“Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology,” this quote said by Brian Solis is more relevant in our society today than it has ever been. As we move into a more ‘technologically advanced’ society, social media has become an evident, if not essential, part of our lives. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. – they have all become popular ways of connecting to people all over the world. Along with communication, they have become the new way of expression among our culture and generation. More often than not, we tend to turn to our social media outlets to let out our emotions. Because technology makes it so easy now for communication, expression, and the like, social media is gaining more popularity than ever. But, do we ever need to be careful when using social media?
Our generation – we are eager to post ‘girls just want to have fun’ selfies or a ‘crazy adventure with the guys’ picture after a long night of underage drinking. We want the world to know how strong our emotions are about the Starbucks barista who screwed up our coffee or spelled our name wrong and because social media allows us to be more disrespectful, crazy, and ‘fun’ than we really are, we take full advantage of it. Looking ‘cool’ becomes our priority as we paint this false portrait of our ‘perfect’ life. We may have a 4.0 GPA, but our social media skills are below a 1.0. However, because we are doing well in school, we think it’s perfectly normal and okay to filter our ‘crazy’ pictures while unfiltering our language. Little do we know, we are so wrong.
Natasha Singer from New York Times backs up Brian Solis’ quote mentioned above and tackles the issue of wreckless social media posting in her article, “They Loved Your GPA, Then They Saw Your Tweets.” This article makes it evident that though social media is a popular medium of getting our opinions across, we must be fully aware that what we post in a social site should be sociologically correct. Singer’s article explains the scenario of a high school student’s jeopardizing of her potential acceptance to a college because of her offensive tweets. After reading this article, I have realized that maybe only having a 4.0 GPA does not make you an ‘A’ student.
Colleges never have a ‘written policy’ of social media in their websites/brochures – but that doesn’t mean they don’t have one. In this article, college admission officers admit to knowing that students sometimes use two accounts, or even clear their feed. However, students, unfortunately, don’t believe that switching up social media will help as much. If only they saw that 31% of 381 surveyed colleges have admitted to looking up students’ social media accounts. Colleges have mentioned that it is ‘sometimes’ a big deal how prospective students are portraying themselves to be on the internet, but they really mean it’s always a huge deal. Because graduating out of a college makes that person more or less a representation of that college, admission officers admit that they try to eliminate those who may come off as a ‘threat’ to their representation – even if those people have 4.0 GPAs.
The image created in the interwebs can be accused by anyone. Putting or writing things in your social media accounts without giving it a second thought can affect not only applications for colleges, internships, and jobs, but even your view as a person. Even though there are privacy settings, everything can be seen publicly if asked. In fact, in the class discussion about this article and social media, we had learned that a medical student was asked to open up her social media account in front of the admission officers, if she felt comfortable. In that situation, of course, the prospective student has the right to deny, but to be in the safe zone, she had accepted the request and her social media was out there on the big screen! She might’ve had the best GPA, but if her social media account did not live up to the standard of a professional, it could’ve costed her the admission. Thus, is it crucial to come off professional, while keeping it personal at the same time.
How do you do that, you ask? The first step is realizing that social media can and should be used responsibly. Second, know that social media outlets can be more helpful than harmful – if you use it in the right direction. Keeping your posts personal yet appropriate allows admission officers, potential employers, and other people to see you as a professional human being. Third, keep minimal words on social media but give lots of information. In my social media accounts, I try to share my experiences, share links to useful articles/videos, promote the events of organizations/clubs that I run, support non-profit organizations that I admire, etc. Fourth, if you’re reading this article and you realize that you have a lot to fix in terms of social media habits, please know that it is completely okay to start over or go back and delete what you must. Last but not the least, my other blog post on how to be a conscious social media user may be of help to you here.
Social media – a technological, sociological, and psychological based platform is a huge part of our lives today and holds more importance than you think. Colleges have begun using these platforms to pick and choose students and determine who really has that GP‘A.’ Despite having and properly using privacy options, keeping a professional yet personal social media account is crucial. Therefore, simply being an A student in school is not enough in our generation to make you qualified for a college admission, internship, job, etc., you must be an A student overall – including in your social media skills. There are many steps one can take into making the experience of using social media fun but the first is to realize that it can and should be used responsibly! To read more on how to use social media the right way, please check out this blog. Also, let’s follow each other on social media!