“I only posted this for my friends, from the privacy of my home! Now everyone is talking about it?!?”
Few people experience the phenomenon of going viral. Yet, even though most students do not experience that jolt of going viral, they may be unwittingly making their private lives more public than they would prefer. Spring is as great as time as any for students to keep up with their “digital life” housekeeping. Students can spend some time reviewing their social media accounts to see if the accounts reflect the image they want portrayed.
Kaplan recently published an article that gives questions that students should ask themselves before posting information to social media accounts. It also discusses the good and the bad about accounts as they may relate to admissions.
Here’s another concept that may help students spruce up their world: digital declutter. While researching a book, professor Cal Newport invited people to take a break from “optional technologies” during January 2018. Afterward, participants were asked to put back into their lives only the technologies that they felt compelled to do so. Many more people participated than he predicted, and the participants reported overhauling their free time in very positive ways. Digital decluttering can be another way to spring clean!
Students who find social media compelling can use their accounts to promote themselves in a favorable light. Community involvements, positive relationships with school staff, information that may be included in a portfolio, and progress toward goals are just a few ways that students can build favorable accounts. It’s easy to post photos of awards, short descriptions of groups they have become involved with, and productive ways that they spend their free time outside of social media (as in digital decluttering!).
Students can do some spring cleaning by taking a fresh look at their accounts and highlighting the positive aspects of themselves for all to see.