Dr. Peggy Drexler is a research psychologist, professor, and author of two books about modern families. A contributor to WSJ, Time, Forbes, CNN, HuffPost, Psychology Today, Hello Giggles, and the Daily Beast, she has also appeared on national television including TODAY, Good Morning America, and Bloomberg.
Janie’s typical day went something like this: Wake up. Check Facebook (while still lying in bed). Post something witty — possibly a bit crass — to Twitter. (Janie prided herself on her caustic sense of humor.) Get up. Use phone to snap quick selfie in the bathroom mirror and upload it to Instagram (caption: #hungover #again #ugh). With her long, red hair framing her flawlessly pale face, she looked good, and she knew it. She wouldn’t have posted the photo otherwise.
From there, Janie would get dressed and head to the library to research jobs. For three months now, the search had been fruitless, something she chronicled diligently on Facebook (“Why won’t anyone f*cking hire me!”) and Twitter (“Can’t get job. Is it me? Or is it everyone else? #idiots”). To Instagram, meanwhile, she’d post photos of herself at the beach, out to lunch, or shopping downtown. For someone upset about not having steady work, she sure seemed to be enjoying herself. And, that, of course, was her point. “I might be having a hard time finding a job, but I don’t want people to think I’m sitting around feeling sorry for myself,” she told me.
Janie hadn’t stopped to think that perhaps her inability to get hired might have something to do with her openness on — and her obsession with — social media. After all, she argued, “I’m not doing anything different than what millions of other people are doing.” And, she was right — for the most part. After all, these days, thanks to social media and the feeling of being "watched" it helps to inspire, everyone’s a reality star, whether their circle of followers is in the teens or the tens of thousands.
Social media has provided a platform for just about anyone looking to project a certain image of themselves. It has made us, in many ways, more accessible to one another — and more accountable, too. But, social media can be a road to career trouble.