2011 Jesse Knish Photography

In a world run by technology, it’s no surprise that many of us spend countless hours on our phones, laptops, tablets, and many other devices that capture our attention. These devices have the Internet, an open world of endless websites that interest, educate, and connect us. Some of the most popular websites, especially for us twenty-somethings, are social networking sites. Millions of users have accounts on sites such as Facebook or Twitter in which we share some of our most important ideas, opinions, and of course the occasional update of what you had for lunch. These sites keep us in touch with our family, friends, and the rest of the world full of people we’ve never even met.

While the concept of sharing your life with people may be a good one, it seems many people are losing touch of what may or may not be a good idea to post on the Internet. Sitting behind a screen can give you the courage to say things you may not normally say, but this can backfire. Here are some reasons why you might want to watch what you post online:

It could cost you a job.
These days with everyone online, many businesses know that most potential employees have a Facebook. Because of this, some interview processes include the person opening their Facebook page so the employer can see the true colors of the person who they may be hiring. Also, it isn’t uncommon for your current employer to search for your Facebook even if you already work there. The point of doing this is to make sure what you’re posting represents the company you work for in the way they want to be represented. Of course not everywhere you work or apply for will do this, but the ones who do are serious about their image. Seeing an employee with inappropriate pictures or a vulgar vocabulary can cause alarm and end in your application being thrown away or termination of your employment.

It could cost you an education.
Your school career is just as important as the job it’s preparing you for. College is where you get the knowledge and your degree to obtain a job and excel in it. But just like employers, now colleges and scholarship providers could be checking you out online as well. Just like a business, colleges want to make sure the students they are accepting are going to be ones who care about their education and represent the school in the best way possible. Scholarship providers also want their recipients to be ones who are grateful for an education and work hard to achieve it – they are investing in you after all. Because of this, if your profile contains nothing but foul language and pictures of the parties you go to every weekend,  your application could be quickly declined for the profile that seems more professional. This doesn’t mean you should never go to a party and never have fun, it just means that as you get older, it isn’t as important to let the world know every detail.

It could cost you your safety.
Aside from our friends and family, many may be “friends” with people online who they don’t know or have never met in real life. Some may have their profiles made public and not even realize it. While you may enjoy the large number of “friends” you have online, making your profile able to be seen by everyone can be dangerous. Status updates now have the option to add pictures, tag who your with, and check in to where you are. These options make your status seem more personal, but some fail to remember that when you check in somewhere, it includes your exact location and even a map of how to get there. If you tag you and a girlfriend somewhere, you could be putting yourself at risk of being followed or harmed. Yes, it sounds like a bad movie, being followed by an online creep, but it can happen. Though it may not be the most common occurrence, it is your responsibility to keep yourself and your friend safe. If you do decide to check in somewhere or announce to the world where you’re going to be and for how long, you might want to think about making your profile private or removing those random “friends” you’ve acquired over the years. Better to be safe than sorry.

As twenty-somethings, our jobs, education, and safety are some of the most important things in our lives and should be treated as such. While it may be tempting to want to post anything and everything you do or think, before you hit “post,” just sit for a second and think how that post could affect you. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.

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