Personal social media accounts can be a positive or unforgiving representation of a person or group. Often our accounts are viewed by people we do not know, and this can be beneficial or harmful towards an image and reputation. It can create an opportunity or destroy it and it is so important to be aware of what we are posting and who is seeing it. In this paper, I will be considering my own personal social media accounts in comparison to my academic identity. My social media accounts are not the most accurate portrayals of my life and who I am.
Life online can be observed and portrayed in numerous ways. My pictures and posts would not express any branding or my personal academic identity despite being very involved and active on my campus and in my community. It is natural for people to make quick and sometimes harsh decisions about people using their social accounts. Social media accounts, although active, do not share all the information that they possibly could. There are some users who are constantly updating, posting, and making the internet aware of their life profile changes while other users do not do this. I personally am not one of this people and do not keep my social media profile information recent and updated. This is important to note because there are people who rely on online information to determine their perception of someone. They may ultimately create a completely different person in their mind based off the knowledge and social media source they are viewing. My pictures and posts would not express any branding or my personal academic identity despite being very involved in school groups and heavily active on campus and in my community.
My posts, tweets, and pictures uploaded do not reflect my time in the classroom or studying, but represent more of the social aspect of my life. Another example of this would be that at school I most commonly study at the library yet someone who was viewing my account would have no reason to think that. A viewer would not know about all the study groups I work in or the extra time I put in towards extra credit or assignments. In a way, my academic identity is unintentionally hidden. I do not frequently share significant life events, or involvement on my campus, online with my social media applications. In my opinion, it would be difficult for an outside viewer to understand and be aware of everything going on in my life.
The opposite end of the spectrum would be LinkedIn, and this is a site used to network and develop professionally. This is probably my most up to date social media account and one that I use every single day. The account holds details of my experiences over the years and my most recent involvement in work and student groups. It is a great tool for my field of study as well as future careers in business and working with people. It’s interesting to note the site that is most about professionalism and growth, is the account that most viewers of mine may not see. In some ways, it is the most significant to my branding and the one that should be seen the most. My branding is a focused, involved student who enjoys participating in organizations and working hard towards organizational goals. I benefit from creating strong relationships with my professors, advisors, and colleagues. My LinkedIn account is a great reflection of my academic identity and shows the most information about me as person and student.
Twitter is a social media outlet of mine that would no longer be a current source of any information. There are tweets and pictures on there from years ago. Tweets on that account were always simple, humorous, and not serious. It was a way to joke around and make funny statements about sporting events or thoughts about aspects of life. These tweets may have not always defined my character and personality to some, and it could also be a perception that is no longer existent. Having not been an active twitter user for years, someone could look at that account, at any time, and develop a perception that may or may not be relevant. Someone viewing that would not be able to truly know who I am based off the text or postings. The frequencies of these posts do not justify my identity. I would consider this proper justification if it showed my activity in the library or participation in study groups. These tweets do not show the leadership positions I have held, nor does it show which organizations I play a role in.
Another source of social media is Instagram and it creates a visual for viewers almost instantly. Although captions do add to a depiction, the viewers can make the decision for themselves. I do not frequently post on any of my social media accounts. My social media accounts are generally not the best or most current tools to learn about any life or personal updates of mine that occur. To put these accounts posts in context; the last Facebook update was a shared post of Longwood University from over four months ago, the last Instagram photo update was over 4 months ago, and the last twitter post was years ago. Even though four months does not seem like a long time, these posts do not necessarily include the right information to discover my identity. The only information to be retrieved from this is who I am with, maybe what I’m doing, where I am. My picture gave little content and leaves lots of room for interpretation. I could see how this gives my audience a broad range of assumptions and ideas to consider.
The similarities and differences found through my social media accounts can positively affect me for the most part. The posts do show a socially involved similarity of my life but lacks the details to add context about each situation. My social media accounts share similarities with frequency of posts and the certain type of posts that are consistent on all applications. Differences would be that I truly only post pictures on Instagram, and leave commenting or liking other posts to Facebook. The only downside or negative aspect would concern me not sharing great things that I have accomplished or been a part of. This can only add to the perception people have of my life online. I have been fortunate enough to have avoided posting negative pictures or words on social media accounts and that negatively reflects my character and I try to always make the best decision. This also means keeping my distance from those who are more inclined to post on social media accounts without thinking about the consequences. My use of social media has never been a top priority nor a major interest of mine and that has made it that much easier to stay away from any negative spotlight now and in the future.