6 Things To Teach Students About Social Media

social media studentsToday’s society is becoming more and more socially focused with each passing day. Social media is not simply a passing trend; it is here to stay. Now more than ever, students need to understand the basics of social media and how it can affect their future both negatively and positively. A strong or weak social media presence now affects both college admissions and the workforce.

Professionals look for people that know how to stay both current and professional in the middle of a social age. There are several things that teachers can begin teaching students early on about social media that can help them as they enter college and the job force.

  1. Online Reputation:
    One of the best things teacher can teach students about is how to manage your online reputation. An online reputation can effectively keep high school students from landing a good job during school. More and more employers do a quick search on Google before making a decision regarding potential employees. Students should understand that what they put on the Internet is out there for the public, unless it is properly protected.
  2. Privacy:
    Teach students the importance of maintaining a professional public appearance online, and show them how to use the privacy settings on popular social networks to keep personal things private to your inner circle. Protecting your privacy can mean the difference between an unintentionally posted, inappropriate photo being leaked online and keeping it private before your can delete it.
  3. Keep Connections:
    While students may not understand it now, their classmates and teammates may become a valuable connection down the road. Encourage your students to connect with one another on social media, and to stay connected even after they stop going to school with one another.
  4. Establish Your Expertise:
    If students know what they want to do with the rest of their life, they can begin, even now, establishing themselves in their field. Encourage your students to start blogging about their passion and getting involved in that online community. You never know what opportunities that may open for you down the road.
  5. Use it to Your Advantage: Aside from these benefits, there are also monetary benefits of being Internet savvy. College students can find the cheapest used textbooks online. Teach them where to find these and how much money it will save them when they enroll in school/
  6. Stay Updated:
    Staying current on new trends will help you get ahead of the crowd and show that you are a go-getter and on top of new things. Staying updated will keep you from falling behind the times, which seem to change very quickly in an online world.

Social media will drive the upcoming generation even more than this one. It’s incredibly important that students learn early on how to manage their accounts and use the for their advantage. It may not traditional, but some things really are more useful than Algebra.

3 Comments

  1. ICAL TEFL

    November 18, 2012 at 4:12 am

    All very valuable and useful stuff… but one of the problems is that even now most students are more proficient than their teachers in using social media. Before teachers start teaching students how to use social media, they need to know themselves and have a good backup from the school in place which explains what they can do and how they can do it. The fact that many schools do not even have a social media policy in place speaks volumes!

  2. Robin Sesko

    November 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Instead of hiding from social media, schools need to educate students about how to properly use it. We are doing our students a great disservice by pretending it doesn’t exist.

  3. glyn

    November 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    We have to accept as reality that any student will already bring with them a lot of social media baggage with them by the time they find themselves in an educational context of sufficient level for them to be able to cognitively make sense of the impact of what they may have done.

    I think the first step is therefore to teach in a way to contextualize the impact of what may already have been given. The fact that many social media platforms default privacy settings leave the user profile open, and that any associations made by a person, be it in the form of liking a page, or commenting on something written is also available publicly be it from a future employer or otherwise, is in itself something to address. One of the biggest problems with social media is that interactions are memorized for ever and while the person grows up the content of what they have written does not. If you watch a James Bond film from the 1980s there are certain cultural stereotypes that are out of context now, but at the time were – for right or wrong – correct for the time. This is also reinforced by things like the film quality, the dress and the music. However, in social media, similar interactions, do not age. The look and feel is set by the design template of the social media platform, which can and does update, but not the message itself.

    Does a student that for fun joins a fan page on some alternative hippy commune then find that association creating a problem for them when they are about to land that finance job at a serious accounting firm ten years later because of some Human Resources tools that is able to mine that data? (my stereotype is illustrative only)

    After assessing the impact of their historic actions in social media platforms, the next step is about giving them the ability to think above them. There are lots of advocates of social media and industry and money pushing them into being essential must-haves for everybody, but very little in terms of objective critique about the platforms. When was the last time you read an article entitled “5 reasons why you don”t need to bother with Facebook?” or “How sharing pictures on Facebook could damage your brand on the other side of the world without you knowing about it?”. You simply don’t see them. Just as you rarely see companies explaining to people exactly how their social media network works, and how it is conceived for its publics. Instead users are left guessing that probably Facebook is where there will be videos and links, twitter something else, and the blog something else too. That shows a lack of understanding by a lot of creators of networks as to the purpose they have. The strategy that underpins the network is something that needs to be taught. The last thing I think that should be taught is the globality of communication in social media networks and what this does to the context of communication whether visual or textual, and how a new kind of language is needed to allow communication to flow across international boundaries as easily as it has before at a national level.

    Personally I do believe though that soon enough there will be extra powers afforded at a national level in order to monitor more effectively your own personal data and so many of the observations here will probably be mitigated. Trolling and the impact that can have is already seeing some legislation and pressure in the UK for legal measures of control and this will likely continue.

    Whatever the final outcome, it’s a great challenge for teachers to embrace.