Your Social Media Footprint


We see teenagers walking around the halls and streets with their nose pointing down and their eyes glued straight to their phone screen. 

They’re probably just going through the same cycle of social media platforms every five minutes. Despite the texting masters or selfie gods they present themselves to be, the majority don’t know or realize the social media footprint they leave behind and how serious the consequences can be. 

Social media came around in the early 2000s. The first active social media site we might remember is MySpace, which evolved in 2004. This sparked the social media trend, and its popularity only went up. 

As social media is becoming more and more popular and becoming such a normalized part of society, the younger generation is starting to grow complacent and forget the consequences and responsibilities that come with it.

First and foremost, nothing on social media is private. Just because Snapchat only lets you see a snap for 10 seconds or your story can only be viewed for 24 hours doesn’t mean it’s not there forever. Your snap is actually saved on the Snapchat server for 31 days and is still monitored for safety reasons and concerns. But other than Snapchat, whatever and wherever you post, it stays there forever and could be easily found and spread like wildfire. One of your friends could easily screenshot it and spread it on their social media. Then one of their friends could do the same and so the cycle continues.  

Second, not all jokes are funny. Just because you found it funny doesn’t mean someone else would. Words matter, and your jokes could offend others. Your account could be suspended, it could prevent you from getting your dream job and a lot more. It’s pretty easy to prevent this from happening. If even the smallest part of you doubts and asks, “would this offend someone?,” then it’s best to not post it at all. 

Third, colleges and jobs all look at your social media. When you apply, colleges and jobs search for you online and start looking at the types of things you post. If your account is not private, that makes it even easier for them to find and to look at what you post. So if you post an embarrassing picture of you acting like a clown and your dream college stumbles upon that, they might not want a student with that type of reputation on their campus and could deny your admission. 

This is something that frequently gets athletes into trouble. Potential athletes looking to be signed have had their contracts revoked for things they’ve said and posted online. Moral of the story: it’s not worth it.

Finally, your reputation is an important asset in your life. Whatever you post, good or bad, will follow you to the end of time. So would you rather be known as the crazy maniac who pulled mean pranks in public, or the person who volunteers at the animal shelter every weekend? Well that’s for you to decide. 

Just remember that whatever you share on social media about yourself, anyone could see it and think whatever they want about you. Whether it’s fair or not, you set the tone for how you want to be perceived.

Before you post, think about this next time: what will others think of me? Will this reflect a positive or a negative view about me? What does this post actually mean and say? Do I want my grandma to see this? 

Social media isn’t a bad thing. On the contrary, it keeps the world connected and keeps circulating the most current news. However, if you abuse it and use it for the wrong reasons, then the outcome will be much different. Think twice before you post.