6 easy ways to avoid social media pitfalls
What can we learn from the social media plight of Ala Buzreba, the Calgary Liberal candidate whose teenaged tweets led to her resignation from this fall's federal election?
In a nutshell: how can you, as a member of the "information generation," manage your digital footprint so it does not impinge on future successes? And it can even impinge on a student's career: many Concordia students are not aware of the fact that under the Code of Rights and Responsibilities, they can be held responsible for a social media misstep if there is a link to university activity.
This means that if, for example, you tweet a threat to a classmate on a course listserv, you could be charged under the code, and depending on the content of your post, the consequences could go beyond Concordia.
Social media is meant to be fun. It's a perfect tool for sharing photos and videos with friends and family, or connecting with like-minded individuals and potential employers.
So what's the easiest way to ensure you don’t ruin your academic career or future? Think before you post.
Concordia's Social Media Handbook provides best practices and related policies — but here are 6 quick, positive tips to set you off in the right direction.
6 tips for managing your social media footprint
Post beautiful photos of Montreal, Concordia or your dog.
Don’t post photos or videos of yourself engaging in questionable activities. If you wouldn’t want Grandma to see it, don’t post it. This includes posting photos featuring drugs and alcohol, or using sexually suggestive tags on Instagram.
Engage in conversations. Share your point of view in a Google Hangout or Twitter chat.
Don’t react emotionally during these conversations and never resort to bullying, humiliation or threats.
Celebrate amazing moments in your life.
Finished your finals and looking forward to a break? Tell the world! Don’t trash your teachers, organizations, potential employers or anyone else for that matter. Don’t lie, cheat or plagiarize.
Help your peers share their achievements.
Don’t think your retweets or likes aren’t representing you. If you like a post featuring questionable content, you own it and can be held accountable.
Give constructive criticism.
Frustrated about something on campus? Try to to get satisfaction first through one-to-one contact. If you aren’t satisfied and choose to share your throughs on social media, then provide details of the problem so the university can act on it. (This goes for non-Concordia issues too.)
Don’t use expletives in rants about how much you hate something. Voice your concern, and offer a solution. Bad language can tarnish your reputation.
Set your privacy settings beyond the default.
Don’t rely on them entirely and never share sensitive personal information. For your own personal safety, think twice about posting that picture of your student ID or class schedule.
Want more social media training? Attend the Student Success Centre workshop Networking and Social Media or register for the GradProSkills workshop on Professional Use of Social Media.