By Dani Naess Hellesund
The easy access to mobile Internet connections has literally put our online life in our pocket. More and more people use social media on a daily basis. Though it’s a common part of our lives, is social media a good thing, or a dangerous thing?
There are many benefits of social media. There is a constant flow of information. Social media has transformed us into people who are quickly informed on everything. We know about news from all corners of the world in a matter of minutes. Social media is making the world smaller, and creating what communication theorists refer to as a ‘global village.’ That is wonderful.
Social aspects are also beneficial. Social media is the best way to keep track of and keep in touch with family, friends and acquaintances. The effectiveness of having everyone you know gathered at the same place makes it easy to know what’s going on without too much inquiry.
There is also professional potential, which is closely related to the social aspect. The key word here is connection. Many people who use social media, including possible employers, are just a scroll away. A good way to use social media is to follow these people of interest while putting out meaningful and relevant posts on your own sites. You could include interesting things you’ve read or a viewpoint you have, rather than posting what you had for dinner last night. Keep it interesting and relevant.
If your posts are interesting and relevant to what you want to do, and you follow people who have the same interests as you, then potential employers might look at you while they’re hiring.
Despite these benefits, there are also negative sides of social media. When using social media, make sure that you think about what you write before posting it. The first danger of social media is that it can really hurt you. What you post on the Internet is rarely private. Almost anyone can see what you post. The thing that you are laughing about today can be the thing that keeps you from a job in the future.
Lack of privacy can be a downside to social media sites. Everyone is entitled to privacy, but you as an individual also have an obligation to yourself to make sure that your privacy is protected. When you sign up for a service on the Internet, do you really know what that company does with your private information? Not many people know because reading the Terms and Agreement section is cumbersome to read. When you press, “I agree,” you are signing a binding contract. It is something to think about.
Have you ever noticed that the advertisements on the sides of your Facebook page are related to your life in the weirdest ways? It’s like Facebook, or whatever the service you are using, knows you. This is actually true. Social media tracks your movements so that they can match ads to you. Convenient or creepy?
The amount of personal information that we have shared on social media is endless. Social media is a great thing, and it’s only going to grow and become an even bigger part of our lives. However, as college students, be aware of the lasting effects, and make conscious decisions about what you share, all the while continuing to enjoy the benefits of these sites.