Social solitude from social media

Mykaela Taketa / assistant op Ed.

May 15, 2014

You wanted to share an idea that’s amusing or relatable and you post it on social media. Before you can blink an eye, your account has over one hundred dislikes and flagged for inappropriate content that offended countless others. You have two choices: pull your post down and apologize or back it up and stand firm for your view even though it’s deemed offensive by the Internet community. Either choice, results you being influenced by social media. Not the people in your day to day life who affect you daily, but random strangers who happened to come across your post.
Since last year, the population of Twitter has grown to 241 million accounts, according to About.Twitter.com, while Facebook posted it hit its’ 1 billion account mark in October 2012. As social media continues to grow, so does its influence on our everyday lives. So it would not be a surprised that the influence of these two social media websites impact us in a considerably negative light.
The wrong tweet or Facebook post could jeopardize a business, a person, or group’s integrity and reputation. Many famous people fall victim to submitting offensive posts onto their respective profiles. Pat Sajak, the Wheel of Fortune host, ‘proclaimed’ his heterosexuality through Twitter that had more than 700 retweets and 800 favorites. It might be seen as a parody of famous actors and celebrities coming out with their homosexuality. However, such a potentially harmful tweet could threaten his career. It has been seen with the gay rights protest against the CEO of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy and his anti-gay tweet that motivated gay rights protesters. That single tweet started a campaign of boycott against the fast-food chain.
Having easy access to social media should intimidate us into being hesitant about what we post. I feel that there should be a consideration on what we share especially if you are a representative of some organization.
Unfortunately, Dan Cathy didn’t think about what he tweeted and thus suffered the consequences.
Ultimately, social media has now become an essential part of our identity and therefore should influence us to be wary of what we share on social networks. The days of us sharing ideas have now been jeopardized because of one post, one tweet or Instagram picture that can ruin our reputation and credibility. Whether you have heard the saying or not, ‘once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever’ and you can’t alter it and say you didn’t mean it.
So be conscious of what you post. Even if you don’t see it as offensive. Someone somewhere will disagree with it, flag it down, and influence you to be politically correct.