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I’m currently a senior in college, and so when I interact with others, I’m often asked one question: What do I want to do with my life after college?
My response varies, but I often ask for advice from professionals who have information on how to make the process less daunting. Most people give varying answers depending on their professional fields, but one piece of advice resonates and recurs throughout most conversations:
“Market yourself. Do it through more informal steams like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And also, project the professional side of yourself on LinkedIn! Blog about the details of your life; write about other people who fascinate you. Get your name, your ideas and your strengths out there.”
It seems like an intuitive concept: there is most definitely a positive correlation between how many appearances you make (online or in reality) and how many times you, or the ideas that you present, cross other people’s minds. If you’ve been through other people’s minds even for a nanosecond, you’re more relevant. The more relevant you are, the more your contributions will be recognized.
Somehow, my generation seems to be revolted by this concept. Saying too much about oneself and sharing information on social media isn’t considered very “cool,” and I’m here to investigate why.
Facebook became viral when I was 14 years old, and a middle schooler. It was an affliction that never left anyone’s minds—every two minutes; people would update their statuses or wall-to-wall conversations with updates on their meals, haircuts, conversations, relationships, achievements… the list goes on. Facebook allowed people to take selfies (pictures of oneself, taken by oneself) that portrayed everyone at their best angles with the best lighting, and compliments were given out openly through comments. For a while, everyone was happy.
Today, my status feed mostly Buzzfeed articles and political commentaries. Of course, people post about pop culture—Miley was my news feed for a good 4 hours. But nobody writes about themselves.
The first step to answering why would be to ask myself: who are my friends on Facebook? As aforementioned, I’ve had an account since I was 15. There are numerous people who were in my life then whose whereabouts I am unaware of today. This isn’t to say that I harbor any negativity towards them—I just don’t have any idea who they are. For the longest time, I asked myself: “why would I share information about my life with a list of people who I don’t even know? What sort of assumptions will they draw about me?”
Also, it’s the immediacy of it all—the craft of Facebooking doesn’t have merit because there are fewer tricks to the trade. Applications such as Instagram allow pictures to be edited and cropped, and though they are not hard to use, they allow for more personalization.
Last, but not least, is privacy. In this day and age, robberies (such as the one carried out by the Bling Ring, a group of teenagers who robbed celebrities such as Paris Hilton, recently enacted in a Sofia Coppola film), are carried out when people announce that they are away for a night or two. Let’s not forget the controversy over NSA’s surveillance data mining—social media sites have come to resemble an inescapable Orwellian giant.
Social media is daunting because it tracks the evolution of friendships, opinions, and achievements. At the age of 17, when I realized that employers could track my every move, I stopped posting. I didn’t know who I was or what I was projecting into cyber-wildnerness.
Now that certain adolescent insecurity is gone, I believe that it’s better to project some notion of who I am and what I stand for than none at all. I prefer to get my ideas out there than to have them fade away into nothingness. Interestingly enough, this phenomenon and inner discovery is now molding me into a more confident person.
At this day and age, we have to acknowledge that technology is constantly monitoring us, and that there are records of every second move we make. But this should encourage us to be our best selves, so that we can project these best selves into the Internet.
Guest post by Saman Nargund: Saman is currently a senior at Tufts University studying International Relations & Philosophy. Born in Singapore, Saman is a bit of a global nomad, as she has also lived in Moscow and Dubai. Alongside her stint with Maryam, Saman has also interned at the Singaporean Foreign Service, American Islamic Congress (a non-profit organisation), and the Singaporean trade development board. Saman lives for bubble tea, enchanting conversations, and good books. Saman is seeking opportunities in the entrepreneurial world upon her graduation in 2014, so email her and add her on LinkedIn if you’d like to find out more!