Social Media Accounts and Accurate Life Portrayals (Online Reflection)

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.

Image result for different perception in pictures

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.

Technology is not to blame, we are (Op-Ed)

By Declan McDonald December 29 at 8:00 PM

We use technology to advance medical practices, transportation, and even planning out our schedules.  These tools help us however, we are losing some of the most interpersonal and human aspects that create our identity and being.  These aspects give us value and meaning that objects and materialistic goods cannot satisfy our needs such as human interaction.  Humans have improperly used technology with methods of laziness and selfishness. Image result for people only using technology

Our world has experienced some of the best and worst times with technology.  Despite its advantages, people have misused the good that can come out of it.  There are several problems that people create with technology; a person’s message is not interpreted correctly, there are less personable experiences among others, people avoid being with people, it has become expensive, and there can be less room for more diverse thinking and relationships.  I have experienced this first hand with online interactions in many cases with things such as lack of punctuation, poor context, and timing.  I have often been forced to reiterate and explain what I mean with certain messages because without body language, and face-to-face interactions, it can be difficult to express what I’m our trying to say.  If a text does not make sense to its recipient, a second conversation must be had, and this can delay sometimes urgent timing.  We have become so reliant on technology and our phones that we no longer know how to connect with people.

We are now beginning to wonder how technology is overwhelming our lives and taking control, yet in many instances, we are the ones who are abiding by these devices.  There is no longer a want or desire to speak with one another, it has become all about the easiness of working with people without meeting them face to face.

Many people will argue this and find technology to be a tool to enhance communication and a person’s use of it.  I continue to disagree based on what I have experienced, seen with others and my own personal use.   With my family overseas, it is difficult to consistently connect with them and when I do, it is usually over text and even factors such as time changes make it hard for effective communication.  Studies show that 7% of communication is based on verbal or written word and 93% is based on our body language (Tardanico 2012).  Technology promotes great opportunities and leads into what could become efficient communication, but people do not effectively use technology and phones to fulfill their purpose.  One may argue that people using technology can speak and be heard, create their own voice and identity, or communicate with those far away.  These advantages are true, but the context of our actions is what defines technology’s role in our society.  People are misusing technology and stepping outside of the boundaries that make human interaction possible.

A common argument talks about how people can use technology to reach others in various parts of the world that we would not be able to speak with.  There is no denying that technology makes this possible, yet from what I have experienced there is no true relationship from this.  Without face to face interaction, it is very difficult for people to know and understand one’s identity and emotions.  According to, 34 percent of teens agree that using social media takes away from time that they could be spending with people face-to-face, and 44 percent agree that social media distracts them from the people they are with in person (Feliciano 2015).  These devices are meant to make communication easier yet in turn, it can create an opposite outcome.  Our society feels as if we don’t need this aspect of life but without it we are vulnerable to becoming more alone then we were before.

Others will argue that communication has become so much faster and more efficient, but it comes at the cost of our language and emotion.  Something as simple as auto correct takes away effort needed to think about our messaging and ideas that we convey to someone.  Not to mention the confusion that can arise when a recipient does not understand things such as sarcasm.  In studies done by Monica A. Riordan and Lauren A. Trichtinger, these researchers conducted experiences to find out the effects of contextual information and the accuracy of affective communication (Nauert).  These studies showed that participants had difficulty detecting emotions in messages, regardless of whether the sender was a friend or stranger (Nauert).  The same results were found the even when clues like emoticons, multiple exclamation points, or all caps were used (Nauert).

Generations of kids from now on will-fully indulge their lives within technology.  Technology is even becoming part of the classroom and learning tools.  Students may not be as inclined to reach out to other peers and their teachers will become replaceable.  One of the most important factors of school is our social ability, and learning to work with others and create relationships.  School now is very different from when I started, and it can be much more helpful on a technical basis, but not towards the essential elements of human beings.  Cons of technology in a classroom are plagiarism, lack of privacy, teachers become replaceable, causes distractions, and not all students have the same access to technology (Ronan 2017).

In today’s world it has become easy to blame technology and all the harm that it causes with people’s information or taking over someone’s life with devices.  We are abusing and taking advantage of the power that comes with technology.  It can be great value to our society, but we must be able to balance out the different aspects of life.  Our lives can’t be overwhelmed by technology, because we are social creatures meant to interact.






