For as long as I can remember the internet has always had a social aspect to it. From sites like Mulberry, Stardoll and Bebo, to the more prominent ones today like Twitter and Facebook. And like the impressionable youngster that I was, I created the accounts for the majority of them. Even though most of the time I wasn’t allowed to be on these sites, I made accounts anyway. I wanted to be like everyone else around me and back then, having these accounts made me “fit in”.
However years later, I am failing to understand how social media is still held to such high esteem when viewing others and determining how they are accepted into society. Follower counts, how many likes they receive in pictures, retweets and the list goes on with criteria used to prejudge a person. We should be able to go about in life, with or without social media and still be seen the same. Not as weird if we don’t use social media but as a normal person with our own preferences.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with social media. You just have to ensure you don’t allow it to engulf you in its destructiveness. One thing to always remember is whilst online we have an automatic responsibility to act right and kind to not only our cyber neighbour but to ourselves. Many young people find themselves in sticky situations over a careless post or comment, causing ripples of consequences such as being outcasted by friends and sometimes family, which can lead to exclusion, loneliness, anxiety and the list goes on. And this can all be avoided if we just took time to think before doing something reckless. There is no need to act out of character on social media, especially if that is not how you are on a daily basis. Authenticity is all that you need. Moreover it is a lot easier to be yourself then to attempt to be a replica of somebody else.
If you need to make a change in the way you act or portray yourself online (or if you know someone who does) rectify your ways whilst you still can. The truth is time waits for no one and the frivolous posts you were making today could cost you the vital opportunity you need tomorrow. And whilst the things you say online may only affect you momentarily, always remember they can be found for a very long time after that.
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