We tend to think of social media as “child’s play”. Nowadays, it’s pretty much a given that a college student has a Facebook page and there’s a good chance they're using platforms like Twitter and Foursquare as well. Because of their age, we assume that college students know how to use this “social media stuff” with no problem, but is that really the case? If there was a class on the proper ways to use social media, would every student get an A+?
The answer: No. In Fact, most would fail.
Most college students don’t understand the impact that social media sites can have on their life after college. No one is telling them that the pictures they posted on Facebook are being seen by potential employers or the impact that a tweet could have on them getting a job. With many companies now doing background checks via social media sites, it’s important for students to know there can be consequences to their social media actions. Your friends aren't the only people seeing your social media profiles anymore.
We know social media isn’t just some passing fad, so why not teach students how to use it in a responsible way? Nowadays, building an online presence can be a huge benefit when looking for a job. Learning the importance of digital privacy (or lack of it...forever has a whole new meaning online), online networking, and building relationships via social media platforms would be a huge value to any college student. The class could teach students and prospective job seekers how to build their online presence in a positive way instead of engaging in the potentially damaging behavior. Since more people are searching for employees online, learning responsible social media practices would be a great benefit to someone about to enter the workforce.
Technology is only going to advance further, making social media more and more a part of our daily lives. No matter what major, every college student could benefit from a class on responsible social media use.
What would you include in a social media 101 course?