Social Suicide


Jackson Ayres/LHS Peak Press

Social Media (SM) icons float in an image with a white background.

Social media has changed the world significantly . It can severely impact a teenager’s job(s), education, and even their mental health. With online presence comes great responsibility, now that the presence can affect a person’s future. This begs the question: How does an online presence affect someone’s life?

According to CNN’s Heather Kelly, certain digital situations can lead to jail, as seen in cases such as Melvin Colon’s, where he posted photos on Facebook suggesting a gang relation. LexisNexis says that at least 4/5 officials use social media to aid them in investigations.  Ruled by a federal judge, once something is posted on social media, even under a “private” account, it’s free for anyone with access to that content to distribute/ share with anyone they wish.

When someone wants a job, it’s the norm to send in a résumé and then have an interview. Huffington Post reports that some companies have created programs designed specifically to hunt down “deleted” information, and can use that information to deny someone employment. Undetweetable was a website where anyone could enter a Twitter username and it would pull up that person’s “deleted” posts; it was soon shut down after uproar. Politwoops does the same thing as Undetweetable did, except it tracks public officials— and it’s still functioning. Yet what about those that have changed? Adults have used social media in a world where it was still in development, not thinking of possible repercussions. On Device Research, an organization, surveyed 6,000 16-34 year-olds and more than 10% of them had been denied a job because of content that they posted or commented on. Furthermore, search engines use methods known as cookies, little bits of information stored on a user’s computer that hold things such as logins, previous visit history, and more. Search engines often share content, making it even more impossible to truly delete something.

According to a 2016 report from CareerBuilder, 60% of employers use social media to research potential employees. Interestingly, they found those with social media skills are far more employable. In a 2013 survey conducted by Pearson Learning, over half of educators that were interviewed agree that social media can help foster the communication abilities and interaction skills needed in the workplace.

As the world continues to evolve into a more media-oriented culture, the affects of said media greatly affects a person’s social future. Anything posted/shared can be retrieved by many, and it’s extremely dangerous to post something that is seen as “culturally/ politically incorrect,” as it can cost a future. Just remember, sharing content can cause a media-maniac company to withdraw that opportunity.