By Jessica Abbey
Kissy faces, selfies, flexed muscles and drunken dance moves are all the rage now for photos on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. What many people, including college students, don’t realize is that these pictures are a reflection of yourself in your past, present and future as well as any groups to which you may belong.
First of all ladies, it’s not cute. Do you think your grandmother would want to see pictures of what you looked like with 10 pounds of makeup on at that party last night with that oh-so-tight dress that could have used a few more inches of fabric at the bottom? Also, your friends’ parents who are on Facebook probably don’t want to see pictures of you in the bathroom mirror with your Victoria’s Secret Bombshell bra on. These pictures are a horrible reflection of you unless, of course, you want to be mistaken as a drunken party animal with fake breasts.
Now guys, it’s your turn. Bro, you are so swoll, bro. You guys are just as guilty, because you never leave the gym without taking a snapshot of the pump you got from lifting weights. Let’s also be honest, that it’s always an upper-body shot too, because while you are man enough to do some sets with dumbbells, you would never set a foot in the squat rack, so your calves are smaller than your arms. And, newsflash, you only look so big because you bought that tank from the kids section at Academy so it would look like you’re about to rip out of it like the Hulk.
However, I would imagine that at this stage in our lives, we will soon be applying for jobs, or we realize we are soon becoming real adults. It’s time to grow up. Future employers and many other people may have access to the pictures we post online. I believe college students in particular should be more careful about what they post on social media sites.
To begin, the photos that an individual posts represent that individual. Many students simply don’t realize how much they can be judged based off one picture. Perhaps the red Solo cup you have in the picture really does only have water in it, but the rest of the world doesn’t know that.
Also, if they don’t know you personally, they are likely to jump to conclusions. This is why it is important you think about the outfit you are wearing, the background, the people you are with and what you have with you in those pictures posted online.
Furthermore, many students don’t realize they are representing not just themselves, but any groups to which they may belong as well. You represent your sorority or fraternity, your church, your friends and Baylor as a whole. If someone meets you and you are the only person they know as a part of one of these groups, then you are that group to them.
So, even if you don’t care what social media photos represent for you personally, you should care about those who are close to you and how you are portraying them to others by your actions.
Now some of you may be thinking, “Well, I have privacy settings on my social media profiles and so no one I don’t know about will see any of my questionable photos.” However, this idea is misguided. I don’t think I know a single college student with a completely private Facebook. Not only that, but if you are searching for a job then the point of these pages is to advertise yourself. So we need to make ourselves available for networking opportunities.
Finally, even if your photos are private to the outside world, they are not private within your friend group. This means that one of your friends could repost a picture or show it to anyone of their choosing. Online there is no such thing as perfect privacy.
Image and reputation are important things, particularly for college students who will enter the workforce soon. We are marketing and selling ourselves not just at job interviews and career fairs, but constantly. Social media photos are a representation of our character, and it is important to be aware and be careful about what we are portraying about ourselves through such pictures.
Jessica Abbey is a junior journalism and Spanish double major from Cypress. She is a reporter for The Lariat.