Over the years, I have worked with many amazing young people. They are inspiring, energetic, and hard-working. After they complete their program, they reach out to me on social media as a way to keep in touch. These are former participants and students who I think are absolutely amazing!
However, when I scroll past their posts, I just have to smh (shake my head). I am so disheartened by what I see.
I really want them to succeed, but it looks like they are setting themselves up to fail. I and other staff members have had numerous conversations with all of my students and participants. We STRESS the importance of social media and how it can affect them getting accepted to college and getting or keeping a job. But unfortunately, this message is not being heard (siggghhhhhhh).
I am writing this post as last attempt to get teens and young adults to see that what is being posted on social media can affect their future. I am pleading, please take a step back and look how someone else may view what you post online.
Dear young people,
I know that you have grown up with social media and post all the intimate details of your life from what you had for dinner to the name calling of someone who is now your Ex so-and-so. It’s easy to forget when you are sitting behind the screen on your computer, tablet, or phone that sooooo many people are reading what you post and that it can be interpreted in a number of ways.
It doesn’t matter if your Facebook page is personal or professional. It’s still a public page. Employers, colleagues, and colleges are able to look at your social media pages. The way you portray yourself online can prevent you from being hired, getting into college, or even keeping your current job! Employers and Admissions personnel want to hire people or enroll students with good moral character, not someone they have to worry about displaying illicit behavior or getting arrested. What you choose to post also shows whether you use good or poor judgement. If you are demonstrating poor judgement about what you post, they are going to be concerned about your judgement at work or school.
You want people to take you seriously and hear what you have to say, not focus on what you’re posting and be offended. Once someone sees these things, they can’t unsee them… Trust me, on some of your posts, I really wish I could.
Here are some tips on what to leave off of your social media pages (and really should follow) to have a professional social media presence. (And yes, these were all things I have seen).
JUST STOP and AVOID POSTING …
Posting sexy or half-naked pics of yourself
If you are under 18, this considered child porn, and you can be arrested, charged, and be put on the sex offender registry. Yes, this really happens! Keep some of the mystery.
Pictures of or discussing illegal activities
Why would you document yourself doing this. This is how a lot of cops and prosecutors build their cases for prosecution.
You might also argue, “I was just quoting song lyrics.” Old people don’t get them (They are the ones hiring, enrolling, and firing you), and they think you are posting your own thoughts in your own words. Also, why are you repeating them? It’s just as bad.
Forwarding porn, videos of people trying to rape someone, “the ways to please your man/woman – with visuals”
(Even if it’s a cartoon) – This is porn, and forwarding it is a cyber crime. This is not funny or a joke. Someone is being assaulted against their will.
Using inappropriate hand gestures
This includes giving the middle finger or gang signs.
Use a different words. You can even substitute “mess.” It really does work for most situations.
Using racial epithets and/or slurs
Changing the end of the word to an “a” doesn’t make it okay!
Posting pics of yourselves at parties with red cups or alcohol
Especially if you are under 21, it is ILLEGAL. Even if you don’t drink, people don’t know that there is not alcohol in the cups.
Posting your personal fights or anger toward your boo
Write it in a text message, or have the conversation in person.People are only reading one line that you posted and don’t know the whole story. It makes you look unbalanced or like you have anger management problems.
Complaining about your company or organization, boss, colleagues, or how much you hate your job
This is the quickest way to lose it.
Using poor grammar when looking for jobs in group forums
You need to use proper grammar and punctuation. If you are misspelling words, people are going to perceive you as ignorant, and misspelling the words doesn’t make it any better. You still have to put your best foot forward in order to get the interview.
Reread what you typed before you post it. Employers and colleges want to know that you can write a complete sentence.
I really want you to succeed, but I can not want it more than you. You need to make the positive decisions to help yourself succeed!
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