Tracking you down: How your social footprint can lead to your downfall

Mia Scott, Opinion Writer

Picture this: you’re walking on a cold winter’s night with miles of snowy landscape in front of you. How can one tell that you got from point A to point B? That’s right: those imprints your shoes make in the white, pillow-like snow. The same can be said in an online setting. Every click you make on your laptop during the late hours of night, every post you like on Instagram, all those pictures you send your friends on Snapchat can be traced back to your device. It doesn’t matter whether or not you deleted that picture, search or instant message. Every action you take online stays online. Given all this scary information, Gen Z still doesn’t seem to grasp the importance of this fact. Out of sight, out of mind right?

Wrong. Imagine a scenario in which you walk into a job interview and get turned down. You don’t understand why. You’ve done the work, you have all of the qualifications and you are charismatic enough to pass said interview. Why would they do this?

Did you know many employers look into your Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat? According to Huffington Post, many companies use search engines and social media to dig up information about potential candidates. I interviewed a Human Resources Manager who looks into every social media account they can find on a person before making a decision. They’ve  turned down many job-seekers simply based on their tweet about going to a party, their Instagram stories about a fight they got in, etc. Anyone, random people too, can tell a great deal about you via your digital footprint; It’s essentially your permanent reputation. Scary right?

Even your captions on posts or your tweets can get you fired from your job, no matter how old they are. Pictures you take can ruin your life. Published words can be misinterpreted, so you have to watch every word typed. Now don’t get me wrong, I use social media every day. The key is to watch what you say and do, because words and pictures not only affect yourself, but others as well. Use these guidelines in life because reputations last a lifetime.