My Audience on Social Media
We’re all involved in a lot of social media. Whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and the many other niche platforms—we’re probably on it. On these outlets we have an array of “friends” and followers ranging from family, friends and even a few strangers who somehow found us. And on these social media sites we tend to post, A LOT. Between puppy videos, selfies and random status updates it’s easy to lose track of what we’re uploading. It’s also easy to not consider who’s our audience and what they’re seeing. So, who is our audience and is what they’re seeing appropriate?
Instinctively when we think of the word “appropriate” we think in terms of inappropriate pictures and insensitive commentaries. But, in this case, when we think about being appropriate, we need to consider who our posts are reaching, and if it’s necessary for them to see. This doesn’t mean that we block someone prior to uploading content. We should instead organize our audience to specific platforms.
Facebook is where we connect with our family, friends and work friends. So, when we upload here, we want it to be respectful and generally professional. In the future when it’s time to search for a job or apply for schools, employers and administrators are more likely to search for us on Facebook than on other mediums. Having distasteful content on our “wall” will make us an unattractive candidate for someone’s business or institution. But, with the plethora of adults on Facebook, we have the opportunity to learn how to filter our posts to more mature content. Interacting with the adults on Facebook gives us the chance to learn how to mingle with adults online and in person. Facebook also gives us the opportunity to create long postings. We can write a five paragraph blurb on something we think is life changing to share with the world. Essentially, uploading statuses, pictures and puppy videos on Facebook is normal. However, we have to remember that Facebook isn’t a platform to be muddied with pointless content.
Twitter is home to all of our friends and random followers. So we have more room to post things that don’t have substantial purpose or opinions that might be controversial. If we want to talk about something random and funny our mom did, we can. If we want to post a political view, we can. What makes Twitter so unique is that we have limited characters to use. We have to be precise so that our entire statement fits into one tweet rather than fifteen. We state what needs to be said then move on to the next subject. Twitter is a casual platform for everyone to use, so though we have to remain mindful of others we aren’t tied down to be completely professional.
Just like Twitter, Instagram is the place to connect with all of our friends and random followers with the occasional family member included. If we’re looking to selfie it up, this is the place to be! This is where we post pictures of ourselves, pets, sceneries and other miscellaneous thing we want people to see. But, almost anyone can see our Instagram so it’s important to be conscious of what we’re adding filters to and posting. Be wary of the people in the background and what they’re doing. We also have to be aware of objects in the picture as well. If anything, we need to ask ourselves if the picture we want to show the world is important for them to see. This will save us a lot of headache and spare us and others the five pictures-a-day regime. Despite Instagram being the picture hub of the world, we shouldn’t post unacceptable pictures. Anyone can see them, or even screenshot and keep for themselves. It’s also important that we’re realistic about our Instagram. We can’t let being “picture perfect” consume us!
Niche Social Media sites are where our online friends and some of our real life friends are who have the same interests or circumstances. Genre websites can be sites ranging from practicing our writing skill to support groups. We may become extremely close to individuals on these sites because of a shared passion, even if we’ve never met them. Bonds such as these may be necessary in our life. Because of this, it’s easy to find a connection; however, it’s important to remain vigilant with online friendships. When it comes to being a part of online communities such as these it’s important to upload content that apply solely to that page. If we’re a part of a community forum that’s geared to support those wearing braces, then creating posts about our neighbor’s pool is not necessary.
Snapchat houses all of our friends and acquaintances. This platform is the mothership of randomness. Such arbitrary information can include 10 second videos, selfies and pictures of the sunset. There’s not a close eye on snapchat from our family, employers or schools. But, even without an adult’s mindful eye we must be aware of what we’re posting and if it’s okay for others to see. Even though the content will be gone within 24 hours of it being posted to our story, doesn’t mean it should lack significance. We have to ask ourselves how the picture or video taken will impact others who’ll see it. Each day is special and should be captured as such.
Though most posts on our accounts are geared towards friends from school – our family, pastor, members from church and friends we made at camp see what’s uploaded. This doesn’t mean we have to block select groups of people from seeing our content. We must keep our accounts tidy by saving videos that we only want 1 person to see, and showing them the next time we see them. Each person we’ve added to our friend list knows us for a different reason. When we upload material online that doesn’t relate to a majority of our friend lists, they may feel as if they never knew us in the first place—like we had a mask on to make them like us. They shouldn’t feel intimidated to talk to us because we’re one thing in person, and something else online.
Before we post anything, we must ask ourselves what is the purpose of that specific outlet, and if the post in question is appropriate for social media and those that’ll see it. When we post things online, the content needs to have our personality. Being mindful of others doesn’t mean we can’t have personality! When we upload content, we have to do it with purpose, not because we’re bored. Mindless uploads cause for others to filter out our posts. We want our voice to be heard, not brushed to the side.