Hasty Facebook posts hurt others

Written by Chaewon Lee

I’m fairly certain that when Mark Zuckerberg
created the social media network Facebook, he
didn’t mean for it to become what it is for many
teens now: a battlefield for popularity. During
a time heavily influenced by technology, teens
are constantly on Facebook checking their News
Feeds and updating their statuses to make sure
they make their mark on online history. Consequently,
they spend a lot of time pruning their
online-selves to appear as perfect as possible.
However, what they do carelessly on the website
may instead hurt others or even themselves. The
two major Facebook follies? Recklessly posting
everything in the heat of the moment and being
insulting while trying to be funny.
Teenagers are often so confident in the delete
and edit buttons that they post embarrassing or
harmful words online without really thinking.
They forget that even five minutes of exposure is
enough time for hundreds of people to see their
post. Students who reveal information carelessly
usually do so in the heat of their anger, happiness,
sadness, or other strong emotions. For example,
people caught up in anger against each other
often have degrading verbal fights on Facebook
that are completely open for outside parties to
see. Accusations bounce back and forth in full
view of the online public, and by the next day,
everyone at school knows who dumped whom,
who pranked whom, etc. Not only is such lack
of privacy potentially embarrassing, it becomes
fodder for juicy gossip. To avoid such situations,
it’s important to stay off of Facebook when not
in full control of our emotions.
The obsession with being popular on the
social media site has also led to a lot of cyber
bullying, intentional or otherwise. Because being
funny is seen as the golden ticket to achieving
popularity, many students take advantage of
Facebook to increase the audience for their witty
jokes or sarcastic comments. However, there’s a
fine line between being funny and hurtful, and
it’s hard to stay on the funny side. Because talking
online is physically detached, it’s impossible
to see how one’s words affect others. Teasing
between friends especially, can become hostile
on the Internet.
I experienced this firsthand when one of my
friends thought that it would be funny to spread
an embarrassing video of me on Facebook. The
video was of an unsuspecting me failing miserably
at dancing to Kpop at a karaoke party. Of
course the video, titled with the caption, “This is
what Chaewon does when she skips church,” was
sent to all my close friends and recorded completely
without my knowledge. When I found out
about this not-so-funny joke a few days after the
party, I was powerless to take it down because
I didn’t post it; untagging myself didn’t help at
all either because the video was still viewable by
my friends. Needless to say, I didn’t talk to the
videographer for quite awhile, and she learned
that seconds of online funniness are not worth
two months of the silent treatment.
At the end of the day, popularity on the internet
is not worth hurting others or ourselves.
And contrary to what many teenagers believe,
popularity isn’t worth everything. What people
really care about when they make friends are
traits like niceness, friendliness, and honesty
among many others.
Facebook doesn’t need to leave a sour taste in
its young users’ mouths; all people need to do is
think before they post.

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