As a student you have many ways to keep in touch with your student body - texting, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These methods of communicating with your friends are completely open to the public, and you can imagine hearing things like "Look what Brian texted me!" or "Look what Mallory posted on Seth's wall!" Avoid using social media incorrectly and you will avoid some social stress. Check out some tricks of the trade below in order to skip a few bumps down your path as a student.
These Walls Have Ears!
When posting to a friend’s wall, glance at how many other friends they have - is it 800 or some other large number? Assume one hundred of their friends look at their wall from time to time. You are posting to a large group of people, not just your friend. Watch what you say - try sending your friend a personal message if it's important. If it is about something they have done, which they do not normally do, for example - "You were out of control last night!" - think about the consequences it could have on them first. Personal messages are a safe way to communicate (as long as you trust it will stay between the two parties).
Don't Post Misdemeanors
Yes, you are a student and yes, you are young and full of life. Society expects students to be a little rowdy once in a while; however, do not feel the need to write about how many beers you had in the park or how you spray painted "Love not War" on a wall downtown. Your friends may be stoked on your political views but "Johnny Law" can and will use it against you in a court of law. In 2009 a Minnesota student was taken to the Supreme Court on accusations of threatening another student - her Facebook statuses from earlier in the year were used against her.
Stay Away from Your Ex-Boyfriend or Ex-Girlfriend
When it comes to past relationships, Facebook and Twitter can be the death of you. Updates will be hard to ignore and pictures will be hard to turn away. If you are going through a break up then stay away from your ex's profile. It is inevitable that you will become emotional seeing them in a picture with a member of opposite sex. This ultimately leads to a few drinks, which usually leads to a "drunken Facebook message". Drunk texting is bad enough - but in Facebook messages it's easy to get carried away and write a novel, don't do it.
Zip it About Faculty
If you do not agree with something your professor or teacher has done, keep it to yourself. Posting it on Twitter or Facebook can seriously hurt your chances of a good grade. It can also attract disciplinary action from the school board. In February of 2011 a university senior was suspended from classes for commenting on a professor’s weight problem via Twitter. It is okay to have a professor or teacher on your friends list, just remember that they have full access to your account.
Keep Your Pictures ‘Rated PG’
Throughout high school and college, teachers and professors will be "creeping" your profile. Your profile is an open book to your life - use some smoke and mirrors to avoid exposing what you really do in your spare time. Don't upload pictures holding the largest "beer bong" on campus, or smoking the "greenest ganja" in residence. The pictures on your profile now will follow you throughout life and determine jobs in the future. In the end, try to keep a filter on your social network updates. Stay out of trouble and if you get rowdy, leave the camera at home. Remember, thousands of people have access to your profile - of these people, a good fraction are involved in your life and will judge like Judy. Use these tips to avoid disaster and have a hassle free social life.