We live in an age where our opinions can be shared with the rest of the world within seconds. Personally, I think this is a great development in the history of humanity – it’s provided the opportunity for attention to be brought to issues that would otherwise be sweeped under the rug. Look at the news today – the massive influx of refugees in Europe is finally being addressed after years of looking the other way, and it can be primarily credited to an image of a drowned toddler, Aylan Kurdi, that went viral on social media. It’s unfortunate that that is what it took for the international media to pay attention (another discussion for another time), but it happened because of our easy access to information, ideas, outcry, opinions, consciousness from the rest of the world through social media. Hashtags have changed our world forever!
But let’s take a step back and think about how social media affects you, a teenager, in your day-to-day life. If you’re like most, social media is probably just a way to find out what your favorite celebrities are eating for lunch, what your friends think about that new teacher, what the world thinks about the newest trending topic – essentially to learn about the mundane. So then the average teenager (A.T.) starts to contribute their own mundane, sloppy, ill-foreseen thoughts that can close doors in the future.
And you may be thinking, “Maheen – what are you talking about? What I tweet doesn’t matter!” to which I agree to some extent. Because your tweets may not matter the moment you post them, but they could matter a year, five years, ten years from now when you’re trying to look for open doors. Imagine if I tweeted, “ugh!!! my boss is such a dumba** i hate working smh #tgif” from a part-time job I hold now in high school. Now imagine if that aforementioned tweet was found five years down the road when I was applying for a full-time job – most employers do social media checks, and they’ll likely come across this tweet. Why would I be hired? All that tweet tells an employer is that I’ll diminish the workplace’s image online, and that I’m lazy and disloyal no matter what my resume or interview conveys.
Because of the way so many social media users use social media (say that 5 times fast), it’s easy to assume that what you tweet/post reflects your truest opinions and thoughts. My advice? Hack it. Use this knowledge, that strangers can and will base their impression of you based on what you tweet, to make sure that those impressions will always be good ones. Want to be an artist? Re-tweet your favorite artists and reply with insightful and quippy thoughts on their work – people who look at your profile for the first time will be under the impression that you can think smart and fast, and know your stuff. This idea of tweeting strategically can be applied anywhere, and with the way our world is going, will eventually be key to opening doors in the future. Take my advice, and start now.