To share, or not to share?

How to curate the ideal social media presence without overdoing it

Social media profiles have long since evolved from their early days as platforms exclusively reserved for young adults and teenagers. A 2015 survey of social media users from the Pew Research Center Found that 72 percent of adults on the internet (aged 18-65 and older) are active on Facebook alone.

This means newsfeeds are now filled with family, friends, colleges, old classmates, potential employers and more, all of whom can find your personal profile with a few easy clicks. So how do you make sure that your profile accurately represents the image you want to convey? It might seem simple to figure this out at first, but for those who didn’t grow up learning the ins and outs of social media, it can present itself as an unexpected challenge.

There are several things to consider when creating a profile. Are you making it to stay connected with family? To have discussions with like-minded individuals, or debates with those whom you disagree? Do you want to have your profile open for the whole wide web to see? Or private to those select few you add as friends?

It is important to understand what you are getting into when starting out on social media because once it is out there, it is almost impossible to recall or permanently erase what has been written. It’s essential to know who you are and what you stand for because, more likely than not, it will be challenged by someone, somewhere.

However, as long as one understands all the implications of jumping into social media, there is no reason it can’t be an enjoyable experience. These few simple rules should help make sure it’s not only enjoyable for the user, but also for all of those who subscribe to the user’s updates, as well.

First and foremost, over sharing is one of the easiest ways to turn people away from a profile. This can mean over sharing in both quantity, like listing an entire day of mundane activities, or quality, like gross or inappropriate status updates (which is subjective to every person, but common sense should help one figure this out).

Another issue can be creating a combative tone on the profile. Many people like to use social media to express their views on a variety of issues, but too often the long rants contain little factual information. If you plan on using your profile to express your opinions, at least make sure you are basing them on facts and addressing those who disagree respectfully.

The best advice would be to act how you would in an in-person conversation on social media. If you wouldn’t say it in person and aren’t willing to defend your social media positions in person, don’t post it. By acting as you would in person, you ensure that your social media presence represents the real you.

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