Social media used to be fun. We could use it to stay connected with friends and family around the world. We could even expand our friend circles by meeting new people and rekindling old connections. For example, social media helped me reconnect with friends who date back to kindergarten. Before the internet, this would have been much more difficult.
Fast forward to today. Social media feel less purposeful than it used to. Sharing a photo of the wonderful food you ate last night seems insignificant. Posting beautiful family photos or vacation pictures can come across as bragging. People can start to feel resentment toward their friends who constantly post great personal news – even if their online personas are really all for show.
If what we are posting is so insignificant, perhaps we should be posting about more important things. Certainly, the news offers us many topics to choose from. Should we be using social media to weigh in on the state of the world?
I’m honestly not sure. I can see the argument for both sides. On one hand, it’s important to speak up for what’s right. It’s important to share your views and try to make a difference. On the other hand, I wonder how much social media is helping our cause, and how much it’s alienating us from others.
Someone recently said to me, “Wow, I had no idea how many of my friends I don’t like. When they start posting their political views on Facebook and I don’t agree with them, I know we can no longer be friends.”
In a certain regard, this is sad. The more we divide ourselves by our beliefs, the less we are willing to talk through important ideas together. As children, we made friends based on shared hobbies, not shared votes.
At the end of the day, we each have to decide how we want to use social media. Whether it’s family photos or political discussion, what you choose to share is a personal decision.
One thing is for sure: If you’re looking for a new job, your future boss is likely looking at your social media. Potential employers will Google your name, and they will go straight for your social media profiles.
Managers are people too. They have unfair biases of their own. When deciding what to share and how to use your voice on social media, just remember: the world is watching.
A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.