The first rebellious act of my youth was creating a Facebook account in eighth grade without my parents' permission... pretty hardcore, I know. Maybe they were trying to protect me from the inevitably embarrassing feeling I have now looking back at the pictures of my friends and me in our most tragic state of awkwardness, and the shame in knowing that those pictures are out there on the internet forever no matter how many times I try to untag myself or delete them. My parents were trying to protect me from the "great unknown" the internet poses, and the ability to connect with anyone around the world. In reflection, I truly believe they had no reason to worry; I was too busy with my Webkinz and replying to my "Truth is" status to connect with anyone besides the friends I knew from school. But some people approach social media in an entirely different way.
My approach to social media has remained largely the same as it was in eighth grade; I share pictures and information and connect with friends. Yet, it has unintentionally developed to become a method for me to market myself to potential business partners as a microinfluencer. My authentic content is occasionally noticed by companies who reach out to collaborate on my platform in exchange for free products. This opportunity has brought me further into many modeling opportunities, including working at market for my favorite dress designer, Sherri Hill. Ultimately, I am proud to say that I would not take anything back. Once my parents discovered my social media accounts, they were clear about their expectations regarding proper posting and understood the repercussions this may have.
Meanwhile, some people's parents may have never been that filter for their social media accounts. I witnessed friends and acquaintances posting regrettable statuses and pictures throughout my time on social media, posts which they could not take back. In one instance, a fellow Miss Teen USA competitor, who eventually won the entire competition, landed under extreme scrutiny for Tweeting a derogatory word about Black people. There was discussion about her crown being taken away, critical articles posted about her, and her time as Miss Teen USA was tainted by this situation. She remained out of the spotlight for the majority of her time with the title.
While I in no way support what she said on Twitter, it taught me a valuable lesson about the consequences of the words I say. lt made me even more cautious about the comments I post, videos I like, and petitions I support because you never know when something you said could come back to bite you in the butt. And while I would love to remove the embarrassing pictures of me in a rainbow tutu and striped knee socks from eighth grade, I haven't lived to regret it.
Savannah Wix, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2018 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: Knowing that nothing can truly be deleted off the internet, think back to a time when you started using social media. Would your approach to social media be different if you were starting over?