… Or Maybe Not at All
Last summer the son of a friend of mine came found a nifty little doodad on the sidewalk while he was walking home from the neighborhood swimming pool with his brothers and sister. Excited by his find, he came in the house and told his mom.
It was a silver spoon with a bent handle so it was easy to hook on his finger. “See!” He said, spinning it around his index finger a couple of times for show.
Then he flipped it over, “and look at this neat little burn spot on the bottom.” He showed his mom where the spoon was discolored, “It’s like someone used it to cook something.”
My friend was more than a little freaked out, but it immediately got worse when her son began mentioning his Instagram feed.
“Did you post any pictures?!”
Her son looked at her like she’d lost her marbles. “Not yet, why?”
“Then don’t!!! This is drug paraphernalia! And now it’s got your fingerprints on it!” She looked at her hand, “And it’s got my fingerprints on it now, too!!”
This kid, the kind whose picture shows up in the dictionary beside the entry for “good kid” was horrified and embarrassed because had no idea what he’d found or what it was used for.
Instead of posting a picture on social media, they carefully wiped off his fingerprints and disposed of the spoon safely. Then, once the excitement was over, they talked about drugs (again), and then about how quickly social media can take a turn for the worse.
Regardless of your age, social media can be fun and keep you connected with people, but it’s also one of the quickest ways you can totally ruin your future (at worst) or make the next few days a nightmare (at best).
- Because all the colleges you’re planning to apply to — the ones that really do look at social media profiles — will surely believe it was “just a spoon” you picked up off the sidewalk and you’re really not a drug addict or dealer.
- Because your prospective employer might not want to hire someone who has a Facebook feed filled with pictures themselves engaged in obvious underage drinking.
- Because your inadvertently viral video that seemed really hip and trendy when you were 19 and on spring break seems a lot less fun when a few years down the road your child’s kindergarten teacher recognizes you…all of you.
Spiderman quickly came to understand that with great power comes great responsibility, and that’s particularly true on social media. Do your level best use some online street smarts and avoid as many self-inflicted wounds as possible.
When she was cutting fabric for her quilts, Grandma always stressed the importance of focusing, keeping your mind on what you were doing. Measure twice and cutting once.
Her advice works well for lots of things, but especially social media posts. Think about what you’re doing and measure your words & photos twice, then post once…or maybe don’t post at all.