Social media is all around us, allowing us to instantly connect and communicate with friends. Yet, failing to understand privacy settings and not establishing clear boundaries may result in your private life bleeding into the public domain. This can have unforeseen consequences, e.g. not being awarded teacher degree and teacher firing.
Here are simple tips to protect yourself and be a savvy consumer of social media:
1) Learn about your Facebook and other social media privacy settings. Click here for the Facebook privacy guide. Be very conservative and constantly ask yourself if you want certain information in the public domain.
2) Be a smart producer. Don’t post comments, pictures, links, etc. that your mother/father would find offensive or upsetting. Chances are that your (future) employer would find them offensive as well. Assume if you are applying for a job that the human resources and/or principal will review your online profile.
3) Inquire about your school district’s social media policies. More and more districts are outlining appropriate behaviors in the social media world.
4) Set boundaries of who you want to befriend on Facebook. Some of my high school teacher colleagues refuse to allow any student to be their Facebook friend. Others, say only students that they had strong relationships with AND have graduated are allowed.
5) Assume administration reads your content. Really? Do principals have the time to review your Facebook profile and read your teacher blogs? The answer is mixed. Some principals regularly check their teachers’ blogs to inquire about comments about students and the school, and assess the school’s overall climate. Don’t assume because you have an alias the administration can’t connect the dots between you and your blog. Be sensible about your content.