Your Reputation Matters…including your on-line presence!

 In Social Media

Can your online presence come back to haunt you? With the extreme popularity of social media and networking sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the likes, you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one (if not all) of your students linked to one of the many digital platforms.

Social media has become a personal stage of expression for many, but the unfortunate mistake a lot of young people make is in thinking that their online privacy is, well, private. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although the intention of many users is to create a safe space where one can voice their own views, opinions, and ideas, the problem with this is in thinking that these posts will never extend past your friend’s list or followers. While your posts and tweets may be aimed towards a specific audience, the reality is that you are sharing with a whole network of people, who in turn share with their network of people. What you say, no matter if it’s on your “private” page is there for everyone to see. We’ve all been in the moment before, having fun, doing what typical teenagers do, posting those good time photos without any care in the world, and sometimes you may even decide to delete it later. However, the dilemma; it’s already out there. The World Wide Web is a never-ending portal into our past, and while not every perspective college or employer uses this method as acceptance, some will surely use it at their discretion.

We see more and more employees getting into trouble for posts they have made on social media. In recent news, Parkland shooting survivor and pro-Second Amendment activist, Kyle Kashuv took to social media to voice his feelings regarding Harvard University’s decision to rescind his acceptance as a result of racist remarks he made before the 2018 massacre. In a Twitter post, Kyle used his platform to acknowledge the “abhorrent racial slurs” he and classmates made when they were 16-years-old “in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible,” adding that “Harvard deciding that someone can’t grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning. If any institution should understand growth, it’s Harvard, which is looked to as the pinnacle of higher education despite its checkered past.”

An incident that occurred two years ago, yet the repercussions continue to manifest today. Kyle’s story is one of many. For years, educators have informed students about the consequences associated with posting negative material online. However, social media isn’t going away anytime soon, so it’s imperative that we also teach students about the importance of building a positive digital atmosphere. When used properly, social media can have a great impact on schools, scholarships, internships and employment opportunities.

The old saying goes, “think before you speak,” but when it comes to social media, it might be a good idea to “think before you post!”

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