It would be crazy to tell the world to stop displaying their lives on social media. Today, everyone loves to share what they are doing. It is important, though, that we all think about exactly what we share. You never truly know who can see what you’re posting and no one wants that coming back around to affect them negatively. We should make sure our online image complements who we are in person.

Not everything done on social media is limited to just your followers. What you do online could be shared with a stranger that you have mutual friends with. It is unsettling to know that what you thought was private is not as private as you think. Yes, it is possible to turn off some location settings, or make yourself “private” on your account. However, this does not eliminate the possibility of other people seeing what you are doing. The easiest scenario that I can think of is this: anyone you are connected with on social media can screenshot or share information of what you are doing to someone who does not follow you. So when you think that you are safe in the world of just your followers, think twice. Our posts, likes and retweets all contribute to showing the world around us what we are doing. Some people don’t even realize that when they are casually tweeting that they are actually sharing their location. The location you tagged yourself in your Instagram picture just shared your photo to Instagram’s page of that location. Only share things online that you would be comfortable sharing with any stranger.

The image that you create for yourself online is just as important as in person. A common reason why this is true is because bosses look up employees to see their online reputations. In a story found on the Oxygen’s website, a teacher named Ashley Payne posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding a beer and a glass of wine. Even though her settings were private, friends of friends were able to get their hands on it and show the picture to the school board. This resulted in Payne having to resign from her job. Additionally, according to USA Sports, a student athlete named April Gehl was suspended five games for a profound tweet about her opinion of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. Even tweets about people’s opinions can have their consequences. We are all free to post what we want on social media, but it does not exclude us from the consequences of the real world when we abuse it.

We live in a world that thrives on social media. It is rare that you find yourself somewhere where no one is engaging with some sort of technology. However, I do not think that we are fully aware of the information that is out there about ourselves and how easily it can be accessed by anyone. I know that we are not all celebrities like Kim Kardashian whose every move is published on social media for the world to see, but there needs to be careful consideration of what we share regardless.

People usually aren’t thinking about their privacy when scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or one of the many other social media sites. The device that is in your hand is recording what you are doing and the rest of the world is able to see. I don’t believe that there is a solution to preventing what people put online because that choice is up to the individual. Many people are unaware about the possible consequences that can result from what we put online. People might not consider what they post until they suffer the direct consequences of their actions. I think technology is a great way to get information, but knowing how easy it is to access personal information is eerie. You never know who knows who out in the real world, so make sure that your online image matches the reputation that you want to be known for.

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