College may be primarily concerned with higher education, but it’s also a place for students to be social and develop a network of personal friends and professional contacts. It’s no surprise then that social media giant Facebook started on a college campus as a way for students to connect and interact online. As a college student yourself, however, you should probably set a few ground rules where usage is concerned or you could end up in hot water. Here are a few helpful social media tips that every college student should consider.
- Don’t Fall into the Snapchat Trap
This is your first and most important lesson when using social media. The things you put on the interney can never be taken back! For better or worse, the words and images you post to social media will live forever in cyberspace. Even if you delete them, someone could have copied them, and many social media sites archive and store data. This is the Snapchat trap. You think it disappears, but anyone can take a screen grab. In other words, be very careful about what you choose to post on social media – it could definitely come back to bite you down the line and you need to think ahead to how the things you do now might affect your ability to compete for jobs in the future.
- Public Versus Private Profiles
It’s always best to have two types of profiles – one for private use and one for public. Did you know that most employers these days check social media before hiring prospective applicants? They want to see how you behave online as a determining factor in your suitability for hire. If your public profile features spring break keg stands and endless duck-lip selfies, you might not make a very good impression. So keep your private posts hidden for only the friends connected to your personal profile and set up a second account for public use.
- Networking Opportunities
In addition to offering platforms with which to virtually stay connected to family and friends, social media outlets provide an excellent means of networking. Connecting with peers in college can lead to professional opportunities later in life, when you’ve all graduated and moved on. So don’t hesitate to set up accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms with the express intent of creating a professional network while you’re in college.
- Google Alerts
You won’t know how valuable your online reputation is until it’s compromised. You need to stay on top of it and a good place to start is with Google alerts that let you know when mentions of your name or photos you’re tagged in come up on Google. All you have to do is sign up for Google alerts for you name and you’ll get emails pertaining to activity. So when your well-intentioned friend posts unflattering party pics of you and they go viral, you can at least try to do damage control.
- Time Suck
As a student at UAB Online or the average college campus, your time is at a premium. Between attending classes, studying, and working part-time, you don’t have a lot of extra hours in the day to sleep and eat, much less attend to social media. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get sucked in when you start scrolling and side swiping. For this reason you should think about limiting yourself to a set amount of time for social media each day. Set a timer and when it goes off, put down the mobile device and back away.