The Self-Sabotaging Factor of Social Media

Beyonce courtesy Beyonce InstagramAs I catch up with my teenage sister over lunch, our sushi arrives to the table.  Yearning for a piece of sashimi, I reach for my chopsticks.  Suddenly, my sister puts her hands up and yells, “Stop!” 

Was there something wrong with her order?  Did she want to say grace before we ate?  Why was I not allowed to eat my food?

She moved the plates and drinks accordingly.  Then took out her phone and began to snap pictures of the food, the drinks, and herself.

Food selfieWith my mouth slightly open, I sat there in shock watching this moment.

When did we feel the urge to capture every waking minute of our life and project it to the world?

The urge might be stronger with those in “Generation Me,” but the pre-selfie era has also been known to post a photo or two.  There were over 51 million photos on Instagram alone with the hashtag #me.  Many have associated a narcissistic personality growing with our social media culture.

Today, you can learn all about someone if they don’t keep their page on the correct privacy settings.  Whether the reason is for instant gratification, self-validation, or just plain fun, when do these harmless posts begin to interfere with real-life?

Because, let’s be real.  TMI is a real acronym for a reason.  Some of us simply have those moments when we share way too much.

I can understand taking pictures of a great night.  Of course, we want to show the world how great our life is, and at the same time, record some memories for ourselves as well.  It’s also enjoyable to see the comments (don’t act like you don’t hit that refresh button).

Rihanna courtesy Rolling OutHowever, there are times when those constant snapshots just interfere with the actual experience of enjoying a night out.  And as we let the world know our every move, do we really know with whom we are sharing all of this information?

I grew up in the pre-selfie era.  As a private person, I even managed to stay behind the scenes in the music industry.  Some may call me reserved, but I have a firm belief that those who know about my life are the ones who bother to be a part of it.

However, I am learning that social media is also a matter of keeping up with the times.

Unfortunately, there are businesses that will now ask for your username and password before even conducting a job interview.  Would we be comfortable with letting a prospective employer know who we really are, and not just what we’ve accomplished?

Case in point: The first time I spoke to my editor at a popular magazine, one of his questions included, “What’s your Twitter name?”  Within seconds, he was following me before I was even hired.  It was one of the first times I couldn’t just hide behind my credentials.

I will say that I was quite content (and relieved!) that I never posted anything too inappropriate.  Still, what happens when the constant posting and social media status starts to sabotage the life we hope to live?

The Internet is forever, yet where we are in our lives is just temporary.  As humans, we evolve.  We grow.  As a fierce introvert, I couldn’t imagine my life if the things I did as a nineteen-year old was one Google search away.  I couldn’t envision my employer knowing about the crazy adventures that simply come with being young.

There are advantages to being connected on social media, but I hope there will be some filter to our online persona to prevent the TMI moment.  Facebook has begun this revolution with a system that asks, “Are you sure you want your boss and your mother to see this?” 

As the popular, yet fitting, quote states, “I’m so glad I was young and stupid before there were camera phones.”

Zoey Flowers

Zoey Flowers is a shamelessly eclectic, music-loving, zen-meditating freelance journalist.  She has written for major magazines and online publications about Hip-Hop, Holistic Lifestyles, and the Music Industry.  For more features, check Zoey’s portfolio at http://www.zoeflow.com.

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