Social media savvy

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As our communication channels have increasingly evolved to online conversation, etiquette within social media is more important than ever. Learning the do’s and don’ts of social media can affect not only relationships but jobs too.

Smart phones and tablets have made social media channels instantaneously available regardless of student’s whereabouts. Conversing through text messages, Facebook and Twitter are available at our fingertips. Though there are immense benefits to instant communication, it’s also easy to let your guard down in the online world.

When you can hide behind your phone with a confrontational conversation it’s easy to say something you wouldn’t usually say in person. It’s important to remember to never put something in text you wouldn’t feel comfortable being printed. Once something is sent and put in words, you never have a way of taking it back.

For those difficult conversations, it’s better to put on a brave face, take a deep breath and say what you need. The reality is you will be thankful you didn’t do it over your phone because your posts and words can follow you long after you would believe.

It’s also critical to be careful of your tone in a post. You will have friends that know you well and some that do not. You don’t want to come off as the “Negative Nancy” on peoples newsfeeds, this will get you unfriended or unfollowed quickly.

Also consider your language in posts. If your Grandma is your friend or on your Instagram account, you might not want to be profane. Decide if you want to be known as classy and well educated in your communication.

Photos are a strong tie with content and posts of what will affect you in personal relationships and the job market. You have to think whom you are friends with or who is following you. Extended family members, professors or work associates? Your personal life is personal and some things are best to keep at that.

You may have gone to a raging party or riveting vacation but scandalous or suggestive photos cannot be deleted once they are on the web. The photos you share send a strong message of how you want to be perceived and how you are representing yourself. Employers can often find access to your profiles even if you are private so consider that next time you want to post.

If you really want to keep your online life hidden, you can always put your first and middle name on your profile to make yourself harder to find. Many students consider this option close to graduation or when searching for internships. It doesn’t mean you have anything to hide, just that value your privacy.

Although everyone has exciting events and news to share, don’t develop a reputation for over posting. No one wants to scroll through any feed and see content from the same person over and over. Moderation is the best rule to follow for finding the right amount of sharing.

Also in relation to posts and tweets, keep things at a level that doesn’t become too personal. Often there are the users that bring up political controversies and the like. These are easy not to post, but it’s just as easy not to engage. It’s smarter to be the better person and ignore these posts instead of highlighting everyone’s feeds with your opinions.

Social media is an extraordinary tool to utilize for keeping in touch and networking but used in the right doses and with thought beforehand.