Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Some too open on Facebook

Society has a way of re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, to further accommodate the needs of the people. Now, culture demands that citizens embark on an age of immediacy — one that allows down-to-the-second updates on all things personal, professional and news worthy to be sent to our phones, which we are equipped with at all times — someone may actually have to surgically remove my BlackBerry from my palm in the event of my death.

Welcome to the Digital Age, where social media and networking websites reign supreme in the news gathering world. Don’t scoff — how did you learn about the recent 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Virginia and surrounding areas last week? I surmise that the announcement came via a text or Facebook or Twitter notification.

Not to mention, that each Facebook page “renovation,” such as the new chat bar and the even more recent addition of “share options” — I think Mark Zuckerburg is worried about Google+ stealing his friends—quickly becomes the topic of status rants and normal conversation for weeks.

The social media outlet is here to stay, as we are all hopelessly devoted to the tiny, red notifications that somehow appear on our phones and Internet browsers. Besides, did events really occur if we weren’t invited via Facebook invitation, or are people really dating if their relationship status doesn’t proclaim the couple’s seemingly undying love for each other? Additionally, are all those women, who insist on posting their ultra sound pictures, really pregnant if it doesn’t appear on Facebook?

We are dependent on social media. Our future employers, educators, friends and, sometimes, family depend on the social networking site to peer into our everyday lives. But what most people don’t factor in to their online profile are the underlying ramifications of some Facebook conversations. Many streams of thought on Facebook have been found to haunt some students seeking employment or internships, as many employers view posts and profiles to gauge a person’s character.

Unfortunately, I can pinpoint several Liberty University students that may find themselves included among this statistic. Recently, I have observed some students blatantly disrespect our school, chancellor and fellow classmates on the social networking site — the most recent being a couple of days ago about the ever-sensitive campus parking subject. Whereas, I am a promoter of free speech and honesty, I am an even bigger advocate for integrity and face-to-face communication in times of conflict or other sensitive events. I am a firm believer that if one person has an issue with another, he or she should speak directly to the individual in question — even if it happens to be a private email or message.

Integrity and character of the actual person are reflected through the digital realm — as so much of our lives tend to do today. So, my advice, although not sage by any means, is to watch what you say on Facebook and consider the ramifications or consequences. Some good judgment, and a lack of swear words, could save your future job, educational experience and, maybe, even a couple of friendships along the way.

I am all for smart social networking — and you can like that.

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