As if we can't stress this enough, social media has become an inevitable part of our daily lives. It can even be inarguably considered an extension of our own selves and personalities. And while that is relatively true, it has also become a habit for other people to develop 'social media bias' where a person's entire worth is based on who they are online.
Just recently, aspiring marketing intern Emily Clow shared in a series of tweets that she was shamed by the company she's applying for, with screenshots of her bikini posts ending on their Instagram stories tagged as "unprofessional".
When the post went viral, of course, many people of varying opinions chimed in. Some sided with Clow, saying that a person's capabilities should not be measured by what they post or not post on social media, even finding it tacky why a company is asking for socials for employment in the first place. Others, however, think that while the company's approach is also unprofessional, they are still coming from a reasonable standpoint. It's due to the idea that in today's world, your Facebook or Instagram account is just as good as your calling card. With this, we ask: should your online presence define your work ethic and the other way around?
It's worth noting that even celebrities aren't safe from social media bias. Game of Thrones and Dark Phoenix star Sophie Turner shared in an interview that she snagged a role from a better actress just because of her social media following. "It’s not right, but it is part of the movie industry now," she stated.
And while it's not exactly as tragic as being rejected, it might be a massive blow to the ego knowing that you got a job or a role not just because of your skills or talents. Many also become number-obsessed given this mentality, losing actual passion and dedication to one's craft. In all honesty, it's like Black Mirror's Nosedive episode taking over our daily lives.
So how do we deal with all these? Ideally, people's social media life isn't all there is to it. Proper qualification processes are in place to know if someone can handle the job they're applying for or not. However, given today's reliance on social media, the balance between freedom of expression and discretion becomes a tricky thing.
On one hand, bikini photos shouldn't be a baseline for one's ability to become a great copywriter, marketer, executive, etc. But posting lewd or hammered photos on socials for your officemates and clients to see is where the line should be drawn. Sharing anything that might tarnish the name of your work environment or your company is also something to mull over before hitting that 'post' button, which is pretty common sense but is still worth putting out there as a reminder. Bottomline is, unless you know how to set your limits when your professional life typically crosses over your personal affairs, you might want to set up separate accounts for both. Do it like Gen Z kids and create a Fake Instagram a.k.a. Finsta.
In conclusion, as much as we'd like to separate ourselves from our social media presence or say that whatever we post has nothing to do with who we are in our careers, in this age, it's a correlation that's hard to pick apart from one another. There will always be external judgement no matter how cautious we are, so we say stay free, stay casual, stay fun, but know where to draw the line.