Social media used to be so fun. We could all stay connected with friends and family, for long periods of time and around the world. It felt like social media was expanding our friend circles. For example, I have reconnected with friends that date back to kindergarten. Before the internet, this would have been much more difficult.
Fast forward to today. If you’re like me, you may feel at a bit of a loss about the purpose of social media anymore. Sharing a photo of the wonderful food you ate last night feels insignificant. We’ve also learned that posting beautiful family photos or vacation pictures may come across as bragging. Many folks feel negative after seeing their friends doing so well – even if their online personas are a bit of a show.
If what we were posting is so insignificant, perhaps we should be posting about something important? There’s so much to pick from in today’s news. Is that what we should be posting about? Should we use our online voices to be heard?
I’m honestly not sure. If you’re like me, you can probably see the argument for both sides. On one hand, it’s important to speak up for what’s right. It’s important to share your views and try to make a difference. On the other, I wonder how much social media is helping our cause, and how much it’s alienating us from others.
Someone recently said to me, “Wow, I had no idea how many of my friends I don’t like. When they start posting their political views on Facebook and I don’t agree with them, I know we can no longer be friends.”
In a certain regard, this is sad. The more we divide ourselves by our beliefs, the less we are willing to talk through important ideas together. As children, we made friends based on who share the same hobbies, not who voted for the same person.
This recent string of bad news has left many people struggling to define the role of social media. When social media first started, it was a relatively positive experience filled with cats and babies and vacation photos. Now, it’s all a bit different.
At the end of the day, we each have to decide how we want to use our social media. Whether it’s sharing family photos or discussing politics, the decision about what to share is a personal choice.
With that said, one thing is for sure. If you’re looking for a new job, your future boss is likely looking at your social media. We may assume they are just looking at our resume, but it is rarely the case. They will Google your name, and will go straight for your social media profiles.
Managers are people too. They have unfair biases that come into play. When you decide what to share and how to use your voice, just remember – the world is watching.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.