Before Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media, people could find out about other people doing great things only if they happened to catch the attention of legacy media like newspaper, TV and radio.
Now, we get an A in a class and Jenny’s best friend’s mom’s sister knows about it in the matter of three seconds. Nothing sets us apart from anyone else anymore. Everyone is on social media and everyone is doing something great. This is a little troubling because now more than ever people are blending into each other and having a harder time being individuals who actually do great things. Someone posts a status on Facebook that he or she won the Nobel Peace Prize and it gets 60 “likes.” Someone else posts they made bacon and that gets 70 “likes.”
Social media is stupid if we use it for anything other than professional means. It is also dangerous if we use it for anything other than professional means.
Even though we may be using it as a way to show off your social life, the professional world is also using it...and watching us. We may think it’s funny to post a picture of 19-yearold Jenny funneling a beer last Friday, but her best friend’s mom’s sister won’t. And probably more worrying, neither will an employer.
When we’re young, we think nothing can hurt us. When we’re freshmen in college, most of us aren’t looking for a job or an internship or anything yet. We’re having fun. We have three years before we have to worry about that.
Well unfortunately the internet never dies. That photo goes into a so-called “cloud” and it never comes down. We may go back our senior year and delete that post, but Billy thought it was funny enough to post it on his Facebook wall three years ago, too. And, oh no, we’re not friends with Billy anymore.
Employers search our names on Google before hiring. This is not a myth, it is a fact. The Huffington Post reported last year: “Interviewing job candidates is very expensive for an employer to do (second only to the cost of hiring the wrong candidate)! Consequently, employers use Google searches to try to avoid those expensive mistakes.”
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...they’re all fun and games until Jenny doesn’t get a job.