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How social media posts shape your personal image

Posted at 11:07 AM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 11:07:43-04

Relationships can be complicated enough without the ambiguity or judgement on social media. Many personal matters are out there online for all of your "friends" to see. Four in Your Corner shows how you can control the narrative.

Social media marketing professor at FGCU, Dr. Gina Tran, says you don't have to overthink things. You just need to be considerate. She says, "First, you want to make sure you're both on the same page before you start logging on to all your social media accounts and announcing the new relationship. Second, you kind of want to think about what you're sharing about the other person, and does it cast them in a negative light that can be taken poorly by people who care about you? You want this person to be presented fairly online by you." 

Posting about a breakup or divorce might be a little more challenging. Tran says, "That is a tough one. I prefer the "rip that band-aid off" approach. And, just be forthright and authentic and just say this relationship didn't work out and you don't have to go into details. Just let the general Facebook audience know that this relationship didn't work out and then I'm working through things." Being authentic doesn't mean you have to tell everything. If you do and have posting remorse, Dr. Trans says it will take some work, but you can clean up the past. She suggests, "Untag yourself from photos you don't want to of yourself out there, that you want to be associated with that social media profile. Clean up everything that you can. Delete, edit accordingly. If you don't have access because you lost that password or, you no longer use the email that's associated with that email, you can contact the company of that social media site and provide them with ID and a written letter that you need access to have this deleted basically."

For future posts, consider the grandparent test. Tran says, "What would your grandmother or grandfather say if they saw that online? Keep that in mind so when you think about that, if it's cringe worthy, embarrassing, shaming you in someway, and perhaps you should rethink putting it out there online. Just give it a break. Give it 24 hours and if you're still that compelled to share it online, then perhaps you should." She adds that using a pseudo name for your profile adds a decent layer of privacy but warns that if people are industrious online and look far enough, they could potentially still find you.