Last night I spoke with another group of undergrads, this time at UCLA. I was, again, surprised with the small numbers of students who have LinkedIn accounts, especially students who are graduating. We have got to get these young adults up to speed on better use of social media!
When I conduct these seminars, I provide students with both the good and the bad of social media. It’s important to show them how easy it is to make a major mistake, but also give them some good examples to follow. They need inspiration as much as they do a wake up call.
One of the things that stuck with my group last night, was the lesson that it’s not just about what you say, but also what you like. Facebook’s search has become much more powerful with the release of Open Graph. You can search for things like “My friends who like dogs,” or “People who live in San Diego who go to SDSU and like surfing.” These searches will produce results with a list of profiles. At UCLA, I targeted the search for members of the group who like “partying”and “Drinking” and such.
Luckily enough, one of the audience members popped up in my search results. He was amazed, as well as all of his friends. But it is terrific when this happens in real time. This young man ‘Liked’ almost 300 pages on Facebook. He admitted that he could not remember everything he liked and had no idea that he could be found by non-friends via the search function.
As I’ve said many times, Beaming Bohemian exists to infuse communication with positivity and purpose. In the case of these students, I enjoy to helping them find their positive purpose and new approach for using social media. If they begin to see how the professional world is using tools like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to conduct business, market, communicate and recruit employees, they begin to look at how they can take advantage of these platforms, versus just socializing. Students easily pick up how they need to fix and build their image and manage their reputation.
What a week for news in San Diego! There were three news stories which affected teens and university students this week, where social media played a heavy hand in getting “caught.”
Don’t set up meetings on Facebook.
Students at Abraxas, Mission Hills, Poway and Ramona high schools, and were able to buy narcotics, according to sheriff’s officials. The variety of drugs purchased included heroin, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Wow. That’s some pretty serious stuff for high school! Are you wondering how the authorities track some of these sales? You guessed it. Social Media. The students arranged many of the drug deals over social media.
I now know what Twerking is!
Before I saw this new report, I had no idea what “twerking” was. I’m not sure what to do with this knowledge, but I now know what this suggestive butt-shaking is all about. And this twerking story also revolves around social media. Scripps Ranch High School students found themselves in very hot water after one student decided to share a student-produced twerking video on YouTube. A few problems with that? The video was made on campus and with school equipment.
I say many, many, many times in my social media sessions, “Nothing is private.” That speaks to things you choose to record or allow others to record (and even things you didn’t know are being recorded). It certainly applies to the things you post online.
A series of bad decisions led to this video getting made and posted to YouTube. This is not only a “think before you tweet” lesson, but a “think before you do.” What purpose does any of this serve? How will college admissions officers judge this video, and the decision to be in the video? This is another example of a misguided use of social media, and decisions which will only hurt these students in the long run.
Train students to use social media responsibly.
Even at the college level, students made a poor choice this week when it came to posting photos on Instagram. Members of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at CSU San Marcos posted photos of themselves dressed like Latina gang members. Apparently the photos were taken during a retreat.
A few things are disturbing, in addition to the blatant cultural disrespect. A friend of one of the Alpha Chi Omega members said, “We can’t nit-pick every little thing, because there’s a lot more worse things that could happen.” This tells me that many students might think this is “no big deal.” The other problem is that the news report ends with,
“A spokesperson for CSU San Marcos told 10News no disciplinary action will be taken against the sorority, but that extra diversity training will soon be offered to all students, especially incoming freshmen.”
Where is the social media training? These students will continue to do “stupid stuff” on social media if they are not taught the impact their actions have online. Yes, they need to be more culturally sensitive, however, they need to be more responsible with their communication via social media. I’ve spoken with fraternities and sororities who made similar mistakes on social networks and were disciplined by the university. Part of their requirement to lift sanctions? Learn how to use social media more positively and for better purposes.
These three news reports differ drastically in what actions occurred, however, what they all have in common is that our San Diego high school and university students have a grave misunderstanding of how social media can work against you when you do not behave responsibly online. I’m sure all of these students thought that they wouldn’t get caught, either. And that’s a behavior that’s even more disturbing. Our young adults need to understand that what they do online is just as serious and just as REAL as what they do offline. Behaving badly online is not something you can get away with. Your actions in both realities will catch up to you. I’d like to see more of our students truly understand that.
Hello Instagram web profiles. It’s great to see you! Did you know that you can now view Instagram photos online? Previously, you could only browse via your mobile device. Since Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, many have wondered if we would see a web version. While it is nice to be able to view the photos in a larger format, the web version is more limiting than the mobile app, it does give us reason to review our privacy settings and re-strategize our activity.
Initially, I was excited to see Instagram online. But one much needed feature for the web profiles is a search function. I have found myself looking at my phone and the web simultaneously to pull up usernames and view photos. The hashtag feature is not live yet on the web version, so you cannot click a hashtag to view photos tagged with that topic. Essentially, you have to know the username in order to view photos. You can click on the people who have liked or commented on your photo and view their gallery, follow them from the web, as well as like and comment on their photo. However, you cannot view the list of your followers nor who you are following. One item to note, if your account is already private, then it is private online, too. If you want to change this setting, you’ll have to go to your phone to make your account private.
