several levels of involvement in terms of participatory culture including: active creators, critics, collectors, joiners, and passive spectators. Currently, I am an active creator on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I have also created a blog, but have yet to make my first post; therefore I am a passive spectator as this point in time.
Every person interacts on social media sites differently. For example, on Instagram I typically just upload pictures of special people or events in my life with a simple caption. Although I am active, I do not comment or reply as much on Instagram as I do on other sites such as Facebook. For me, Facebook has the most information about my personal life. Not only does the internet in general have the ability to track my activity, but Facebook has pictures, my posts, songs I have listened to, my list of friends, my past relationships, and much more for the past six years since I first signed up for it. For much of this information, you can set your privacy settings however you want. This is the idea that you are able to sensor your thoughts and what you want others to be able to see. You have the ability to decide what information you want to be private and what you want to be public. I do my best to keep everything private to those who I am not friends with on Facebook. I am less active on Twitter than I am on Facebook, but I still make several tweets throughout the week. My posts on Twitter tend to be class, news, or certain topics I am personally interested in.
With that being said, I do find myself having to sensor what I say or post on social media sites for a plethora of different reasons. In what ways do you interact differently on the social media sites that you are active on? Do you ever feel the need to sensor what you say?
There are many reasons why users feel the need to sensor what they post online. One of the biggest reasons is for potential or current employers. A large amount of users on Facebook and Twitter, are in college and will be looking for a job once they graduate. Employers have the ability to see what you post, which has the potential to cause a negative reaction when you are being researched. Even though you delete an inappropriate picture from five years ago, that does not mean it might not surface at some point in time in the future. This is another reason why the internet in so scary when it comes to your life and your career. It is inappropriate to post the same thing on Twitter as you do on your professional site such as your LinkedIn account. Being friends with many of your family members on Facebook is another reason many social media users sensor their posts. While certain users do not care what the general public thinks of what they have to say, other users, such as myself, like to keep it the topics fairly light and uncontroversial. Social media is not always the right outlet to vent about a problem you are having with a person or on that particular day. Do you think that you would have been more selective on what you put on your social media sites when you were younger if you knew how much it could influence you in the future?
In general, social media affects everybody throughout society even if you do not use it. Those who are not active on social media sites are most likely the older generation of adults and those who are not technologically savvy. Even those adults are still slightly affected by social media because they are not using it while everybody else is and are left out of that type of socialization. On the other hand, those who are active in social media are majorly influenced by social media. As ridiculous as it may sound I probably get on Facebook and Twitter anywhere between 5-20 times a day, if not more on certain occasions. In some cases this could be a good thing considering my major is Converged Broadcast Media and much of what I do online is school related. On the flip side, it could just be another distraction taking me away from what I should really be doing. I am not the only user affected by social media this way, there are many users who are constantly active throughout the day. How does social media affect your everyday life?