You may have heard that the internet has made major changes in the world since its creation. One major part of that lays with the widespread use of social media. What is social media? Chances are you can already answer that question. According to PEW research, 69% of American adults engage in some form of social media online. Click here to see their research and review other interesting social media facts they have created on their facts sheets. Social media is any form of web media where people share photos, videos, music, and thoughts with each other. These powerful platforms have expanded the ways in which people communicate today. Families can remain in constant contact and share their experiences over long distances. Friends and coworkers are 1 click away with various platforms available specific for specific groups.

Think back to the days before the internet. If people wanted to share a moment with others that they had recently experienced they would use pictures. Buying a disposable camera, taking pictures (hoping they are visible), then going to the store to have them developed. Then when meeting with friends or family they could share that experience with them. In comparison today, almost every phone has a camera function. People can take a photo or a video and with a few clicks share it instantly with whoever they choose. To take it even further they can chat through video in real time, at anytime, anywhere in the world.

Social media can tell a lot about a person depending on their activity levels on such site. Employers are now using social media to research a potential employee. Why would a job care what you post on social media? First off social media can give them an idea of a person’s character based on posts or images posted. It is often an early impression for the employer to see you. As social media has evolved so have the platforms for such. Even consider the popular site Linkedin as a form of social media. This site creates an environment for professional profiles to be shared throughout employers.

While the above examples are great tools to use it is important to be mindful and ensure they are used responsibly. Understanding that what is shared can be seen by millions of people is an important first step. Many people feel a sense of comfort while online and posting, however they do not realize that what they post is now a public statement. Internet privacy has been a major concern in the past few years and we have covered that topic on a separate page, please feel free to read that aspect. Children especially, need to be aware of the dangers of social media. Bullying within social media platforms is a growing issue today. Also, there are many bad people in todays world and social media makes it easier for them to reach innocent children.

In conclusion, social media is a wonderful tool for all of us to use. The ability to understand how to use these sites is important for everyone to know and understand. Social media is only growing and evolving further and more people will become active users as the years pass. Enjoy the experience but remember everything that you post should be looked at as public information regardless of you level of privacy settings. Safe surfing everyone!

This article originally appeared on gtxfun.com.