Social media, as Permanent as a Tattoo


As students, we are told many times over how important it is that we are aware of our online presence. Over the years, I, along with many other college students, have fallen victim to posting at least one slightly inappropriate photo or comment on one of my many social media accounts. And, although we are told many times over how important maintaining a profession presence is, students continue to post without realizing how permanent a decision, made in a matter of seconds, can really be.

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Recently, I came across an interesting TED Talk by Juan Enriquez titled Your Online Life, permanent as a Tattoo, that truly highlights the importance our online presence and how permanent a our decisions to share information publicly really are. In the short lecture, Enriquez discusses how tattoos can speak to others with actually saying anything, similar to how one photo or comment posted to a social media account can influence a followers’ opinion of us almost instantly. By providing an interesting connection between our online presence, tattoos and immortality, Enriquez states that our decisions made online are essentially electronic tattoos that can influence how others see us for not only the rest of our lives, but also our legacy. Interesting, right?

If you have an extra five minutes, this lecture provides an interesting insight to how our online presence can truly affect every aspect of our lives without us even knowing it.

Andrea Feehan

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6 Responses to Social media, as Permanent as a Tattoo

  1. This is so true and also terrifying. We are the generation that has existed with the Internet and without it, but we are also the generation that has been widely accepting to social media and trusting it with our information. We have all shared photos or posted comments that reflect poorly on who we are but we may have been young and naive. Personally, I don’t think a photo that we posted when we were 16 should dictate whether we get the job or not; however, not all employers would agree. The lesson here is to learn what to post on the Internet and remember that it is a reflection of us.

  2. pcriscola says:

    I completely agree! I am consistently telling my younger siblings to be careful what they post and who they are interacting with on social media. It can be a dangerous thing, just as much as it can be a fun social interaction! Everything we post and do can be traced back and found no matter how private our profiles are. It can get tiring of double checking all our profiles, but thats why we shouldn’t be posting those inappropriate things in the first place! Thanks for sharing this video, awesome insight!

  3. madelinestone says:

    Andrea thanks for bringing this up. I have seen this Ted Talk before and it is such an important topic not to overlook. I’ve been told many times to be careful about what I choose to share on social media. I’ve seen shows where a character doesn’t get a job because of their social media or their reputation is tarnished by it. I am a very light social media users so I fall prey to the its not going to happen to me mentality. This is a great reminder to filter through your accounts more often and look for anything that could misrepresent you. Even if you don’t post inappropriate pictures, that doesn’t mean your friends won’t post them of you instead.

  4. I definitely agree with the point you’re making here. I have always tried to warn my friends of the consequences that may result from what they post online. It can go the other way though – I don’t use Facebook and I’ve been told that it will decrease my chances of getting a job if the employer looks me up and can’t find me. They might assume I have something to hide. So, it’s good to find the right balance in a professional representation of yourself on social media.

  5. Kathy Kwong says:

    It is so easy to lose sight of what we “occasionally” post on social media. After all, most of us have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram first to connect with friends and/or family. Rarely are we thinking if a photo can paint of picture of what people are thinking of us. I’ve seen this happen. I’ve seen friends of mine delete others simply by an insensible post they made, which reflected on them as someone my friend didn’t want to be associated with. Social media is really a way for people to access your profile and get to know you, without you knowing they’re picking you apart, photo by photo, post by post. Creepy. But, nonetheless eye opening. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Personally, I use social media and post personal, not entirely suitable for work content from time to time, but with some very strict rules involved.

    One: I lock down my privacy settings so only the right people see it. Two: I avoid being friends with people within my work that could cause problems for me if they disapproved of the content I’m posting. Three: If there ARE friends of mine that would make things difficult for me if they didn’t approve, I don’t post anything, simple as that. Four: My Twitter account is purely professional.

    So far, maintaining a social media account hasn’t caused me any problems, and in fact, I’ve found that in some circumstances posting my personal opinions has opened up some professional doors for me. But I also understand that I’m playing with fire. I think it’s worth it, but it’s very reasonable to take the opposite perspective, in my opinion.

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