Feliciano, Z. (2015, August 20). Is Social Media Hindering Our Face-To-Face Socialization Skills? Retrieved January 02, 2018, from

Ronan, A. (2016, August 31). Difficult to Communicate Emotions in Email/Text. Retrieved January 02, 2018, from

Tardanico, S. (2014, April 15). Is Social Media Sabotaging Real Communication? Retrieved January 02, 2018, from

Social media makes it difficult to spend quality time with each other (Proposal Argument)


Social media has made it difficult to spend quality time with each other.  We are so distracted by social media that we don’t give each other attention.  Social media has turned hanging out, into sitting in a room fully engrossed in our phones.  We force ourselves to record and document everything instead of enjoying these memories with friends and family.  Society has become so consumed in technology that we forget to look up and remember who and what is in front of us.  Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor, argues, “that too much of (social media) can become a problem where we are no longer helping ourselves, but we are beginning to become handicapped by changing our relationships with society and perhaps even our evolutionary path (Serra, 2014).  People need to become more willing to participate in real life activities and events, without social media and devices, which bring them face to face with people to enhance relationships and create a better quality of life.

Human beings are social creatures that need and crave social interaction.  This contact is essential to our physical and mental health, and Sara Qualls writes, “…148 longitudinal studies found a 50 percent increase in survival of people with robust social relationships, regardless of age, gender, country of origin, or how such relationships were defined” (Qualls, 2014) and this magnifies the importance of it.  Seeking out this interaction, is the solution to the problem of social media weakening our relationships.  We can encourage people to not use technology or social media during dinners, movies, and gatherings.  This will begin to create opportunities for people to communicate with one another using words and emotions.  There are many advantages to utilizing opportunities like this and we can gain in ways such as, “Increases feelings of connectedness…Increases Activity Levels…Slows Aging…Make New Friends…Become Better Informed…” (Marinoff, 2016) and these are all aspects that create a better quality of life for ourselves and those dear to us.  Many of the great things that social media can do, can have negative outcomes as well, especially when used improperly.

Advertising is another strong way to create awareness about the different organizations that focus and thrive on its members socializing with one another.  Socializing and informational events like this, will give people the desire to focus on the people they are with who may even share the same interests as them.  This idea may be uncomfortable to some at first, but when thinking about our health and the benefits of interacting with others, people will begin to put forth the effort if they are aware.  People can join book clubs, learn a new sport, or take up karaoke.  This answer may start out small scale, but people themselves will have to be the change.  Our society must work together to achieve this goal of maximizing our time spent with each other.  The implementation of this solution can go further and be available in forms of interest meetings and speakers that people could attend or be incentivized to participate in.  Companies, organizations and even schools can promote and host events like this to better their employees, stakeholders, and students.  This would give people a better understanding of the pros and cons of centering our lives on social media, and let them know of how they can better their lives.  Knowing the information on about what it is we are doing with social media can make us more willing to be proactive and productive with it.  People themselves are giving into social media as an easy way out of communication with people and society.  Although this idea is somewhat simple, it can be feasible with participation and involvement.  A person cannot be forced to do something, but must be willing to adapt to change from within.

I have felt a personal impact from this idea that social media and text messaging hurts the quality time I spend with friends and loved ones.  There have been many times where friends and I will be together, but it does not feel as if we are always in the same place.  It is strange to think you could be thinking and focusing on things through a phone or computer when you have someone right in front of you.  I noticed this reality when my friends and I had arranged to meet and hangout, yet at one point all of us were unengaged and on our phones with other interests on our minds. Related image A solution I had suggested to address this issue was all of us playing pickup basketball or throwing a football outside.  This gave us the opportunity to be with each other in the moment and away from the distractions of social media.  There are also similarities with seeing people post on social media, and not feeling the need or desire to reach out to that person because I feel as if I know what’s going on based off pictures and words.  Even though it may seem as if I have a true understanding of someone else’s life, there is so much I can’t understand without that quality time and interaction.  Something I can do to make a scenario like this better, is to make that effort and have real conversation with people face to face, and even over the phone or on facetime.

Social media can truly diminish interpersonal relationships, yet there are some who believe in the exact opposite.  These people are the creators and leaders of these social media platforms, the frontrunners in the artificial intelligence world, and members of society who have benefitted from social media and their interactions.  When used effectively social media can be a valuable tool to connect and communicate with people.  Studies have shown teenagers believe, “…that (83%) of social media-using teens say social media makes them more connected to information about what is happening in their friends’ lives and 70% say these social platforms better connect them to their friends’ feelings.” (Lenhart, 2015) and this can be a great resource for social media to have a positive impact in our society today.  Although this is the belief of today’s users, there is an underlying issue with this idea.  Studies done by investigators at Chatham University, to determine if people could interpret emotions in emails sent by friends and strangers, found that “…although writers were confident their friends would interpret the emotions in their emails … this was incorrect.  Likewise, although readers believed they would be able to “read” the emotions better in letters from friends than strangers, this was found not to be the case.” (Nauert)  This goes to show that we may think social media makes our lives and relationships easier, however we are able to easily access so much information that we put ourselves at a disadvantage with our functioning.  In some ways, we feel we are bettering ourselves, but there are certain skills and values that social media cannot provide or enhance for us.  Social interactions were designed to be social, and communicating with individuals using emotion in body language is what makes our world strong and structured.

