Another school year has begun and is moving rapidly for me at Ball State University. Like many other students, between classes I check my Facebook or Twitter from my laptop or my phone to see the latest gossip or update my status. In three short years, I will be graduating from here and looking for my first job. But what if pictures or things I say on my Facebook sway an employer one way or another on me, even before I land the job interview? Concerns like this were recently discussed in one of my journalism classes and we students found out some things we need to do to "clean" up our social media accounts.
Social media is changing the world drastically in so many ways that the everyday person cannot keep up. It's constantly evolving and is dictating people's interactions with people they know and with the world. It's a revolution that will be around for quite a few years and will constantly evolve.
This new technology is making its way around friends faster than ever before. So isn't it about time for social media to be discussed in the classroom? Well, it has been discussed in the past few years as a great change to today's world. What hasn't been discussed until recently is how it can hurt the average college kid looking for a job after graduation.
In one of my journalism classes at Ball State University, we recently discussed social media and how it can hurt those of us who will be looking for jobs in the next few years. Many don't think that the pictures of them holding a beer or pictures of them stumbling around campus are that big of a deal. The usual phrases are "well, I have my privacy settings on" or "I don't have my privacy settings on but no one is going to look at my pictures anyway." Both statements are told of many students- both can still be hurtful.
Pictures are probably the biggest concern of employers right now. Although they don't all look at social media websites, many of them are starting too. And too many college students post photos of things they shouldn't be posting, especially illegal things when they are under age.
In my class, we were told about some basic things we could do on Facebook and other social media sites that would help us in our job search.
College students need to clean up our Facebooks. What exactly does that mean?
The first step of cleaning up Facebook is with photos. I was told in class that I need to untag myself in photos that I uploaded or that my friends uploaded that are inappropriate for the eyes of a future employer. For some students, this part of the "clean up" will be a piece of cake. For others, they might end up with about half the amount of photos they had before they started cleaning up. Once they are up on Facebook, photos are in cyberspace so the best thing to do is untag inappropriate photos.
Another factor students need to clean up are statuses. We are all guilty of posting statuses that are offensive or inappropriate. Good advice that I learned that day in class was to go through my Facebook and delete any statuses that are not appropriate for the Internet and those who view my page.
One of the biggest problems with Facebook is conversations that occur between friends. We don't really think about what we are saying to our friend because it's our friend- but all of our friends and all of their friends can see it. Then someone else could re-post what we said and so on. It's a big deal. In class, it was suggested that we remove potentially harmful things that we have said to other people and things they have said to us. Even if individuals are joking, you never know what a future employer might think of a student's "that's what she said" joke.
In my Ball State class, I learned a lot about social media and the implications it can have on my future career. I don't have as much cleaning up as some other students do, but we are all guilty of having one or two inappropriate things on the web.
Social media is good if you use it responsibility and intelligently.
Until next time, carpe diem.
Sara Nahrwold is a sophomore journalism major at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is from Ossian, Indiana, close to Fort Wayne. She has written for the Ball State Daily News, the campus newspaper for the features section. She also has a weekly column for the paper entitled “Nahrwords.” Sara can be reached at email@example.com.
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