Teaching my students about social media has become part of my daily routine in what I call the new day program (which is basically a morning social skills lesson we do everyday). I know that when my students go to a job interview later in life they will be judged by what they have posted on their social media platforms. A recent survey done by Career Builder says that 43% of employers use social media to screen for future employees.
My goal in doing this is for you to better understand their social media footprint and how it can affect your students’ future. In my class we started posting videos on youtube, and we tweet a small writing assignment almost everyday. These are just two of the multiple social media sites your students could be using. I also tell them that email and text are forms of social media because they are sharing information; if you don’t think people can read stuff you have emailed or texted just ask Hillary Clinton. Below is the picture we use to explain that their social media footprint will follow them throughout life like their footprints in the sand.
I am not going to lie, I was one of those people that was scared to even have social media accounts six months ago. I thought, why would I want someone that I barely talk to anymore to keep up with what I am doing? Then, when my mom passed away I was amazed at how many people came through the line at her service claiming that the only way they knew she was sick or had passed away was because of facebook. That still didn’t persuade me to get a facebook account, but it opened my eyes a bit. What did change my mind was my students. I was so proud of the work they had been doing that I thought it needed to be shared, so I made the plunge into facebook. (Let me tell you it was like standing on top of the diving board for the first time when I clicked submit to open my first account.)
Some of you are probably thinking what ever Todd, I have seen an account for you for years, which is true kinda, but the only problem was it was not an account I created. (Hence the importance of knowing about your social media footprint). This being said you may have one that you didn’t even know you had. If you don’t know, ‘it’s worth a google” -Alan was a pretty smart man even if he was hungover. Anyway, I tell my students that their online social media communication is what their family, friends, future employers, church members, etc. are seeing and in some cases this may be all that someone knows about you, so I tell them create a label or STEREOTYPE online that their granny would enjoy to read about them.
So, now that I brought it up I have to tell the story about my first facebook account or I guess I should say FAKEBOOK account. Facebook started in 2004, and originally it was suppose to be for college students or at least people that had college email accounts. I can remember even then facebook was getting very popular very fast, but I was that guy that was like no way am I getting a facebook account. I thought then I don’t have time to respond to people and don’t want to make them mad if I don’t get on there for a week, and say something back. (I still worry about this too, so I apologize in advance if I don’t get back with you, or like something.) Anyway, of course like a dumb freshman in college I gave all my passwords to a girl I used to date. You can probably guess what happened next, we stopped dating, she hated me, blah blah blah, and her and her friends thought it would be funny to make a FAKE facebook account for me. It was not fake really, and it portrayed me in ways I did not want to be portrayed. Since she had my email and password, facebook made it super easy for them to create the account. I told this story to my students and they said I got CATFISHED. You will understand what catfished means after reading this. On facebook they sent private messages with my phone number to a lot of people I knew and some I didn’t know. Without going into detail the message was similar to a message you would see on a bathroom stall. Luckily, I found out about it pretty quick, but getting facebook to delete the account was a nightmare. I did receive some pretty interesting phone calls from this whole mess, but the moral of the story is don’t give your password to anyone, and make sure you have your own social media footprint so you can portray yourself and what you want people to think about you.
In closing, teachers and parents “Don’t LEAVE YOUR KIDS ALONE” and teach them about their social media footprint. Remember to tell them it will follow them into their future job interviews and family Christmas parties, or it has me at least. I know as teachers you are thinking, “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” and I know it is hard to find time, but make it a writing prompt or exit ticket and post it to a classroom twitter account. This will make your students take more accountability because they will think it will be posted on twitter and twitter is “cool” right now (I think?) If you are like me and new to all this social media stuff, my advice would be to just create an account, especially accounts that your students are currently using. If you just jump off the diving board you will learn you can swim; don’t let one bad experience keep you from growing and communicating socially online. If you do miss spell a word or post something wrong, people will get over it. I am sure they have done it too.
TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA.