When I was a kid, there was no such thing as a social network.
There were no digital cameras. No iPods. No iPhones. No laptop computers or XBox 360s. Playstation 3? Ha!
Nothing of the sort.
If we were going out to play baseball or ride bikes, we didn’t text somebody or tweet them — we called (via a land line phone — gasp!) or knocked on their door.
If we needed talk to our parents or something, we’d go home or call on a pay phone (yes, back then, they were easy to find).
Now, to be fair, when I went to school, I didn’t walk up hill, both ways, in snow. And I didn’t fight off bears with a loose-leaf binder! Close enough though.
This isn’t a post about the boom of technology or my childhood compared to these days, though. I love technology. And, I won’t yap here about kids worrying more about texting and playing on Facebook rather than going out and jumping bikes in an old park.
It’s how this technology and social networks are used.
I use many of the bigger social networks out there. I tweet. I have Facebook. I love using Instagram. I’m active on Flickr. And I mess around with other social and popular sites because they are fun to use.
But I also watch what I post.
I’ve seen an alarming number of people who are not so careful. Heck, some of them aren’t even the younger generation. Some are people my age and older.
The things they post! Sheesh!
The reason this post has come about is because of an alarming number of things I see on photo sites, such as Instagram. I can’t fully comment on Facebook (though I’m sure the same things happens as many people post their Instagram photos to Facebook) as I keep my profile and everything else extremely private.
It’s one thing to post a picture of yourself being scantily clad.I don’t think it’s smart, especially for younger ladies — but at least they have some clothes on. Do I condone? No. But there are far worse things.
Such as posting illegal activities.
I’m starting to notice more and more people who are posting things like this, such as images of marijuana. No matter where you stand on the fence when it comes to legalizing this substance, as of right now it’s illegal on the federal level, which trumps states.
The people who post these images get creative, too. Such as posting a photo of their bag o’ weed. Or the buds all spread out. Or their bowl all packed with the herb.
They even hashtag these posts with things such as “#weed,” “#420,” #marijuana,” “#pot,” and other things that allows users to find these photos.
I just went on Instagram and did a few quick hashtag searches. When I typed in #420, it came back with 1,259,245 photos. #pot came back with 382,399 photos. #marijuana came back with 817,032 photos — but there were also offshoots of that term that had many more hits.
Some of the photos I saw? Marijuana plants. Bags of pot. People smoking. Pictures of paraphernalia. Scales of people measuring out pot. People — this is illegal! Why would you post such things?
People, let’s think about this for a reason.
You’re on a social network that can be seen by millions and millions of people. Your image of your pot might get 150 likes, but who are these people liking it?
Something tells me, in most cases, it’s not somebody who is going to rush and give you a job offer!
In this day and age when jobs are becoming harder and harder to find (I can testify to that!), why would you ever put something out there that can be searched and used against you?
With the Internet growing every day, more and more personal information can be out there. And once it’s out there, it’s out there.
I realize many of the people I see posting these sort of images are college-age people. And they are living life and living it large. But there can be repercussions to things like this. What happens when potential employers stumble upon your feeds? If you haven’t made them private, they are there for the world to see.
So a potential employer stumbles upon your page and sees images with weed and things like that.
It doesn’t matter if you are the best candidate or not — if you are flaunting an illegal activity, why take a chance?
It’s not even just jobs. It could be your friends. Or family members. Or kids. Anybody can see this stuff. I have relatives who are just reaching or barely in their teens who are on Instagram. Though their profiles might be private (which is a good thing), they can still see other people’s feeds and photos.
Having them see images of people all high or of pot isn’t something I would want them to look at.
And though I’m not sure cops would go after somebody posting a picture of them smoking a joint, I’m sure it’s possible they could. How would you like to have that knock at the door and get ticketed or arrested for posting a picture of you smoking weed? Or packaging it as it looks like intent to sell?
All I’m saying is be smart.
As time continues on and technology continues to grow, more and more apps and things will show up to make the social media market that much bigger and stronger. It gives more options for people to put things out there that can be incriminating.
Hey, I understand it. I’m out there. I blog. I use the social networks. I used to work for a newspaper. So I’m searchable. But I’m also careful. I have privacy settings to the max at some places (such as Facebook) and wherever else I feel it necessary. Not because I’m trying to hide anything but because I don’t want my whole life out there and searchable.
Be smart and think about possible outcomes.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!