There are things that people do without consideration of the consequences it would have on their future careers or relationships. I once requested a girlfriend of mine to pull down a Facebook post she had directed at her boss. I’m sure we all know people who have had ruthless bosses but in this case my friend took it upon herself to ‘punish’ her boss. In her online rant she explained how nasty he was and said that if she had the ability, she would kill him. I called her as soon as I saw the post because I imagined the harm that post would bring upon her if it landed in the wrong hands, such as the named boss, or the police. I’m glad she listened.
I keep telling young people to be very careful about how they handle their online presence because the words we use and the images we post on social media could one day come to haunt us.Take for instance the case of a fresh female graduate who in a heated online exchange found herself using curse words immediately after stating that she had recently graduated with a degree in ethics and human rights. Unfortunately, she did not seem bothered when some people pointed out the irony between her academic training and her online persona. Unfortunately for her, these days many potential employers go through candidates’ social media pages before they hire them, so therein lies an immediate red flag for anyone trying to hire her on account of her ‘ethics’ training.
In another case, a young lady notified the world of her acceptance to NASA for an internship by telling them to shut the f*** up! In response to the post, one person simply commented with one word, ‘language’. The girl was not having any of it and she told the person to go suck his nether regions, among other profanities. Her insults were echoed and reinforced by her army of followers whom I believe are of the same ‘feather’. The persistent NASA hashtag attracted the attention of the foundation who withdrew the internship offer. The use of profanity had cost the young girl a lifetime opportunity.
For many of us it might seem like an innocent post or photo, but there’s no harm in paying attention to our online footprint since we never know who is watching. As a media person, my work involves using various social media platforms. What I have learnt over the years is to be very calculative with the words I put out. I may not be as nice in a face-to-face conversation but I am very careful with what I put online, including photos. Of course, if you’re a ‘slay queen’, or one of those people who make money by posting outrageous images or comments on social media, then probably my social media caution is not for you. To the rest of us who have careers to build and images to protect it might just help to think twice before we put stuff online.
Follow Jackie on Twitter @JackieLumbasi