The outlets and usage of social media continuously change just like our ways of communication have been since language emerged. Over the past few years, our usage of social media has been recorded in correlation with the increasing importance of social media to the business world. In looking through the data accumulated about me over Facebook and Google, it’s strange to see such insignificant details of my life forgotten years ago suddenly resurfacing. It was quite an interesting view into my past in seeing who I used to be friends with, what was important to me, and how much my life has changed in just a few short years.
Facebook especially led me on a walk down memory lane. My posts and likes from my pre-teen years are very comical to me now, but I was glad that I was the only one reading them. It concerns me how much has been saved over the years and how much information someone could possibly find about me if they set their mind to it. The ad data about my interests on Facebook was a little puzzling. Things I had searched for minimally came up as a main interest. For example, I like the musician Beyoncé a decent amount, but an ad topic came up about her nine times, which seems a little excessive compared to other things I usually search for. Their odd statistics about me were perhaps due to the fact that I have only ever clicked on an ad on Facebook twice according to their data, both of which I believe happened accidentally, as well. However, Google’s information seemed generally accurate because it chose broader themes and genres of interests compared to specific topics.
What scares me most now about the data collected from social media is the permanence of our digital footprints. Now more than ever, employers and other influential people look to these sites to get to know a person before hiring them. It can take one angry or insensitive status to give a negative impression about someone, which in many ways is not fair. Social media should be a chance to communicate with a global village without constant fear of ruining your future (Lule 2012). As my generation enters adulthood, we must analyze everything we post to make sure it will reflects us in a positive light. I realize that now I post for future employers sometimes instead of the person I am. Maybe the solution lies in finding a balance, but with social media as sometimes the main reflection of personality to the world, none of us have anywhere to be truly ourselves. It’s a little disheartening, but that may involve editing your profile and deleting a few of those Spring Break pictures. As I spoke about before, social media continues to change and reshape itself. While it may be discouraging, it’s necessary to accept these changes if you are going to participate on social media and navigate the job market successfully.