Digitized Koffee With Nick
Always Keep in Mind on Social Media Nothing Disappears
By Nick Kossovan
Her friend posted a photo with her eyes closed and a beer in her hands; She must be a drunk. He shared a funny meme making fun of Justine Trudeau’s hair; He must be a Conservative. She retweeted a quote about women having to stand up for their rights; She must be a crazy feminist. He shared an article about the war in Syria; He must be involved in world politics.
A few columns back, I stated, today your digital footprint will make or break you. We often forget the Internet is forever.
When it comes to your digital footprint, there are 3 types of social media content:
1. Content you post, therefore, you have some control over (can be edited, deleted).
2. Content others post about you or tag you in; consequently, you have no control over.
3. Your content being shared, which you have no control over.
So, we can move through the world without spending too much time or energy, understanding everything we see; our brains are wired to make automatic judgments, thus why we have an inherent need to judge. It’s easier to judge than to try and understand.
Today this human default gets to roam around social media sites, on autopilot, judging Facebook posts, Tweets, pictures on Instagram, videos on YouTube. Social media is literally a buffet for our need to judge other people.
The good news: You can choose what appears on your social media accounts.
The bad news: Everyone has a smartphone. When outside of your home, you’re surrounded by multiple big brothers. Throw a tirade in a restaurant over your salmon being undercooked. You can be sure it’ll be videoed and uploaded onto Facebook, Twitter, etc. before the manager arrives at your table to resolve your issue.
Additional bad news: You’ll not always be judged fairly, which often waterfalls into condemning and public shaming. Call it “trial by social media.”
Whether or not you are active on social media, erasing yourself from the Internet is nearly impossible, thus like it or not, you will be judged. The irony being if you don’t have social media accounts (you’ll still appear on websites and databases), the judgement will be, what are you hiding?
Social media platforms have given shaming new reach and power. Many people have told me this is why they shy away from participating in social media or don’t engage as authentically as they’d like.
Remember back in February 2019 when a video of a chair being thrown off a balcony towards the Gardiner Expressway went viral? The chair thrower, Marcella Zoia, was immediately convicted by those who viewed the video and dubbed her “chair girl.” The hashtag #chairgirl was spawn.
Zoia is not the first case of social media-fuelled mob mentality. In October 2016, a man was videoed throwing a beer can onto Rogers Centre field during a Blue Jays playoff game. The video prompted the online equivalent of a citywide manhunt. Two days later, he turned himself in and later pleaded guilty to one count of mischief.
In April 2017, a 23-year-old woman was charged with six counts of mischief after she stranded herself on a crane requiring emergency crews to rescue her. Social media immediately dubbed her “crane girl.”
If you post judgment-worthy content, you’re doing so for a reason. You’re conveying something about yourself – whether you mean to or not. I often tell people social media’s addiction is it scratches that part of our ego that’s always itching, that part that says, look at me!
Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. You select everything that appears on your profile; therefore, you choose what you want the world to judge you by. The next time you post content take a moment and ask yourself:
1. Why am I posting this?
2. What do I hope to gain from posting this?
What others post about you, well, that’s where your behaviour in public needs to be in constant check and take a deep breath before replying to a post. Many egos have gotten into flame wars, which can have long-lasting reputation damage. There’s not much more that can be said, other than always keep in mind on social media, nothing disappears.
~ Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). Submit your social media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.