With the inundation of the Internet and the storm of social media in daily life, it’s difficult not to be involved in one way or another. Participation in popular interfaces and networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn ranges across a broad spectrum. Some users merely set up a profile while others cannot go more than a few minutes without “checking in” with their favorite social media app.
Regardless of a college student’s level of activity, though, interactions with these tools have significant kickback. Savvy students are cognizant of their digital footprints and the ramifications their online actions will have. Below are a few steps to ensure that your digital self-projection is both adequate and accurate.
Social media etiquette for students
Represent yourself consistently
Think about who you are and what kind of person you want to be. Before you post anything online, take a moment to proofread the words and make sure they are congruent with those ideas you have about yourself. Make sure that your Facebook posts, tweets and information on LinkedIn or any other apps you may use provide an accurate representation of the real you.
Don’t present a negative image of yourself
Even if you are confident that the privacy settings would restrict unwanted viewers from reading the content you upload, think again; you never know when the safety of your digital footprint might be compromised, and your information scrutinized. Intellectual property rights and privacy policies may be rigid now, but lines are crossed every day. Some employers even ask job applicants to openly share their social media activity with their potential employers. Play it safe and keep it positive.
Write in complete sentences whenever possible
Once self-image goals have been consulted and a message has been created, proofread it one last time before you post it. A lot of people will read what you write, so make sure that the messages coming out of any profile make sense. Capitalize appropriate letters, use punctuation and make sure your phrases are coherent and easily interpretable.
Don’t misspell or use bad grammar
Nothing steals the thunder of potentially powerful prose like a misspelled word, a useless hash tag in a Facebook post, or punctuation that makes true meaning questionable. This is not a text message or a casual conversation; this is social media. The type of language you use conveys how seriously you want to be taken by your audience. Make sure the seriousness of your writing matches the gravity of your message and the nature of your image.
Socialize with networking in mind
Sure, social media tools have bountiful benefits, the least of which is being able to connect with people all over the world. Friends, acquaintances, coworkers and fellow students can all be linked together electronically. Use these connections to advance your career goals and social life, in addition to utilizing your own talents and abilities to help others.
Don’t connect with everyone
Not everyone Facebook suggests should be added as a friend. Likewise, connections on all social media networks should be conservative. As the old adage says, we are the company we keep. If you don’t want to be lumped together with someone as a similar kind of person, don’t connect with him or her electronically.
If you are able to go months or even weeks without personally connecting with digital associations, cut them loose. Perusing the timeline of a hardly known acquaintance is not only a waste of time, but its addictive grasp will pull you away from more productive activities.
It’s easy to get lost in the maelstrom of social media. Using these 'Social Media Etiquette for Students' tips, in addition to a little common sense, will help any user to not only keep from damaging his or her reputation, but also use these electronic tools to their advantage. Having a strong and positive electronic image allows you to have full confidence in the non-electronic world.
Author Bio: Jeff Jacobsen is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in post payment review with an enthusiasm for health insurance litigation.