Social media has a magnetic quality among students. Whether we are aware of it or not, our smartphones have a tendency to cling to us in the same way our clothes do. When we get dressed in the morning, we consider our phone to be a mandatory article of our attire that we’d feel naked without.
When we leave our houses in the morning, our clothing instantly speaks to the eyes and minds of the people around us. We are in control of illustrating our self-image with every style choice we make.
This same ability to control our identity and the way people perceive us lingers in the smartphone nestled in our pockets. We can control our image online by framing our interests and cropping out our insecurities and weaknesses.
Philippe Ross, professor of media studies at the University of Ottawa and associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Media Studies, suggests that part of the reason people frequently post content online is so they can feel some control over the impressions that others may have of us.
As a result, technology has become second nature to us. Just like we speak in order to share our thoughts, we post content online in order to express ourselves. Online posting is no longer a decision for most heavy media users; uploading content has become a reflex.
If we are going to point fingers, we can surely blame this day and age for the importance we place on technology.
No wonder we drape ourselves from head-to-toe in technology – we ourselves exist under a heavy blanket of technology-based expectations. The true question now is, even if we are enlightened on the nature of our behavior, do we consider it problematic?
Over-documenting has become the most visible repercussion stemming from the capabilities of social media.
“Information that traditionally you would have reserved just for your closest friends, you’re now publicizing across your whole network of acquaintances,” says Ross.
With the power to post whatever we want, whenever we choose, comes responsibility. So where do we draw the line for posting content freely?
“People have different policies in terms of their own use of these tools,” says Ross. “In terms of how collectively we decide what you can and what you can not do, that comes with time and right now we’re still at the stage of deciding.”
“I’m personally a bit concerned about this lack of distinction between public and private,” says Ross.
“This idea that everything can be the subject of posts through Facebook and Twitter…nothing’s sacred.”