With kids and youth becoming adept at technology at such early ages, teaching them how to be good digital citizens in order to avoid future repercussions has become a vital issue. Youth need our guidance, but even adults need a reminder every now and then about just how important it is to be smart on social media.
We’ve talked a lot about businesses on social media, but today I wanted to take a step back and discuss how social media can affect us personally. Social media is not very forgiving, and if you’re not careful about maintaining a good, clean image and persona, you could be setting yourself up for disaster.
One of my best friends from college, whom we’ll call “Sarah”, currently finds herself in a distressing situation because of a Facebook folly. Sarah, who is currently studying in a two-year Master’s of Social Work program at a prestigious University in southern California, has a tendency to “overshare” her life on Facebook—that is, she finds the need to make a status update about every detail in her life. Personally, that’s not my style, but hey, if you want to do that on Facebook, by all means.
However, Sarah’s problem arose when she decided to post something about her clinical internship. The content was a boastful letter from her internship highlighting her achievements. It was nothing negative, except Sarah forgot that she was under strict private policies under her school and her internship.
Next thing she knew, a classmate ratted Sarah’s Facebook post to the school. They viewed her Facebook post as a direct violation of their privacy policies, saying that her imprudent post contained information that could have breached confidentiality agreements with external clients.
Currently, Sarah is under the review of the school board, and she runs the risk of jeopardizing all of the work she has done for the last 1.5 years and getting kicked out of her Master’s program.
All this resulted from a post on Facebook.
People have even lost their jobs over foolish things they’ve done on social media. As for my friend, I know that she had a momentary lapse of judgment and had no mal intention behind her Facebook post, only to share the good news with friends and family. Still, what was seemingly harmless now threatens her future. I cannot stress enough how important it is for everybody to use discretion when online. An innocuous slip-up on social media could damage your future and reputation. Be careful!