For several years now, people across the world have witnessed unprecedented growth of social media, particularly networking sites including, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, webcasts, and Twitter. Undoubtedly, social media has transformed how people across the world communicate and interact with one another by enabling them to rapidly access, change, and promptly share pictures, or videos (Janoski-Haehlen, 2011). A recent empirical study has revealed that about 40% of the learning institutions, recruiting agencies and judges use social media posting to select students, job applicants and determine cases respectively (Blitsa, Papathanasiou, & Salmanli, 2015). This process has elicited heated debates, whether it is correct for people to be judged by their social media posting. Those supporting the judging people based on social media postings have contended using social media postings helps determine how a person respects privacy and the constraints his or her language. However, the opponents have maintained that it is wrong to judge someone based on his or her social media postings because such postings only reflect the exciting parts of one's life and thus do not reflect the real picture of someone. The opponents further contend that a person should be judged by the quality of work he or she produces as opposed to their posts. Despite these conflicting arguments, it is important to judge people based on their social media postings because it reflects a good picture of such a person.
The extent of social media penetration into the societies today is quite massive, with the likelihood of one not being serious if they are not on any social media platform. While individuals are the majority of the active users in various social media platforms, the corporate world has equally made a significant footing into the platforms, where they actively participate through making posting updates and answering queries raised concerning their products and services (Janoski-Haehlen, 2011). Coming at a time when people spend a substantive amount of time in various social media platforms and less physical interactions, their appearance on the different platforms has to be the most effective way to judge them. People have the abilities to determine whatever appears on their various social media platforms and therefore viewed by others and the public; whether proper or not. As such, all things that appear on individuals' postings are usually in place because the individuals allowed for their availability; thus has some reflection on the person and personality (Tenenbaum, 2012).
While a majority argue that most people use the social media as a platform for mere interactions and entertainment and therefore should not be taken as their real, the same have equally made various real interactions with others in similar platforms. There is increased chance that most people today are in job postings they got to know about through social media platforms, either through the individual companies making the advertisements or through someone else' sharing. Ideally, considering that someone took such postings serious and later got the position is a clear indication that the life on social media is equally a reality and that whatever postings one makes, is a clear attribute of the true self (Ying et al. 2018). People should, therefore, be judged based on their social media postings.
Whereas it was previously taken as a mere networking site, social media has evolved to become the greatest community that brings all people together with all their lifestyles and life associations. Social media today has become the major form of public interaction that has converted into the culture and daily lives of individuals (Doas, 2017). The fundamental truth is that since the coming up of social media platforms, physical interactions have become minimal with virtual social interactions taking over from the traditionally-oriented physical interactions. Besides, even with the few instances of physical interactions, social media still becomes the main form of communication in making plans and such arrangements, thus becoming an inclusively part of individuals (Janoski-Haehlen, 2011). Based on such attributes, it is evident that social media posting presents a person's personality, even though not entirely, but a tangible extent for one to establish some character or behavior in the real person (Tenenbaum, 2012).
Being technology-based platforms, social media make up as the fastest and easiest form of communication embraced by many people today. With its capture of the entire world's communications sphere, people must be judged based on what they are on the sites. Before one makes connections or even becomes friends with another on social media, then they go through the other person's social media platforms to have a background check on them. Such an occurrence is a clear indication that people indeed have some aspect of their real life in the social media platforms that provide some provide some reflection of who they are and their personality (Blitsa, Papathanasiou, & Salmanli, 2015). Indeed, discussions about various aspects of people are quickly associated with some element in their social media; either a picture, video, or even posting. Basic understanding of such an occurrence is that people today have their lives defined by the appearance presented on the various social media platforms; a critical justification for judging them based on their postings on such platforms (Ying et al., 2018).
Regardless of the fact that some people make postings just for the sake of it and nothing really serious about them, it still remains that the postings, shares, pictures, and even videos one associate with on the platforms have some identity aspect on them and equally leaving some element of fingerprinting on their person (Janoski-Haehlen, 2011). One's interactions with such aspects on social media reveal much about their value for privacy, their tactical or radical nature of personality, as well as the constraint of the person's language (Janoski-Haehlen, 2011). Determining such aspect from the engagements in various social media platforms is reason enough to have an understanding of the person involved without any physical interactions. The fact that social media platforms provide an insight into some part of a person's personality spectrum is justification enough to judge the people based on what they have on social media (Tenenbaum, 2012).
Those opposed to judging people based on their social media postings argue that first impression is not all about a person and that it is essential to meet someone and get to know them before passing judgment. The technological trends; however, seem to oppose such a directional thought and in turn, limiting the opportunity and chance of physical meet up with people. Ideally, with significant advancements in technology presently, physical interaction and communication are slowly becoming extinct with the technology providing a faster and cheaper medium of making such interactions; the social media platforms (Ying et al., 2018). With such developments, the initial appearance presented from what individuals post, share, or even interact with becomes associated with their personality to some extent and thus a reason to judge them based on such postings.
Social media has become such a powerful tool that even organizations use today in the search for their potential employees before their interviews and recruitment. The interactions with the various parameters established within the social media sites such as privacy and security tell much about a person's interaction with similar aspects in real life (Tenenbaum, 2012). Whereas it is clear that the information posted online usually have a specific target audience, how it is posted paints a certain picture even to the unintended audiences who by any means get to make interactions. It is possible that one could be careful in determining the audience for which he or she wishes to pass a message to; however, the same person lacks any restricts against what another of the audience could do with the information, and to what extent it could reach through sharing (Ying et al., 2018). With such possibilities, it is of vital importance that one cares more about what their online postings attribute as it tells more about them.
Even though people's social media postings could be taken out of context, such occurrences are minimal, and whenever such happen, there is usually some aspect of the posting that does not go well with the audience. Provided that the postings have no privacy restrictions to who they reach or who views them then definitely they will be used in judging the individuals that post them based on their content and how the content is provided (Doas, 2017). The fact that the social media platforms provide for an avenue for people to express their honest views, opinions, and perceptions over other people and issues, it, therefore, equally provides a convenient platform to understand an individual's affiliations, desires, dislikes, and likes (Ying et al. 2018). With such information, it is possible to make an informed judgment of an individual and their attributes, despite not having to interact physically.
The internet from where people access social media sites is a majorly unregulated world with little or no forms of morals or laws that guide people on how it is used. Such an aspect requires that one then has the full control of their activity and engagements while on the platform. Critical to such an occurrence is the fact that people, in turn, make interactions with the social media platforms in ways that some attribute to their personalities and understanding of the internet space (Doas, 2017). It is, therefore, an appropriate gesture to judge people based on the kind of stuff they present on the social media platforms; whether proper or not. Without any regulations attached, except for those determined by an individual's privacy and security settings, one makes an entirely personalized posting depending on how best they feel and understand the situations attributed to such postings. They can, therefore, be judged based on their postings to tell more about who they are in their real personal lives.
Blitsa, D., Papathanasiou, I., & Salmanli, M. (2015). Judges and Social Media: Managing the Risks. SSRN Electronic Journal, 10-35. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2634043
Doas, M. (2017). Increasing self-awareness when posting on social media sites. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 7(8), 101.
Janoski-Haehlen, E. M., (2011). The courts are all a Twitter: The implications of social media use in the courts. Valparaiso University Law Review 46 (1), 43-68.
Tenenbaum, J. (2012). Posting Yourself Out of a Posting: Using Social Networks to Screen Job Applicants in America and Germany. SSRN Electronic Journal.
Ying, Q. et al. (2018). User modeling and usage profiling based on temporal posting behavior in OSNs. Online Social Networks and Media, 8.
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