“You don’t need a corporation or a marketing company to brand you now: you can do it yourself. You can establish who you are with a social media following” – Ray Allen. Social media is a cornerstone of our generation. Almost every major social media provider such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have hundreds of millions of users each month. Twitter hosting an average of 330 million active users in the third quarter of 2017, Instagram exceeds that with an average of 800 million active users, and Facebook has a massive user-base, with a whopping 2.7 billion users per month. While these are great outlets to interact with your friends and family, meet new people, and keep up do date on current events, they can also have powerful consequences on your potential employability. Your online image is an extension of yourself, in fact more often than not, it is the image people are most likely to associate with who you are as a person. It is important to know how to properly market yourself through social media, as it may be vital to your ability to earn a decent living.
As stated earlier, your social media presence plays a major role in your ability to get hired, but it also has impacts in other important areas of your life including getting a loan, getting in to a college or university, or even getting fired from a job you currently have.
Here is a short video on the importance of managing your social media presence:
Beyond simply managing your own image, it is important to be careful who you are seen associating with, even in an online capacity. The things other people post about you, and of you, can and will have an impact on your image. You must be aware of what your actions at all times because in the digital age it is likely that there is some sort of device recording what you are doing.
Just take a look at the following image:
As you can see there are four different devices being used the capture the same situation. The man in front is using a video camera, the person to his left is using a phone to record the interaction between the man and the police officer, a woman in the background recording the entire dispute, and then the person who took the photo. No matter where you go there is bound to be someone or something that it able to record what you are doing.
While social media is a platform for you to express yourself, do not make it your online diary. There are certain thoughts and opinions that should be kept to yourself, or only in certain circles. If you are going through a rough period in your life, you need to be especially careful about what you post on social media. Uplifting and inspiring posts that help others relate to your situation are reasonable, but using your platform as your own digital therapist is dangerous. Make sure to keep it positive and do your best to introduce people to a happy environment. It is also important to make sure you hold certain opinions to yourself. Certain views you may hold can conflict with the ideals of an entire company, and endorsing you would mean endorsing your opinions. Most companies are not willing to take that risk.
If you weren’t self-aware before, hopefully you are by the end of this article! Most young individuals do not understand the dangers of social media because they simply see it as necessary. However, what is necessary is that you be aware of the impacts you can have on your own image with what you say and do online. And remember, once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever.
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