Social media is to us millennials what juggling sharp, flaming objects is to newbie circus performers. There’s a potential to look like a total badass and land a job from becoming Insta-famous, but the more likely scenario involves some bloodshed. Massive networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can catapult careers into bathtubs-made-of- gold status. But let’s face reality—that happens once in a blue moon. Still, college students will continue to embrace their web presence so we must keep in mind the possible ways social media can drain the life out of careers before they start.
1. You’ll Enlarge Your Ego
When did social media turn into your mother’s refrigerator? You know, the spot where all your greatest awards, accomplishments and first date photos go to shine. College students who feed off social media get big headed. Oh, you won the award for best chemist with two left hands at your school—thanks for sharing. With socially boosted egos and padded resumes, college students think they are en fuego, which becomes dangerous because they think they can run the show. Remember that you still have a long way to go before you’ve really made it, so keep it under your hat.
2. You’ll VALUE FAKE CONNECTIONS
Whoever amasses the most Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections gets the Editor job, right? I bet that guy you connected with on LinkedIn, whom you haven’t spoken with in five years, will totally be your leg up in the business world. Instead of developing genuine relationships, social media teaches us quantity over quality. Social media is all about flashing those digits, but the truly inspiring careers come from the people you communicate and interact with on a daily, weekly or even a monthly basis.
3. You’ll TURN INTO A POLITICIAN
Social media requires people to put their personal lives in the spotlight, so college students (sometimes) think twice before they seek vengeance on Twitter or post drunken Facebook photos. This tightrope act only makes people into politicians—choosing every move on the Internet as carefully and strategically as playing Risk with your family. Knowing that anyone could see the good, the bad or the Arianna Grande-licking-donuts type ugly, college students end up fostering the same innocuous cookie-cutter images. Yawn.
4. You’ll EXCESSIVELY “GROOM” INSTEAD OF “DO”
Acting like a politician on social media keeps scandals at arms’ length, but many college students spend just as much time styling their hair and plucking their eyebrows to become premier candidates. From listing every previous job on Facebook to live tweeting how each exam goes, where does the madness end? Social grooming causes you to focus on making yourself look good and forget about the volunteering on weekends and tutoring on weeknights that got you here in the first place. Spend less time sculpting your ‘brows in the morning and more time getting your hands dirty.
5. YOU’LL FLAT LINE ON THE REAL LIFE SKILLS
Knowing how to take a fire selfie and finding the best filter produces likes, but having top-notch communication skills produces jobs. You know, that skill you spent four or more years trying to burn into your brain? Every college student knows how to create and operate social media accounts—the truly impressive go above and beyond.
6. YOU’ll isolate potential employers
Imagine applying for your first job and finding out the employer is even older than your parents. “Who’s Snapchat?” the employer asks. “Oh, I think I went to college with a guy named Reddit.” Kids these days call it ‘being old school,’ but whether you like it or not, person-to-person contact remains paramount. A hard copy of your resume chronicles your professional past better than awkwardly impersonal emails.