Facebook, Twitter, and plenty of other social networking sites are taking over and have a great part in ruining the art of conversation. However, the biggest problem with these sites is the way we abuse them. In the past, I have been guilty of misusing Facebook. Read on. It’s true.

For many people, it’s hard to remember that what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. But what if someone was impressed with my articles or wanted to hire me for a job? Would they do a little research and see all of the other rubbish on my page? How embarrassing!

Employers can now find out a lot about their potential employees by checking them out on social networks. Think of this tactic as the part of the interview you’re not aware of. After all, for most of us, the first links to pop up in search results are our social networking pages.

We all wish we could take back something we’ve said or pray an embarrassing memory will fade with time. With some luck and forgiveness, this is completely possible unless, of course, the past is conveniently etched into a hard drive and recalled with the press of a button.

If the first thing someone sees on your profile is a post about how you’re going to get wasted this evening off of free drinks from your sugar daddy, he or she is going to move on.

The best advice I can give is to show the world exactly what you want them to see and nothing more. Start off by focusing on the people you would benefit from interacting with. That is what social networking should be about — meeting people or staying in contact with those who benefit you in some way, whether by making you laugh or helping you reach your goals. If you’re looking for a date or someone to appreciate your good looks, maybe you should try a site designed for such things.

The wrong information can leave the wrong impression, so be discreet in the way you convey yourself in social media. To prevent overexposing yourself on these sites, always keep your goals in mind. Words are as important as facial expressions, handshakes, and the way you dress. Don’t ignore your choice of words when presenting yourself. No matter how compelling your story, condensing the most revealing details is key.

A photo of you in your underwear or a bikini is inappropriate and would obviously attract the wrong kind of attention. We’re trying to be productive with our lives, not have gross dudes, or women for that matter, drooling over our sweet (or not so sweet) beach bods. Or what about the people with their “wasted face” pictures? You know what I mean: beer in hand and bar in the background, drunk as a skunk.

At the old age of twenty one, I am happy to report that I am a reformed Facebook abuser. I’ve realized that what I used to share with the world is not what I want people to see of me; it is not who I am.

Many of us have no idea how poor social media choices could eventually affect us later in life, but the more interesting thing is most of us don’t realize how they’re affecting us now.

Author: Krystle Burns (Intern)