Depending upon how it is used, social media can be a wonderfully enriching vehicle for humanity, or a reminder of its worst elements. It is a reflection of who we are; an establishment of a personal brand. It is an extension of what we are. It allows us to extend our reach into the minds and worlds of everyone and anyone. But a disturbing aspect — very much overlooked by many — is its permanency. Every time we click "share," we are leaving a permanent record of what we're thinking and doing; whether it is a photo of our dinner or a rant about a bad experience at a store. And while living in the moment is the espoused mantra of modern day mindful living, failure to think about what we share leaves that single moment for all to see for eternity.
Today's young people are the first generation who will learn that anything and everything you do, say or post can and will be used against you. In fact, it already is. There are companies who do background profiles on a job candidate's social media posts starting from the beginning. So that off-colored joke you posted five years ago may be just enough to cause a company to bypass your candidacy. That political rant from 2011 may be at odds with the policy of a prospective employer. But beyond even the company, there are potential clients and customers who also will be looking. Perhaps your view on the environment is not aligned with your potential client. Or maybe your religious views are at odds with your new customer. Either way, unless your posts and pics are safe, clean, positive or neutral, you are running the risk of leaving a legacy for the world which, had you thought about it, you may have chosen differently.
I do not use Social Media for personal purposes. Where I go and what I do — if it is not related to my profession — I don't share it. I am too busy enjoying myself in my private life to stop and document every single thing with a photo or video. Frankly, I do not see how there is enough time to go back and look at the 1,765 photos you may have taken at Disney, or the 365 dinners you have eaten in the past year. I take one or two photos which I keep to myself or my family and friends as a pure documentation of something I did or enjoyed. Who really cares what I do? No one except me.
I cannot implore everyone enough to please be careful and thoughtful about what it is you decide to release to the world to demonstrate your level of intelligence, class, education and knowledge. Remember that less is always more! So, as you go to click "share" each time, here are a few guidelines to help you keep yourself free from the harsh and real judgment of others: THINK before you share. THINK is an acronym to help you remember the rules for social media. T stands for Is it "Thoughtful?" H stands for, Is it "Helpful?" I, is it "Informative?" N asks if it is "Necessary?" And K reminds us to ask if it is "Kind?" If it is not all of those, you may seriously wish to reconsider sharing.
Make sure your grammar is good, and you know the difference between "Too vs. To", "You're vs. your" and "Whose vs. who's." Leave people with a good, lasting impression of you. It is the legacy you will leave long after you've left this world!
Originally published on January 14, 2016 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau