From career choice to personal interactions, social media is a pretty big part of my life. This is in part the ‘look at everything I have done’ generation I grow up in, mixed with a University that was ahead of the game and hammered home not only the power social media possesses and the opportunities it presents, but also the responsibility we have to control ourselves on it.
For the most part, the constant evolution of the online nature has yielded a sense of awareness to the issue of ethics. That said, it doesn’t take half a scroll down one’s newsfeed to find something that causes an eye roll or head shake followed by a question of where humanity is heading.
For years I’ve studied the actions that prompt someone to post what they do. A sense of entitlement, narcissism, ignorance or just a different perspective on the definition of ‘interesting’. The biggest thing to note is that at some point or another we’ve all been guilty of it. Like falling down or the feeling of getting too close to a fire, we’ve all posted something that we immediately second guessed. Certainly not on the same magnitude as others, but it’s a feeling we all understand. It’s like I’ve always told my clients, colleagues and superiors in the office hierarchy, the ONLY thing I truly know about social media is that there is no right way to do it, but there are millions of wrong ones.
In college, some friends and I started a social campaign as part of a project to promote online ethics to the audience that needed to hear it: Everyone. We started a Facebook page called The Social Media Résumé Project (then we dropped the ‘the’…it’s cleaner) and took our presentation to local high schools and junior high schools in an effort to minimize the amount of things posted online that could affect future opportunities. We showed statistics, gave personal testimonials and offered alternatives.
Yet, as it always has been, the most effective form of education is through experience and the impact those consequences have.
SMRP has lived on (often times barely) to exist with that purpose. Mainly because those stories are out there, even close to home. Recently my friend Amanda, owner of 417 Pet Sitting sent me this testimonial of her experience managing those that manage social media:
Most of us, at some point, put thought into what we post on Facebook and other social media sites. As a 30-something, single, female, business owner who is active in the community, I have accepted the fact that “big brother” is watching my every move. Even when I have a “night off”, what I am posting reflects on me and ultimately my business.