Get Smart Tip #3: Be Selective About Sharing on Social Media
It seems just about everyone is using social networking, adults and kids alike. The proliferation of apps results in endless posts about everything from cat escapades to crowdfunding campaigns to what’s for dinner. Given that social media posts are designed for public consumption — and that many of us don’t have personal relationships with the people who follow and friend us on social channels — it’s clear that, in many cases, we’re not just sharing, we’re over-sharing.
It’s important to remember — especially for students — that the photos, observations, and activities that are posted on social media can have an impact far beyond a circle of online friends and followers. According to a recent Kaplan Test Prep survey, 68% of colleges feel that applicants’ social media profiles are "fair game" when it comes to the admissions process, and 29% of admissions officers say they have used social media to make decisions about prospective students. The numbers only go up with prospective employers: CareerBuilder’s 2018 social media recruitment survey revealed that 70% of employers use social media to research job candidates, and 57% said that what they’ve seen on social profiles has caused them to reject an applicant.
All social media users should assume that everything posted on social networks is public and permanent; this should be stressed to anyone who is a new user (a child or older parent, for example). Even if privacy settings are engaged or posts are supposed to “disappear” after a few seconds, that can’t stop a follower from taking a screen shot or downloading an image. Deleted items aren’t necessarily gone, and copy/paste functions can allow posts to live for an eternity.
A great piece of advice: If you wouldn’t say it to or share it with a stranger, it probably shouldn’t be posted on social media. Students in particular should be cautious of the personas they create for themselves online because of the potential future ramifications.