A Teen’s Perspective: What Your Followers Say About Your Character…

by guest blogger, Lexie Maitland

These days, your ranking in a popularity contest is often determined by the amount of followers you have on social media. We are constantly trying to attract followers because we think it will increase our popularity, but what most people don’t take into consideration is that your followers can reflects upon your digital reputation. For example, that 20 something year old follower of yours that always posts videos of himself doing drugs can actually reflect poorly on YOU! I know, shocker, right? How could someone that follows you affect YOUR digital reputation?

How Does it Work?

I have to admit, the first time I heard this, I was shocked too. I didn’t understand how this could be the case, or why people who follow me would have anything to do with my reputation online. Believe it or not, they do. And, the more followers you have that you don’t know personally, the the bigger the risk to you. Let’s say that a random person gets on your account- or better yet, a sports scout, a college admissions officer, someone on a scholarship committee, or a potential employer. They have never met you and don’t know anything about you, but they decide to stalk your account to learn about who you really are. They look at all your followers, because that says something about you.  If they see a bunch of teens with alcohol in their profile picture following you, they are most likely going to assume that you associate yourself with those people. They may even believe that you are just like them.  Or, what will someone who can admit you to college, award you a scholarship, or give you a job think of you if they see that you have 983 followers?  Especially since very few average teens even know that many people.  Today, you should assume that colleges and future employers will scroll through your feeds and your followers. What impression are you giving them? Would your followers reflect positively upon you or negatively?

Today, you should assume that colleges and

How to Create a Positive Follower Base

You may be thinking, “How am I supposed to control who follows me?” This seems like a logical concern, but there are actually many ways to do so.

1.) Make your account private.  If you make your account private, you will instantly get full control of who follows you. You will be notified every time someone requests to follow you and if you would prefer that they don’t follow you you can simply deny the request.

2.) Blocking is your friend.  If you already have some followers that you think could compromise your digital reputation, simply block them. Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. Chances are, they won’t even notice. By blocking someone you can ensure that they won’t ever follow you again.

3.) Don’t allow random strangers to follow you.   If someone suspicious requests to follow you, don’t be afraid to decline their access to you. Forget about hurting someone’s feelings- you have to watch out for your safety and reputation online first and foremost.  Random strangers don’t rank high on the “follower priority list.”  (Unless that random stranger happens to be Luke Bryan’s real Twitter account:)

So next time you check the number of followers you have, remember to ask yourself the more important question, “Are these people reflecting positively on me and my digital reputation?” Remember also, quality is actually far more important than quantity. Having fewer followers that promote themselves positively on social media, who inspire or motivate you, or who build others up says volumes about your character.