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).