What's Your Social Media Footprint and Why Does It Matter?

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2019 by Dave RelfeNo comments

Social media is an excellent tool. It's a source of fun, news, and social connection. There's a reason that billions of people have social media accounts.

social media footprint

There is such thing as a social media footprint, though, and it should be considered as you engage with your various social media accounts. We're going to talk about the social media footprint and why it matters in this article, giving you a better idea of what is going on when you get online.

Keep reading to learn more.

 

The Social Media Footprint: Why Does it Matter?

Social media offers a different form of communication than those used by people throughout history. Never before have people been able to communicate with people with such ease.

Additionally, media is spread throughout the web, getting millions upon millions of views in the span of days. We base our sense of selves, in part, on our social media presence and the feedback we receive from social sites.

Many people use social sites effectively and responsibly, while others use them excessively and as a coping mechanism. We can use this connectivity to do a lot of good, and we can also use it to spread messages of hate and violence.

One thing that people forget, though, is that posting on social media isn't the same as having an interpersonal conversation. Normal conversations happen, then they are gone.

All engagement on social media is recorded and archived. Everything you read, view, say, buy, and search leaves a trail that can be revisited by others.

 

What's the Worst that Could Happen?

A trend that people are beginning to understand is that cultural shifts lead to new understandings of the world. Those shifts don't always bode well with old social media content that a person has shared or posted.

One modern example is the case of Carson King, an Iowa man who was reprimanded for a tweet roughly 7 years after he posted it.

Carson held up a sign during a college football broadcast that had his Venmo information. He stated that his beer fund was getting low and could use some funding. He ended up getting more than 1 million dollars, deciding to put the money into a children's hospital.

A reporter unearthed one of his tweets from 2012 that had mention of a quote from the popular showTosh.0. As a 16-year-old, Carson wasn't aware that the content was insensitive and would be stamped on his social media footprint forever. That tweet caused Carson to face backlash and even lose Busch as a donation partner.

The point is that most of us have forgotten about all of the posts we made 7 years ago, and who knows what sort of thoughtless things were posted?

 

The "Digital" Footprint

The scary thing about your social media footprint is that it can seep out into your personal life. In fact, most areas of your life can be impacted by the details of your social media footprint.

Your footprint also contains the network of associations to different people, groups, and ideas that you have created for yourself. Every time you've liked, commented on, or shared something on a friend or group's page, it has been recorded and used.

Your social media footprint exists under the umbrella of your digital footprint, which constitutes the sum total of all of your behaviour online. Granted, your normal web activity isn't as well-recorded as your social media behaviour, but there's still a lot of data that builds up.

If you're someone who values their privacy, there are some things you can do to set yourself free a little bit.

 

How to Manage Your Digital Footprint

The first thing to do when trying to manage your footprint online is to take time to read user agreements. Most people don't actually ever read social media user agreements or any user agreements that they participate in.

Almost every time you create an account on a website (also, every time you have ever created an account online), you agree to a laundry list of specifications concerning your data, your conduct, and more.

These are websites that you're handing access to your most personal information, conversations, some financial information and more. At the very least, you should be aware of what data these websites are gathering on you and why.

 

Go Through Your Social Media History

While there is a permanent imprint of everything you do online, not all of that information is public. The data on your social media sites, however, will sit there for the public to see as long as you leave it.

We've all had an indulgent post where we disclosed too much information or said something that we wish we hadn't. It may be wise to go back into your archives and see if there's anything on your various pages that you said then and wouldn't say now.

This is for potential employers, friends, and family. The majority of employers check through prospective employees' social media pages to get a feel for the person's character. Remember, they can see everything you have ever posted and make judgements about your current character.

Some of the most common reasons a person was denied a job as a result of social media posting were inappropriate photos, drinking, drug use, racist or sexist comments, talking poorly about former coworkers, talking poorly about former bosses, and even poor grammar.

It isn't out of the question to think that an employer could just glimpse at the first few pages of your account and make a snap judgement about your character that will determine their professional decision.

 

Interested in Learning More?

It's important to learn as much as you can about how things work online, considering the world is progressively shifting into a digital space.

Whether you're looking to understand your social media footprint, get an understanding of how to market your business online, or even get a job, explore our site for the information you need.

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