by Elijah Johns | staff writer
In a time when people post, tweet, and share everything that goes on in their lives, there is little room for privacy. But what many people don’t know is that not only can your friends see your tweets, but so can college personnel, potential employers, and other individuals that may make presumptions about you based on your social media etiquette.
“In this day and time, anything that students put out that is extremely personal, or inflammatory- if it is any type of bullying-type messages, [such as] things that could cause harm to themselves or others should not be shared. You just always want to know when you are tweeting [that] something it is out there for the world and it is out there forever,” head counselor Courtney Tarbox said.
Some students may have the idea that when something is posted online, whether it be a seemingly harmless tweet or sharing a photo on Instagram, that information remains online regardless of whether it is deleted or not. This information can then be used in a negative or derogatory light, according to Tarbox.
“People can take screenshots and it will always be there. So a good policy to follow is you shouldn’t put something out there you wouldn’t tell someone in person, or that you wouldn’t want your parent or future employer or other friend groups to see. It is really thinking before you post,” Tarbox said.
The world is so easily connected that it is almost essential for universities to check out the students who are applying at their universities. Admission representatives will search for all different kinds of things to get a better idea of who they may or may not let into their school.
“There has been new information that shows that college admission reps are on social media. They are checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat and all those different things,” Tarbox said. “There was a statistic that there was a certain percentage of college reps that say they do check social media and out of that percentage, they found 30% of the things they looked out adversely affected students admissions.”
There is a point of controversy in whether or not there should be social media privacy between schools and students, should schools be able to look their your public social media? According to senior Jake Baine, schools have every right to look around.
“A lot of people lie about who they are in their admission applications and essays. I think it is smart of schools to check the social media of students that are applying to their universities. Usually people’s social media shows their true colors,” Baine said.
While the world is ever evolving in technology, schools tend to lag behind the curve on teaching students the proper way to carry themselves on the internet.
“Schools should show examples of students, and there are many, that have messed up their lives for what they posted on the internet. They need to try and scare people into not being stupid with what they post,” Baine said.
Not only do universities check social networking accounts, but some clubs and organizations at the high school level also check their members online activities, such as the National Honor Society.
“But I know there are programs out there that they basically have search criteria, and so they will put in the words or topics they are looking for and it can send a flag when tweets or posts are sent out there. And we know that colleges are getting more and more sophisticated software for plagiarism and stuff like that. There are things out there that they are checking for,” Tarbox said.
Ultimately, the responsibility of having a social media account and monitoring your online activity belongs to the owner. It is their job to make sure that they are smart about what they post.
“There’s a lot of digital citizenship with social media and thinking about your digital footprint. What you put out there is a part of your reputation. It really is just that awareness of what you put out there is there for everyone,” Tarbox said. “And peer encouragement, like encouraging your friends. If you see them doing something questionable just remind them that you don’t want to go there; we don’t want to put something out there will be there permanently.”