You have a secret identity. Your alternate self is braver, sexier, louder and more politically outspoken than you. Unfortunately, your other self exists only on Facebook – and it isn’t so secret.
However, many people act as though what they do on Facebook has no impact on the real world, and they transform themselves into something.
Suppose one album contains photos of your friends at dinner, a football game or of you spending time with your family. Now, suppose a second album is made up of pictures from your roommate’s 21st birthday – pictures you don’t remember taking.
Album A says, “I love my friends and family, and I’m a fun person whose actions match my religious convictions.” Album B sends the message you are wild, careless and tend to lose control on the weekends.
This creates a dichotomy between words and actions.
Consider the content on your “info” tab or what your friends post on your wall. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when talking about ourselves, we tend to spill just as much, if not more, information than a picture can give.
This is definitely not a lesson in morality. We are adults free to make choices and handle the consequences of those choices. Rather, this is a lesson in damage control: deciding what is appropriate where.
Who really looks at our Facebook pages? Think of all those family friends, professors, relatives and co-workers who “friended” you, making you think to yourself, “I can’t believe this person has a Facebook.” They are reading every word on your wall. They are looking at every photo posted of you, and they are quickly drawing a conclusion about your character.
This may seem judgmental or unfair, but people make decisions based on the information available. If you publish certain content on the Internet, on what else can people base their opinions?
There is an easy solution. Do not bare your soul on Facebook. Maybe you have a crazy night out with your friends, but before you post pictures, remember who is looking. Remember the professional image you try to establish when you meet someone in person, and see if it matches the one on Facebook. Then, ask yourself if the “likes” or laughs you might get are worth it.