6 Reasons You Should Omit the Drama on Your Social Media Profiles

May
2017
19

posted by on Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Internet Privacy, Internet Safety, Online reputation, Online Safety

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There was a time (ahem, the MySpace era) when social media was where you could vent, revel in your drama, and get plenty of ego strokes from your friends. This was before employers were blatantly using social media and other online tools to suss out potential job candidates. No matter how locked down you think your social media is, tread carefully when nurturing drama on these platforms. It’s also easy to forget about who exactly your “friends” are. From your super-conservative aunt who never knew about that low point in your life (and is prone to sharing it with everyone she can) to an old colleague who might be passively trying to recruit you for your dream job, the people we’re connected to on social media likely fulfill many roles.

Social media drama should also be avoided for more serious reasons than embarrassing yourself or preventing future job opportunities. There are full-fledged rehab clinics dedicated to social media addiction—and all the troubles they can usher in. Here are six key reasons to steer clear of social media drama, and in some cases step away from the platforms altogether:

  1. You’re giving important people the wrong impression. It can be tough to see the proverbial forest for the trees when you’re in the thick of your own social media drama. According to The Telegraph, the average Facebook user has 155 friends, and a lot of users have many more. It’s impossible to really “know” 155 people, or even 20 people. You have no control over how they take the drama you offer, share it, and form opinions that may one day negatively affect you. For example? Maybe one of your old college buddies is actually working on founding your dream startup, but will never consider approaching you after seeing your non-stop party photos popping up on her feed.
  2. You’re literally addicted to the drama. Drama addiction is a very real phenomenon according to Psychology Today—it’s always existed, but it’s just become more apparent and easier to fall into those habits thanks to social media. “Venting” isn’t cathartic or a good thing when it’s actually feeding an addiction. Those who have so-called “addictive personalities” and struggle with other addiction issues can be particularly vulnerable to drama addiction. For these people, completely avoiding social media can sometimes be the best action.
  3. It’s negatively helping you with cognitive re-conditioning. Cognitive re-conditioning is a fancy way of describing how we semi-permanently change our character. How we talk to ourselves, or self-talk, is extremely powerful because our brains are very good at making what we think come true. Speaking kindly to ourselves can be a struggle, especially in a society where modesty, sarcasm and self-deprecation reigns supreme. Social media can be a form of self-talk. If we’re always posting about how we “can’t find any decent men” or joking about alcohol or drug abuse, that’s a form of self-talk—however, on social media, we get the added support of our “friends” liking our status or joking back with us. In some cases, this is the most powerful cognitive re-conditioning of all, and it’s directing us down a negative path.
  4. There’s no undoing the damage. Even Snapchat users know that screen shots are forever. What we post on social media is everlasting, screenshot or not. There’s no telling who saw your drama-filled post, and how that’s changed how they see you (perhaps forever!). The internet has long been host to many lurkers, or those who are regularly online, reading posts and otherwise passively “participating” but rarely posting themselves. This makes us forget they’re checking us out, and it doesn’t cross our mind to do any reputation management or repair. Instead, drama is allowed to dictate how our reputation unfolds, and with drama as the driver the results are seldom pretty. Instead, the full effect of our dramatic posts are rarely, if ever, known.
  5. Social media has become less about social and more about reputation management. Even the most unprofessional of social media platforms, like Instagram or Snapchat, have now become routine tools for crafting an online image. Blame the beauty bloggers making millions or the propensity of Lululemon-wearing “fitness models,” but no platform is safe from scrutiny. In the Digital Era, we’ve also blended our business and leisure life to such an extreme degree that separation of work and personal life has faded away. You don’t want to have to go through the sharing settings of every single post just to make sure your newest contacts don’t see your tear-filled post fueled by wine. Just assume a professional demeanor on social media at all times to avoid any faux pas.
  6. It gives us a false sense of comfort. Rather than depending on likes, comments and safe faces or hearts for comfort when you’re really in a pinch, try reaching out via phone. Even better, make it a call and not a text. If possible, meet in person with real friends—or a mental health therapist during those particularly rough times. Social media isn’t a replacement for genuine relationships, but it’s being touted and used that way. Ultimately, social media can make us feel more alone if we overuse it.

Drama is certainly a part of life and it can be a source of bonding and seeking comfort. However, when we blast our drama all over social media, it can come back to haunt us. Sometimes it’s immediate and other times it stews for months or even years before popping up again. When social media is used as a venting tool, it provides very brief and temporary relief. A better approach is talking to a real person, one-on-one, where you can create bonds and get authentic responses and support. There’s only so much social media can provide, and drama diffusion isn’t in its wheelhouse.

Contributor: Trevor McDonald

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