October 19, 2021

Social Media: Does It Help or Harm Our Reputations?

Written by: Avery Sanford

With social media at our fingertips, it’s become overly easy to overshare our lives with no edit or real thought.

Social media for society today has become a way to express ourselves and receive validation in doing so. But with the excess need to post everything on social platforms for all to see, there’s little to no room for error. Once something is out on the internet it will always be there.

So, does posting our lives for all to see and be a part of help or harm us?

Celebrities and those of high status are great examples of how social media harms reputations and personal images. Within the past year, Donald Trump was kicked off of Twitter for his tweets that pointed towards the encouragement of violence. The social platform said in a statement their reasoning for suspending his account was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”. Although the former President’s words online have not been taken kindly during his time in office, his status remains the same in regards to his assets and power as an executive.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/08/technology/twitter-trump-suspended.html

Still maintaining his high-profile, Trump’s brand image of himself as being negative and inciting violence will forever hold a place to the public’s eye, even without his prior actions during his term in office. This acts as an example that once something is out there, it remains to your name, your image.

But when does it help?

Social media is an active tool that has allowed for the world’s population to network with others without the need for in-person contact. Connecting with others and building relationships are now able to be done through simple photos, comments and likes. Utilizing social platforms like LinkedIn to share our interests and build mutually beneficial relationships to further our careers is a prime example of how social media benefits our reputations. Posting and reacting to content on sites as such relays our interests in serving the community, being active in social issues and wanting to make a positive change in society. Justin Bieber took matters into his own hands when re recognized his mental health was overtaking how he presented himself to the public through screens. The pop star decided to use his place on social media to encourage others to join the conversation regarding mental health and donate to the well-being of those around us. His reputation increased positively in the public eye.

Often individuals use the benefit of hiding behind a screen to post whatever they may please. But when this content remains online forever attached to their name, when does it become a tool too easy to mess up? Are we too caught up in expressing ourselves to gain that sense of validation to understand our rash words and images stay with us?

8 thoughts on “Social Media: Does It Help or Harm Our Reputations?

  1. Great article!
    You bring up a lot of great points about the usage of social media. There are a lot of pros and cons. I think social media has changed all our lives for many different reasons. For example, people misuse the platforms and it, in turn, does not foster a healthy community and is be harmful. While on the other hand, people can meet new people and have an outlet to have their voice be heard and express themself. I often wonder, what was the original purpose of social media was and what the real reason developers created the app to be used for.

  2. I often worry about how Gen Z has had access to social media from such a young age. I was in my teens in the early-mid 2000s, when the majority of adolescent oversharing happened on LiveJournal, MySpace, and similar sites. Thankfully, my cringe-worthy takes are protected in a “friends only” account. I shudder at the thought of my posts about navigating my mental health and coming to terms with my sexuality being available on Twitter for the entire world to see. I worry that young people today whose entire lives are so intertwined with social media may not have the chance to outgrow or disavow themselves of their teenage struggles since they’ve been posted on public sites.

  3. Hi Avery,

    I think that the person behind social media has a lot of power in creating their personal brand. Everything that the person interacts with shows more sides to themselves. With that being said, if they do not have this in mind, that would obviously have a huge negative impact. However, if everyone was more aware that the internet is forever and we can utilize it for good for our personal brand like LinkedIn, a shift could happen.

  4. Great blog post! I agree that individuals are searching for validation when they are utilizing social media platforms which can also harm their mental health. They place their value as a person based on how many likes or followers they have which has lead to platforms such as Instagram eliminating the number of likes that individuals are able to see on other people’s posts. I also believe that celebrities or people who have a large following do not recognize the magnitude of their posts. Their viewers can be misled by their posts which can lead to situations such as violent actions or misconceptions about various topics. As you said, a post can be deleted from an account but it will be on the internet forever so individuals should take more time to consider if this is how they’d like to represent themselves or how their audience will respond to it.

  5. Hi Avery! I really enjoyed reading your blog post and gaining some insights on this topic. I also appreciate your references to modern day public figures and celebrities. These specific examples really help to clarify your points about the way social media can either make or break someone, especially those in a position of power. It is such an important message to remember that nowadays nothing can really be unsaid after it has been posted online. You could delete your entire profile, but that doesn’t mean people don’t have screenshots forever to share with infinite people at any given moment. Great post!

  6. Great blog post! You bring up some great points about how we use social media for validation. It’s not just celebrities and influencers who do that either, it is everyone that is on social media. Your article provoked a thought about how “casual” Instagram is now a trend, where people post more raw and less thought-out posts on Instagram. Sometimes I question if that decision is true in its casual nature, or are those people making their want for validation by trying to be “different”.

  7. This was a great post! I think this is a great topic to bring up and I think social media plays a huge role in our personal branding. What we post is how the public will perceive who we are and I think you chose two really great examples of how what we post effects our reputation. Social media has its benefits and I think it is a great way to stay connected with people but it has not turned into something that can be very negative. It really all depends on how we use it.

  8. Hi Avery!
    I really enjoyed reading your post! Social media certainly has the power to either help or harm our reputations. Since just about everything is posted online nowadays, everyone’s reputations are at risk. I think this is why we all have to be especially careful what we post online.

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