Social media has emerged as one of the most important tools of communication. What you communicate on social media says a lot about you. The things you share, your post, and even comments you make come together to create your digital personality. Any and all information posted or shared by you gives others a glimpse into who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and what you react to.
If you think nobody’s looking at your profile, you better think again. In addition to your friends and family, others may also be reading your profile. Sometimes privacy settings aren’t that private, some agencies have authority to override them. You can also give access to your social media profile without even realizing it. When you sign on to a site using your profile; you also give that organization full access to everything about you. If you’ve applied for a job there may be a chance the employer you’ve applied to reviewed your profile during the employment screening process. Police can also access social media profiles. Evidence from social media has been used in court to prosecute criminal and civil cases. The internet in general does provide certain anonymity but social media does not.
What ever you say says a lot about you and where you get your information you share is key. This tells people what type of media outlets you go to for news, facts, and how you get the facts that help you form opinions about what is important to you. There are some questions you need to ask yourself when you see something you’re thinking about sharing. Is this information accurate? Who is saying this and are they a credible source? You have to do some filtering. This step can clarify information for you and possibly spare you embarrassment.
“Things are not always what they seem” is an old adage that has more meaning now than ever before. These words describe about 70 percent of content on the internet. You may see some slick websites or post that look legit, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. Anybody can say anything on the internet and look believable doing it; especially if they package themselves as an objective and reputable news organization. Often you will see zealous organizations that make false and outrageous claims, but they market that information as a news story and it looks creditable. All it takes are flashy headlines, some slick pictures, and information presented in a news format. The picture in the left margin is a perfect example; a ridiculous claim but packaged in a professional format.
While browsing websites we see things we laugh at, things we’re concerned about, and things that are important. You owe it to yourself to check that website for authenticity because once you gather facts they will become your knowledge. Closely examine who is giving you these facts. Who are the sources they cite? Are they good sources? Look at other articles or claims the website makes. Is this news or propaganda? Before you share from that website, especially if you’re a first time visitor, make sure what you share is true. When you do share, you’re telling people this is what you believe.
If you notice on most social media websites any article posted or shared has a website address in the lower left hand corner. This is where the filtering starts. That website address tells who is publishing this information. Before you share what they’re saying, go to that website and check it out to make sure what their saying is correct. Is this a place you want to get your information and how true is it? Keep in mind by and posting sharing information, you are giving information to others that will also have an opinion. You can spare some yourself some criticism if the information is the truth.