Social Media Madness

With the emergence of new media outlets sprouting up all the time, content becomes abundant and can come in many forms from many different sources.  As a general rule, the more of something there is, the more likely an error is going to occur.  With that in mind, it’s not difficult to understand why there are just so man “Digital identity fails”.  Many people are simply unaware of the influence everything they do can have.  So why exactly does it happen? Why are so many people suffer from a complete lack of consciousness when it comes to the digital world? The answer may not be as simple as one tangible factor.

Why is it happening?

When word gets out about the latest social media faux-pas, the first thing people take notice of is the perpetrator and supposed victim.  When people try to decipher why a phenomena like the digital blunder might take place, they look for a common denomination of people.  What they discover, is that there is none.  For every group of oblivious college students singing a racist song, there is an old politician who underestimated the weight of a private text message.  The argument that older people are more prone to social media errors just doesn’t hold water.  However, the notion that young people are sending out questionable tweets wild and fast at a higher rate than older people is similarly weak.  So denomination isn’t the cause.  So what is?  Though it may be too vague, the center of the problem may simply be chalked up as absentmindedness.  Anthony Weiner was notoriously involved in the 2011 sexting scandal that caused him to resign as congressman.  Though they were private messages, Weiner severely overestimated the security those texts granted and were subsequently leaked.  Absentmindedness can come from posting things to the social media world as well.  An Oklahoma fraternity was recently shut down because a video of it’s members singing a racist song presumably decades old was filmed on a students phone.  In a time where over-sharing anything of note is rampant, you would think the members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon would have known better than to post such an incriminating video. According to this study, people are treating social media almost like an “Extra reality” where they don’t need to play by the rules and conventions of everyday life.

Assessing the situation

Although it may not feel like it sometimes, social media globalization is still a relatively new thing.  People are still joining late, as it’s certainly not a standard yet.  Couple this with the fact that many new services are popping up every week, it’s easy to be overwhelmed.  First people only had to account for text messages being saved or shared between people in person.  Soon, video sharing services like Youtube made events go viral. It wasn’t before long Facebook picked up steam and people started networking on a global scale. All of this took place within a few years of each other, so people are still being caught off guard by a new advancement in technology to expose a blunder.  Soon, livestreaming will be as easy as simply recording something on your phone, further reducing the time for something to go viral while simultaneously making a clearer, more updated picture for people sharing content than a video or tweeting about it.  So a definite contributor to social media blunders is the rapid advancement of technology. My advice to someone trying to reduce errors is just to play everything safe, you never know what’s around the corner to capture every move you make.  But don’t fall for the existing social media traps.  Don’t tweet wildly, take the time to review your posts before posting and look at things from different angles.  I’m certainly not one to ignore any constructive criticism.  Though I have a personal and professional twitter account, that doesn’t give me a free pass to post whatever I want.


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