Even though I am no longer a sorority adviser, I still receive requests for letters of reference from the women I advised over 12 years. It makes me happy to be a small part of their future, having seen them start to grow into their adult selves in college. I was blessed to know them as their adviser, and continue to be blessed by having them as alumnae friends.
As some of you know, I’m a sorority adviser. Back in the day, that meant keeping up with the antics of college students at social functions and making sure they were having fun, safely and within the rules/laws. I have a new respect for my advisers. It could not have been a “fun” volunteer job.
Today, that means that I am expected to monitor all sorts of social media to ensure the same things. Seems easy enough, right? I should be able to do this from the comfort of my own computer or smartphone.
Unfortunately, I am not a computer programmer with unlimited amounts of time and some of the things college students choose to share with the world, astound and frighten me. The internet is NOT PRIVATE.
I repeat. THE INTERNET IS NOT PRIVATE. EVERYTHING you put out there, WILL come back to haunt/hurt you once you leave school and are interviewing for jobs. Think twice about posting those distasteful, drunk, homophobic, racist, etc. photos and sayings on your social media accounts.
If I can read it, so can potential employers.
Which brings me to my “new” Tumblr account. An account that would not exist if I wasn’t an adviser, looking out for “my girls.” I honestly, don’t understand what Tumblr is for. Is it a combination, or truncated version of Facebook + blog + Twitter? All I know, it that it is, yet another opportunity to “tumble into” the pitfalls of social media. My goal today, is to link that account with this one, so that I don’t have another blog to manage – ignore – out in cyberspace.
My advice is simple: Monitor your image on the internet. On a regular basis. Control what others post on your behalf with privacy settings and make sure that what people see, is who you are – your BEST self.
Don’t be the young woman who applied for a job with me, several years ago, who had the outstanding resume, extracurricular activities and amazing grades. Unfortunately, she also had “friends” who liked to post pictures of EVERY social outing they had, including the myriad of ill-conceived (re: drunk) “projects,” all over the internet. Needless to say, when our Human Resources Director shared those photos and posts with us, the woman’s lack of good judgment negated all her hard work in college.
Don’t let it happen to you. Share your thoughts, but be mindful that others (who do not know you, personally) WILL judge you based on social media “appearances.” Fair or unfair, it’s the world we live in. Navigate it, carefully.