Have you ever came across your flashback, "On This Day" feature on Facebook and wondered what the heck you were thinking? This happens to me on a daily basis, when I see what I posted years ago. Social media isn't a new development by any means, but it is constantly evolving. People are finding new ways to utilize these platforms, and it can both benefit and harm you.
The first thing you need to consider is your privacy settings. Do you have your account set to public, where anyone can see it, or are you private so only your friends can see your posts? My profile used to be set to public, when I was naïve and thought it was ok to be an open book. Anyone out there could see my pictures, what I was doing every day, and my most personal thoughts. How scary is that? With all of the hacking, stalking, and fraud that happens now days, that is information you don't want getting into the wrong hands.
If you are reserved with what you post on the internet, setting your profile to public may not be all that bad. It can help you in some ways, especially when it comes to getting a job. Did you know that many companies will check out your social media profiles before offering you a job? If you only share professional things that could be used in your favor, this can be an advantage. I know several people who maintain profiles for professional uses only, for this reason. Social media can be your best resume, if you choose to use it that way. Make sure your profile picture gives off the first impression you want it to, keep it organized, and watch what you post.
Many businesses use social media for marketing, and they do very well with it. By creating a separate "page" for your business, you can feel free to post publicly without worrying about personal information getting out. Businesses can even boost their posts for a price, so Facebook will place their posts on the newsfeeds of others who fit into their target market. Something that once started out as a way for friends and classmates to stay connected has turned into this huge avenue for people to land jobs, and businesses to gain customers. Studies have even shown that customers are more likely to go with a company that is present on social media. They are more likely to develop a "trust" with a company on social media, and some even think that it is the future for customer service.
Love it or hate it, you can't deny that social media is a huge success. Whether you're on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or whatever other platform is out there, you can use it to your advantage. Just make sure you stay safe and keep private information private, because there are bad apples out there who can ruin it for everyone. Use your profile as your resume, for business, or just to keep up with family, or however you prefer. Either way, it can be an asset to your life, and can help you more in the long run if used right.