Perception is everything

A long time ago, I didn’t care what I posted on social media. I talked a lot about how much I loved Vanilla Coke. But in recent years, I’ve gone back through my various timelines, deleting all that embarrassing nonsense.

It feels shallow, but it’s what social media is all about – cultivating and projecting an image of yourself to the wider world. Now I’m more concerned with my career than Vanilla Coke, it’s also about my future job prospects. From Facebook to Twitter and beyond, I must align my online identity as a unified front, ready to be scrutinised by potential employers.

Now I think twice before posting truly ridiculous photos, and I don’t get involved in arguments I know will inevitably end in moral calamity. While I haven’t experienced public shaming online, where individuals are publicly vilified because of online statements/actions, I have accidentally gotten into a pretty uncomfortable and uneven comment war.

A great couple of lines from Laura Hudson at Wired sums this general concept up: “At its best, social media has given a voice to the disenfranchised, allowing them to bypass the gatekeepers of power and publicize injustices that might otherwise remain invisible. At its worst, it’s a weapon of mass reputation destruction, capable of amplifying slander, bullying, and casual idiocy on a scale never before possible.”

Maybe Black Mirrors’ Most Hated in the Nation is getting at something (despite their oh-so thinly veiled metaphors and overcrowded plots).


6 thoughts on “Perception is everything

Add yours

  1. Hey Olivia,

    I am desperately tapping away at my keyboard for this, the last blog comment of the semester so it will be a short visit unfortunately….

    I think it’s good that people are starting to realise that curating a feed is a normal, perfectly reasonable thing to do – to use a relatively shaky metaphor – You wear clothes on the basis that you like them, and in the context of the moment in time, you like being seen in them right? So why, when the time comes that you don’t want to be associated with the connotations of the piece of clothing, would you keep it? And every other item of clothing you’ve ever had?

    Just like it is a good practise to live light on baggage, both physical and mental, why should your profiles be any different? Do you want a messy, uncluttered facebook feed with 5 years of shit photos and enough cringeworthy posts to cringe yourself to sleep?

    As time goes on, society is discovering that the world of social media is merely a tool wherin we can view and live our lives, and just like our physical lives – sometimes it needs un-cluttering.

    Forgive my tangent,
    all the best,


  2. Hey Olivia,

    I’ve definitely found myself doing the same thing, especially now that Facebook brings up the random memories from the previous years. It’s true that your online profile is what will be looked at by future employers. Your online persona is all they can see, so why not make it your best person. I can see how you see it as shallow, but if it’s what gets you hired, I say why not. Your online persona is still apart of you, it’s something that is constantly changing but shows you at your best.


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