I will say that it was really nice to be able to type comments on my big keyboard, versus plucking away on my iPhone. I also find it much easier to delete spam comments and report users on my phone than online. If you try to do it online, you have to enter your e-mail address as well as the username (which you will need to copy and paste) and then you will be notified after you submit the details that “Facebook will send you an e-mail shortly” (which they never do). At this point in time it appears that web profiles are simply a way to view the photos in a larger format. It does not appear that they want users to move away from their mobile devices. (And why would they after Instagram surpassed Twitter in daily active users?) It will be interesting to see how they develop the features for web profiles.
What’s significant for users (both brand and individuals) is that you can now promote your web profile and allow more fans to see your photos. This means more eyeballs looking at your strategically uploaded images. And if you had no strategy prior to this web profile launch, then it’s a good time to think about what photos (and graphics) you want people to see. Businesses can take advantage of this medium to promote product, events and services, as well as share the company culture. You can streamline your photo strategy by using Instagram to feed your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, for example. Individuals can paint a picture of their hobbies, interests and character. This is essential for students, student-athletes and those in search of employment. When admissions officers, athletic scouts, and hiring managers stumble across your Instagram account, what will they find?
If you want to take a look at my Instagram profile, click HERE. I use this account to feed my personal website and therefore have several of my favorite travel photos uploaded. Let me know what you think of the Instagram Web Profiles. I’m curious how/if you are using the new feature. Please leave a comment below! Thanks!
In a recent interview with UTTV, I was asked what student-athletes should consider when using social media. We only had time to review the top 5 do’s and don’ts for social media, but these tips are pretty essential to being successful online. This advice is suitable for both high school and college athletes, but students in general can find some applicable tips here, too. Let’s start first with what you shouldn’t do.
1. Use foul language, smack talk, gossip or bully.
These actions speak to your character. Is this who you really are? Is this how you want to be remembered? Probably not. Clean it up and have respect for yourself, your teammates and every other player in your sport.
2. Post photos of yourself with alcohol if you are under 21 years old.
Again, you will be seen as a liability. If you are under 21 and drinking, you are breaking the law. Your photo is evidence of this. Posting party photos will do nothing to help you in the long run. You put your parents, teachers and coaches in the position to discipline you.
3. Post personal information like telephone number or address.
A friend of mine told me that his 16 year-old son was so excited when he got his driver’s license, that he posted a picture of his license online. Doh! Identity theft remains a huge problem! Posting your name, address and documents numbers, like your driver’s license, only makes it easier for thieves to target you. Are your parents on vacation? Great! But that’s not something the world needs to know. Don’t post nitty gritty details that welcome problems into your life.
4. Post rap lyrics, racial or sexual comments.
This may be a very cool trend right now, but as coaches, the media, the public and potential employers look at your social behavior, they may or may not understand that what you’ve posted is song lyrics. They may take those words and opinions as yours. A lot of rap lyrics use foul language (see #1) and are racially or sexually explicit. When you post rap lyrics like this, you are connecting yourself with those words and that image. Listen to all the rap music you want, but refrain from quoting the songs on your social accounts. Most of those who look at your posts just aren’t that cool to get it.
5. Friend people you don’t know.
When you friend or follow someone, you associate yourself with them and everything they post and share online. If you don’t know the person, don’t allow them into your circle of friends on Facebook. You can set up the subscribe feature on Facebook so that people you don’t know can enjoy your public posts (see #1 below). Before you follow someone on Twitter, check out what types of tweets they post and make sure they are someone you want to be associated with.
Since Beaming Bohemian promotes positive and purposeful communication, we’ll end with a list of things you should do in social media.
1. Understand the settings, functions & features of the networks you’re on.
If you take the time to do this, you will be better equipped to control the content you share. You can take advantage of certain features to promote yourself, but also to keep other conversations more private. When you understand how each network truly works, you will be more effective in your communication with these tools.
2. Allow your parents to help you.
If you are a high school student, this is a time when you really do want your parents to assist you. Their guidance in your communication style and strategic planning will help you be more successful. And it opens up the conversation in your family about how social media can help you, as well as hurt you if you make mistakes (see #3 above). You can help your parents better understand what networks are available, and your parents can help you network with recruits and with your personal marketing plan. Make this a family project.
3. Take care with who you friend & follow.
Point #5 above touches on this. But in this positive piece of advice, I’d like you to pay more attention to who you friend and follow and be more assertive in your practices. Actively look for people on Twitter that are coaches who you want to meet or people who will boost your profile. Be strict about your friending procedures on Facebook to better protect your account. Build a following and network that will advance your efforts to get noticed by college coaches or hiring managers. It’s nice to be friendly and subscribe to a #teamfollowback concept, but if you have spammers, bots and shady characters following you, you really, really do not want to follow them back. Get comfortable using the “block” and “report spam” features.
