Originally published on unwritten.com
Believe it or not, I have been very active on social media platforms since I was 10 years old. My parents wanted to give me an audience from a very young age because my stepdad is a well-known motivational speaker. My mother and stepfather have always wanted my step-brother and me to each have our own personal brands, so eventually, they decided it would be a good idea to buy us domain name URLs.
So, if you think about it, I’ve been set with my own brand for years, but I didn’t start to use my URL until I was in 8th grade, when my parents thought I was old enough and mature enough to handle my website.
Although my parents first let me have a Myspace when I was 10, they would monitor it regularly. It wasn’t until I was about 12 years old that I got my first-ever laptop and had full control of my social media accounts.
Back then, I mostly used then.com, which was a Nickelodeon-inspired site for teenagers, and I was on the site all the time, mainly meeting people online. I loved being on the Internet and having online friends who don’t see my disability or my wheelchair right off the bat. At the time, this was an excellent escape for me since people bullied me in middle school.
It was great for me to go online and hide behind a mask.
I also had a Yahoo Messenger account, where I would talk to my friends from school, but I transferred over to Facebook when it came out in 2009. I loved it, but I was careless with the things I would post. Everything was about my ex-boyfriend and our “puppy love.”
I considered Facebook to be like my diary for the public to read, not realizing how it could affect me, and how I would always leave a mark when I posted something.
I had to learn the hard way that social media can either make you or break you in everything you do in your life, from your career to your family life. If you use it the wrong way, it can take everything that you desire. The Internet reflects you in such a big way, especially nowadays, since almost everyone is on social media.
When thinking about the choices I made on social media, my biggest regret is not thinking of the effect those posts may have had on the people who looked at me as a role model.
For example, look at Roseanne Barr and how one careless tweet destroyed her brand and her career. She tweeted racist things about Muslims and about a former top adviser to President Barack Obama being an ape. I think that’s both disrespectful and disgusting.
This is one of the main reasons why you should think about what you post.
Your posts reflect you as a person, and they can hurt others in the long run.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned through using social media outlets over the years is that you can never go back into cyberspace. People can take screenshots of your posts, so your posts are always going to be there. I hope Roseanne learned her lesson, but I also hope that everybody will learn a lesson from her mistakes and realize how the words that we type can impact us forever.