Social media does not add the value to our lives that we convince ourselves of and there are problems that go further with the advantage of faster communication.  Factors such as false connections, cyber-bullying, decreased productivity, and privacy evasion are the negative issues that harm our lifestyles and relationships with one another.  Social media has the ability to make users feel insecure, embarrassed, and left out.  These characteristics and emotions impact who we are and our personalities, especially when around other people.  A Kaspersky lab study found, “…42% of social media users admit to feeling jealous when a friend’s posts receive more attention than theirs.” (Rohampton, 2017) and this can be a critical factor into how we interact with others.  Social media presents images, and posts that we are left with to interpret, often without proper context.  We create premature scenarios and make decisions based on what others may think of us, and this alters how we communicate with people face to face.  If there are consistent insecure feelings, tensions within our relationships can increase.  Social media is not only an in person distraction with a device, but can carry over to when we are actually with people.

There are new and effective ways to communicate and interact with people that are being constantly developed.  These new ways can be great and help the way we speak and socialize with society.  Too much use of social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be detrimental if applied improperly.  We must not forget that no matter how easy or better this connecting with people through social media may seem, it is not the best option possible.  Much of people’s shared time together in today’s world, is not quality or real and that needs to change.  Social media is taking the human aspect out of communication.  Encouraging and providing events for people to attend to socialize, and try new things are a strong way to ensure people spend quality time with one another.  People need to face reality and be willing to make the effort to interact with society.







Works Cited

Lenhart, Amanda. “Chapter 4: Social Media and Friendships.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 6 Aug. 2015,

Marinoff, Nick. “5 Health Benefits of Social Events and Activities.”, 1 Sept. 2016,

Nauert, Rick. “Difficult to Communicate Emotions in Email/Text.” Psych Central News, 31 Aug. 2016,

Qualls, Sara Honn. “What Social Relationships Can Do for Health.” American Society on Aging, Journal of the American Society on Aging,

Rohampton, Jimmy. “Millennials, Here’s How Social Media Impacts Your Relationships.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 4 May 2017,

Serra, Jessica. “Social Media Is Destroying Quality Human Interaction.” Thought Catalog, Thought Catalog, 17 Sept. 2014,

Communicating with Declan McDonald

I am an active and engaging member of Longwood’s academic community.  Communication with people is a passion of mine, and I do my best to seek out any opportunities available to add value towards my relationships with my peers, friends, and future fellow Lancers.  In Longwood’s academic community, I serve as a Peer Mentor, involved member of a Fraternity, and am a part of the Lancer Student Investment Fund.  I enjoy utilizing the Greenwood Library and am a frequent visitor who participates in group projects.

In my local community, I am known as a former small business owner, helping my neighbors with household projects, moving items, and keeping yards in prime condition.  I am a role model for younger kids in my neighborhood and pride myself on always lending a helping hand.  I can be found always playing a sport or spending time with family and friends.

My scholarly identity in the university is as a student who creates positive relationships with professors, advisors and students.  I am a student who takes full advantage of my resources such as tutoring hours for concepts I struggle with and professor’s office hours.  I will never pass up an opportunity for extra credit no matter my grade and constantly look for ways to improve my academic standing.

I am curious about the world of business and learning more about how products can help people.  The idea that someone can provide a service or product to someone else to enhance their living is fascinating to me.  The process and people who make it happen are equally interesting to me.  In addition, I am curious about the different cultures within the world and how business ideologies are carried out in different parts of the world.

I enjoy studying many different aspects of business.  While a student in Longwood’s College of Business and Economics, I have been exposed to the business concentrations of management, finance, information systems, accounting and economics.  I enjoy studying most about effectively working with people.  In business terms this could be managing employees or a product, negotiating, selling a service, or motivating others to meet their objectives.  Organizational success is something I hope to achieve when entering the work force and for years to come after.

My field of study relies heavily on life online.  Business is about communicating effectively and efficiently with people.  Distance, equipment malfunctions and forgetfulness can make it difficult to find success in business.  In today’s world quickness in communication is very important and life online can enhance everyday operations.

The goal of this blog is to use Longwood’s blog system to exercise our ability to write for a public audience and write digitally for academic purposes.  This blog will be a valuable way to share my writing throughout the course and potentially engage with people outside of this seminar.  The blog could perhaps spur conversations with people from all aspects and backgrounds.  Not only will it be published for others to read, it will be a great way for my personal self to track and improve my writing throughout the course.