4. Make your bio work for you.
It’s a good idea to brand your accounts so that there is a consistent look and presence across all your accounts. Use the same picture for all your accounts. Your bio can work for you if you let it. For example, if you are a high school student-athlete, try posting, “Junior at Valhalla High School. Second baseman looking to play for a DII school out of state.” If you are in college, try, “Third year at UCSB, playing water polo and studying Communications. Can’t wait to work for Google.” You get the idea. Let people know who you are, but also how they might help you network. Both of these examples are far more effective than others I’ve found:
Ballin’ is a habit
Baconators & tea. Tie dye & toboggans, I give a thumbs up. Pure momma’s boy. Up is my favorite movie. I enjoy back dimples.
Put the wind in win some, lose some; the star in starting over.
5. Have a plan for posting photos and news for public view.
In a nutshell, be strategic. You need to think in the long term and how you can use these social communication tools to get you into the college you’d like, to build your professional profile and to get you hired after college. All trends point toward college coaches and recruits using social networks as part of their recruitment process. If you are fighting for a spot on the team, matched up against another with equal talent and skill, your online profile will come into play. What will it say about you? When the hiring manager looks for you online after they’ve reviewed your application (3 out of 4 hiring managers do), what will they find? If you’ve taken the time to build your personal brand, to plan out some content and strategize your communications, athletic and employment recruiters will quickly understand that your are a quality candidate and that you care about your online profile. Your professionalism will be noted.
Ultimately, it is never too early for social media users to get in good habits. If you are going to participate online, think in the positive and have a purpose. You can use social media to aimlessly converse and chit chat, or you can gain a competitive edge and make these tools work in your favor. I hope you’ll be proactive and take the time to communicate well.
Social media guidelines exist so that an entire company and all of its employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them when they are representing the business online, whether it be on or off the clock. Universities, typically a bit slower to catch up to mainstream business practices, are definitely behind the curve when it comes to establishing guidelines for students and student-athletes.
In browsing some of the athletic department policies and it was surprising to see program after program devote less than a page to such a pressing topic. For example:
Gambling …………………………………………………………………………………. 49
Hazing …………………………………………………………………………………….. 50
Social Networking Websites ……………………………………………………….. 50
Grievance Policy ………………………………………………………………………. 50
And on Page 50, under the rules for hazing came:
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Utilize your best judgment when using social networking websites. Our concern is not only about the content that is posted in the form of photos but also the proliferation of personal information, such as, cell phone numbers, class schedules and home addresses which many of you have made public. The content posted on these sites is not private. Your information may be currently viewed by: university officials, professors, parents, coaches, future employers, local and national media among others. Further, there have been a number of cases of assault that have been directly attributable to these sites.
As a student-athlete at (university name) you are held to a higher standard then the general student body. We ask that you do not post any information that might embarrass or otherwise cause harm to you, your team or the university.
Another athletic department gave a similar amount of space to the topic:
Social Networking Websites …………………………………………29
Criminal Activity ………………………………………………………….29
And once you landed on Page 29, you found:
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Student-athletes are representatives of not only themselves and their teams but also Intercollegiate Athletics and the University as a whole. As outlined above, student-athletes are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents Athletics and the University. Student-athletes who post profiles on social networking websites, including MySpace and Facebook are reminded that the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct and behavioral expectations apply to those posted profiles. Student-athletes not only represent themselves and their families, but also their individual teams, Intercollegiate Athletics, and (university name). Student-athletes should consider if they would share information with all of those constituencies before posting it online.
Student-athletes are also encouraged to limit the amount of personal information they post on those sites for their own safety as well as for future job searches and background checks. Once the information is posted on the Internet, it is in the public domain and can come back to haunt the poster later. Many employers are already checking social networking profiles before making any offers of employment. Predators also spend time on such sites looking for easy targets. Student-athletes should please be careful and think twice about what they post, especially photographs and contact or schedule information. Student-athletes can be targeted by predators via social media, and should report any such contacts to their coach or the Associate Director of Athletics/Director, Athletics Academic Services.
It’s also interesting to see where social media appears in the table of contents, next to hazing and criminal activity, in these examples. It doesn’t have to be that way! Social media guidelines can also represent the positive and help your students use social media to their advantage. Guidelines that are ripe with “don’t” as well as best practices, will serve as a resource to your student-athletes. Keep in mind that, whatever guidelines you do implement should also be applicable to staff and coaches. Student-athletes are not the only ones to post inappropriate photos or tweet troubling comments. The purpose of social media guidelines is to inform what rules are in place, but also to allow everyone to achieve the department goals. You should want your team to be a success online. Guidelines are a good first-step to prepare them for that. (Education is a must, too!)
One service that Beaming Bohemian provides is the development of social media guidelines for your department. If you are an athletic department, a university or business who needs to establish this type of resource for your students or employees, please contact us. Social media guidelines are not a one-size-fits all rule book. They should reflect the culture of your department and allow everyone to take ownership in the final – and living – document. We can work together to develop the best handbook for you. Contact email@example.com