Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. All of these social networking sites have gained a significant place in society, mostly for the 30 and under crowd. I personally have a Facebook and Twitter account, although I don’t tweet as much as I use Facebook. I really don’t think people have that much interest in what I’m doing on a day to day basis, but that’s just me. I’ve been using Facebook since it first started up more than 5 years ago, and it’s become an important part of my day now. It’s a rare day that I don’t check Facebook at least half a dozen times, just to see what’s going on with everyone else. But there are some down sides to Facebook that I’m not sure many people think about when they post their entire lives on it.
Take the case of Kansas basketball player Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor is a star basketball player at a premier university, expected to be one of the best teams in the country when the season starts up in November. Taylor‘s troubles began when he posted some aggressive statements, allegedly about some of the football players, on his Facebook profile. This allegedly lead to a fight between members of the Kansas football and basketball teams, resulting in a dislocated thumb for Taylor. Shortly after the fight he posted statements that appeared to indicate he was in a fight, most specifially “I got a dislocated finger ..from throwing a punch ..so don’t let the news paper gas yall up aite.” The police are still investigating the incident, but no one would have know Taylor was in the fight between Kansas‘ sports teams had he not posted more statements on Facebook after the fight.
What Taylor is really no different than what thousands of young adults do everyday on their various social networking sites. The difference for Taylor is he is a prominent public figure who will get more attention in the wider news media than you or I. This does not mean, however, that you or I can say or do whatever you like on our social networking sites and get away with it. It only means you won’t get calls from USA Today about whatever you write.
But should you be concerned about what happens on your social networking profile? I think you should be at least aware it could present problems if you don’t take proper precautions. If you are applying for a job or school, one of the first things an employer or school will do is to google you and check the various social networking sites to see what they can find on you. The things you post live forever and can damage your prospects for future endeavors. I would also suggest you do not talk about any illegal activity you may be involved in, it’s probably not the best idea to have yourself tagged in a bunch of photos hitting a bong or talking about the guy you just punched in the face. These can all lead to consequences in real life even though you are only talking about it online.
At the end of the day, you should ask yourself if what you have on your social networking site is representative of the person you want the world to see. You are the one who has control over what you post and what you allow the world to see, just make sure you are okay with the person you are presenting for the whole world to see.
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