Social Media 101: Keep it classy

First impressions are everything. In this day and age it is crucial to make a good impression both online and offline. Social media has truly dominated the world. Millions now have the ability to connect with others across the globe within seconds.

Social media has been a game changer for many. It has revolutionized  modern communication for the new generation. Social media can be seen as a safe haven for many. It can give someone the ability to become anything they wish to be. The quiet kid in history class now has the ability to become an extrovert with thousands of followers.

The possibilities are endless. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide an outlet for thoughts and feelings that would otherwise never be shared out loud. Armed with a smartphone and a one-hundred-forty character limit, people are propelled to speak their minds virtually anywhere.

With a strong media presence, one can easily grow a massive online fanbase. Fame can just be one post away. However, that one posting can possibly lead you down a long road of humiliation and regret.

Student athlete Yuri Wright is a prime example of how speaking your mind on the internet without filtering, could cost you.  In 2012, Wright was a gifted senior athlete at a prestigious Catholic high school. He was ranked 40th in ESPNU 150, and had a bright future ahead of him. Wright was continually being recruited by top universities in the nation. That was until recruitment officers saw his tweets. Even though his account was set on private, Wright had accepted over a thousand followers who could all read his racially and sexually graphic posts. When word got out about the posts, Wright’s football scholarships were stripped away and he was expelled from his high school .

That same year, in Indiana, another high school senior was placed under the heat over his tweets. Faced with insomnia, Carroll turned to Twitter to release his frustration. The senior reportedly dropped an expletive several times in his post, showing his followers that the word could fit anywhere in a sentence. Consequently, Carroll was expelled from his high school, just a couple months shy of graduation.

A valuable lesson can be learned from Carroll and Wright, “think before you hit send”. Even if your account is set on private, you never know who is watching.  Some recruitment and college admission officers look at a student’s social media account to find out their true character. Do not let an inappropriate, 140 character tweet cost you 140,000 dollars in scholarships.

Four tips on how to improve your social accounts:

  1. Filter what’s on your mind: Your first step to cleaning your account should be changing your privacy settings. Only add people you know on your account. Try to restrain yourself posting inappropriate content on your account
  2. Clean up your pictures: Delete anything embarrassing, irrelevant, and inappropriate. If you wouldn’t dare show it to your grandma or parents, it probably should not be online.
  3. Change your handle name if it is inappropriate: Your username is how people contact you and look you up. Having a expletive in your username or something really embarrassing could cost you.
  4. Restrict Tagging: Adjust your privacy settings on Facebook.