One of the most significant dilemmas of the modern age is the tension between social media and privacy. This tension is felt and discussed in every major field. Examples are readily available in Politics, Sports, Government, Entertainment, Law, Business, Psychology and the list goes on. Like most solutions to general problems, it is safest to trend towards the middle ground. The concept of moderation is not new, but is sometimes a rarely applied filter to social media. I think the reason for this is perspective taking. We decide what to post in order to maintain, promote or connect our social media persona with our social circle. However, when a new filter is applied (ie. job hunt, roommate search, professionals researching professionals/clients, etc.), those professionals/potential roommates (both temporary and romantically)/future in-laws, etc. are not living in the same perspective and make different judgments on what they view.
This brings up an interesting point about judgments as well. As a culture, we are taught that judging others is wrong and even dangerous. But challenge yourself and your thought process… what kind of judgments are you making when on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr? These automatic judgments are the rationale behind the cautions. We have done a semi decent job as a society acknowledging that having an automatic racist thought is wrong (we haven’t quite perfected this one), we probably do worse when we encounter overly differing political views, and we are downright terrible at judging someone who is a hollering at their kiddo at the grocery store.
Combining these points – because people will automatically make judgments & the judgments vary based on who is looking at your postings/tagged pictures/information, be purposeful about your social media use. Go through your Facebook/Tumblr/Instagram every once and awhile. You’ll be surprised at how some things that seemed on the fence when you posted it a year ago seems over the line now.
This is not to say that you should portray yourself as an unblemished person either. Personally, in grad school, when looking for a roommate, I rejected someone for being way too into death metal, but welcomed someone with quite differing political viewpoints. When looking for jobs I have Googled every single potential employer and I imagine they have done the same to me. I eventually decided that I could easily have personal social media life (high privacy settings) and a professional social media life (no privacy settings). That was the filter that I applied to my social media life. What did you choose?
-Logan Williamson, LPC