We live in an immediate gratification era because where and when we want something we do it, when we feel something we say it and when we want attention we get it. While this is incredible because we literally have the world at our fingertips, but it can also be dangerous.

Let me explain a bit with an old metaphor of the bottle of toothpaste. When you want the toothpaste you squeeze it open and get your paste. If you squeeze too much you’re stuck with having to have a mouth full of paste or washing half of it down the drain. My teachers always related this to words and actions. In a nutshell, they said that once you say or do something you cannot undo it. If you say something nasty about someone you can’t take it back. Even if you say you want to take it back it doesn’t matter because the thought has been expressed and whoever heard can never unhear it. Yes, they can forgive you and move on, but you can’t completely forget the words or how it made you feel. And the same goes with our actions.

One action in particular that I think resonates with this metaphor is posting on social media.

We literally post our lives and frankly too much of them on our social media accounts. Everyone thinks that they have the right opinion to share that will change the entire mind of society and believe me not all of these opinions are pearls. For example, take the election season, this is the time I believe people get incredibly aggressive especially on social media. And believe you me, I know that people are passionate and I am not saying they don’t have a right to be. By all means, express your beliefs, but please have some civility in your social engagement don’t just belittle others for the sake of “winning” an argument. If anything takes advantage of the moment as an educational opportunity with as little all-caps sentence as possible.

I think we all know better than to assume that we can completely get rid of our digital history. Social media is the electronic paper trail we leave behind us as we engage in a different platform. Take Snapchat for example, those photos are not entirely deleted. They are probably sitting in a server somewhere not to mention the fact that you can screenshot the photos. Sure you get notified but it’s not like you can instantly stop somebody from then sharing the photo and so on spreading like a wildfire. Not every screenshot will end in doom, not the point, but there needs to a caution when sending pictures back and forth to each other. As well as Instagram it can easily also be screenshotted and used against you. Now people who follow you can send your photo to others.

All that being said a picture is worth a thousand words and what do yours say?

Lately everyone is so worried about their aesthetic that it doesn’t seem to be quite as big of an issue. However, people get themselves into a lot of hot water over photos and words. People have been fired over Facebook posts and others aren’t even considered for the position because of their social media feed.

Consider this: You’re social media is a projection of you. Often times it is the first impression someone gets before even meeting you. And you can bet your bottom dollar that people get the wrong impression just from seeing social media accounts. Look at Tinder, lol, people decide if they want to engage with others based off of five photos and like maybe 100 characters or less of description.

This is not actual toothpaste that you can wash down the drain and forget about. Before you post mull it over if it is actually appropriate. Don’t hinder your self expression but don’t put something out there that you will regret.