Get it in writing. Heard that before? Let me add to it: Get it in writing, but never ever EVER put it on the internet. Why? Because things on the internet, or even just on a computer in general, are forever. Just like diamonds!
Once something is on the internet or in an email or saved in a word document, it can be found, no matter how many times you deleted it or how many privacy settings you put on it.
I stumbled on this article yesterday, which was an interesting read even though I’m not a high school student trying to court college acceptance letters. My brother is, though, so naturally I felt compelled to pass it along to my entire family.
I can tell you that in high school, I was unbelievably stubborn when it came to things I posted on the internet. Yes, I posted pictures of my friends and I drinking and partying, and the most I ever did to hide that was blur out the beer cans and alcohol bottles (in case my high school ever found my Facebook page). I did keep my account private and my pictures even more protected, or so I thought (can anyone figure out Facebook’s privacy settings?), but I think I got very lucky that the wrong people didn’t ever see them. Facebook was just becoming a thing when I was a senior in high school, however, and clearly times have changed.
To be perfectly honest, I’m still pretty stubborn about what I post, even though I’m semi on the job hunt. I don’t really worry about content, mostly because I’m old enough to drink legally and I don’t have a penchant for law-breaking, although sometimes I do still wonder if someone is looking at my old high school partying pictures and judging me for them… Creepy. But take this blog, for example. I’m not going to limit what I post here just because someone important might see it. Life isn’t all sunshine and daisies and if I want to post about sex, drugs and Rock & Roll, I will do as I damn well please.
With that said, should any potential employer find their way here, or to any of my other social media accounts, I’d hope that they recognize that this is a completely personal endeavor. You won’t find Business Martine on this blog, and that should be pretty clear to anyone who comes across it. I take the time to distinguish between my personal accounts (this blog, Twitter, Instagram) and my professional accounts (Linkedin, any account I manage for my boss), is it so wrong for me to want employers and educators to do the same?
Just because someone likes to party, drink, stay out late or all of the above, doesn’t mean that they won’t be a good employee or a great student. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and, please, don’t judge a person by their social media accounts.
When in doubt, delete that post/picture/tweet you’re not sure about. In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry.