NORTH CAROLINA -- Social media can have a significant impact on people's lives, both positive and negative.
- It's become more common as social media's influence grows
- Experts are using viral videos as a teaching tool in the classroom on a daily basis
- Data shows the percentage of employers who check social media pages in the hiring process nearly doubled between 2013 and 2015
Last week, a Winston-Salem man lost his job after a video of him went viral and millions of comments online suggested he was racist.
It's become more common as social media's influence grows, experts say in a digital age no one is really safe from the internet.
John T. Mims, a communications professor at High Point University says, "Every time you walk out of your home, you have to recognize you are on camera, you are building or destroying your personal brand."
Mims says he uses viral videos as a teaching tool in the classroom on a daily basis.
"It's not just the viral video, but why did that video go viral?" He says, "What are the things in society that made that go viral?"
With the possibility of anything you do going viral, Mims says we should we act like we are on the job all the time.
"We've always been on the job all the time. The difference is that now our mistakes are amplified and can reach back to our employer much quicker, and we are really representing the companies we work for all the time."
Chief Human Resources Officer at UNCG, Victoria Benson, says HR departments regularly reinforce policies that highlight company values.
"We make them aware as often as we can that you can be recorded. What you say on Facebook and Twitter -- if everyone that follows you, that works with you, and you go on rant just -- you know, that there are some consequences that will come with that."
While many viral videos elicit positive reactions, it's the ones that rub people the wrong way that lead companies to make tough decisions.
"You have to do what's the best interest for the people. Does that mean this person can never come back and work here again? No. But you have to do what's in the best interest for the university or the company you work for."
The latest data from online statistics database 'Statista' shows the percentage of employers who check social media pages in the hiring process nearly doubled between 2013 and 2015.