A fine line: When social media posting goes too far

Peyton Lewis ‘23, Editor-in-Chief

Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok—social media is a staple in our modern society. Millions of users log on daily to share various aspects of their lives for the world to see. In some regards, social media can be extremely beneficial, allowing for people to connect with one another. However, with its ever increasing popularity, social media has become such a normal part of everyday life that many have seemingly forgotten what is “appropriate” to be shared for the ‘world’ to see. Society has become so accustomed to social media as a part of everyday life that we have forgotten the consequences that can occur when we post something for mass amounts of people to see. The internet is forever, but it feels that many have forgotten this simple truth.

One such example is a TikTok posted by four Labor and Delivery nurses early in December. The four employees of Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, took to TikTok posting a video of their patient “icks.” An “ick” is a term commonly used in dating, when someone has a particular trait or habit that instantly makes a person lose romantic interest.  However, these nurses were sharing their “icks” for patients—vulnerable women who they are supposed to be caring for, as this is their job. One nurse stated, “My ick is when you ask me how much the baby weighs, and it’s still in your hands.” Another nurse, in a mocking voice, imitated a patient saying “Excuse me, excuse me can I have some water? Excuse me, can I have a blanket?” 

The since-deleted TikTok went viral with many sharing their disgust and outrage at the nurses. Emory Hospital has since released a statement explaining that the comments made in the video do not reflect the hospital’s values. The statement also said that the hospital has “investigated the situation and taken appropriate action with the former employees responsible in the video.” The use of “former employees” has led many to believe that the nurses responsible for the video were fired from the hospital. 

This TikTok is a perfect representation of an instance where people went too far in their search for social media popularity. These nurses were tasked with caring for pregnant women who are at their most vulnerable, and instead they chose to mock them on a public platform for likes and views. 

Social media has become a dangerously normalized part of our society, especially when it is being used for shallow purposes. Because of this, many have forgotten the consequences that can come from posting everything online to be seen by the public. These nurses were careless in their social media usage, and rightfully so it resulted in the loss of their jobs and heavy criticism online. 

Validation drives oversharing. The internet has created a culture where one more like, share, or follow can create an instant boost of serotonin. Psychology Today said social media can “feed into excessive reassurance-seeking behaviors and unhealthy attempts at getting validation from others. In other words, people often use the opinions of others to feel good about themselves.” Many find themselves chasing this high and are constantly looking for new, more dramatic things to help them gain internet popularity. This can lead to sharing information that should be better kept private. While the validation gained from going viral may feel good, the potential long term consequences will not. 

Strong emotions can also be a driving factor for oversharing. An article by The Conversation said, “When emotional, it is easy for us to cross the boundary between work and social life, underestimating the consequences of social media posts that can quickly go viral.” It is easy to be clouded by one’s emotions when feeling things such as extreme anger, sadness, or even happiness. In a world where social media is an integral part of daily life, extreme emotions and access to hundreds of followers does not make for a good combination. 

Social media can be an amazing tool, which can provide us with entertainment, news, communication and several other resources. However, there is a line that is very easily crossed, and one  that many seem to forget exists;when that line is crossed, social media is no longer beneficial. It is important to be conscientious of what is posted. After all, the internet is forever, and the consequences of such carelessness are, too.

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