It looks like social networking sites are here to stay and are going to remain a major part of our lives as a way for us to stay connected to friends and businesses. As great as they are and as much as they make connecting easy, we need to be mindful of what we post. Big brother is watching.
I have friends who are in my network that post everything they do at all times. I know what they had for breakfast, where they are for lunch and where they are going for drinks. It makes stalking easy. There is also a lot of personal information divulged from pictures to hobbies, interests and the music and you like, making it easy for people to connect with you.
Social media sites have become so popular that employers and potential love interests can now view these pages to see if you are worthy of their time. Much of this information is now tracked by google as well. When was the last time you googled yourself? What was the first thing that came up? Did it paint you in a good light? If not, what can you do about it?
When it comes to cleaning up your name in a Google search, you have a lot of work to do. You can reach out to the media outlets that have any articles attached to your name and ask them to remove it, or you can hire someone to create other pages that will bury the existing pieces. It’s a lot of work, but there are companies that can help you out with that. You can also start a web site with your name as the domain name (yourname.com) and load it with text and links to your other pages. You can do this for very cheap and easy through www.godaddy.com and www.tumblr.com. This way, you can be represented on the net in a proper way.
Let’s talk about what your profile page means to the people who view it. Today, someone who gets your name at a bar will search you on Facebook, view your pics and wonder what it would be like to date you. Your page should be set up to show you in the best light possible. If all of your pictures involve you being hammered with your boys and shirtless pics of you and your 4 pack, it’s really only showing a couple shallow facets of your life. The goal is to show a well-rounded life with pictures of you enjoying it. I know plenty of girls who stopped pursuing guys because of lame pictures and interests that showed no humanity in their profiles.
The relationship status is another tricky mess that I have encountered. Why, other than being married, would you want your status to be shown? Lurkers, haters and drama addicts have a way to mess with you in an intimate area of your life. Women already get their fair share of friend requests from strange guys on a daily basis. No reason to bring her anymore unwanted attention. I prefer not to post my relationship status this way. I have seen changed relationship statuses resulting in chain reactions in social circles causing many to start talking. I certainly would not want a girlfriend getting harassed the minute we end the relationship.
I also think that posting a new status without notice is certainly unfair to your partner. They might not be on the same wavelength as you are or may want to keep it on the down-low because of other’s feelings.
Social media is not a substitute for being social. It is an aid to go along with your social life. It can become addictive though, so try to limit yourself to a maximum of an hour or so a day. Social media is NOT being social. Just because you liked 5 posts today does not mean you have interacted with anyone. Get off your computer and go out to one of the many events that you have been invited to. That will solidify you within a group. You can meet other people as well and broaden your network.