Facebook is both a blessing and a curse, so beware.
Social media is a mixed blessing, especially for students. Yeah, it keeps you connected with all your friends and family even if you’re far away or really busy. But it also turns much of your private life into a public spectacle. In light of that, never:
- Trash talk your professors. You never know who you might offend even if your social media profiles are private. What you can’t control is information other people remember and pass along. That means, even if you’re not Facebook friends with a professor, they could still hear about it.
- Trash talk or bully other students. Just don’t. Ever. It’s not cool and it’s not funny. Insulting people on the Internet has real world impact.
- Get emotional. This is related to the two points above. Using social media when you’re upset is a recipe for disaster—that’s when you say things you don’t mean and your entire social circle sees it. New rule: avoid technology unless you’re in a good mood.
- Trust your privacy settings. The privacy settings on Facebook and other social media sites are practically incomprehensible. If you don’t want everyone to see something, be safe and don’t post it at all.
- Post anything illegal. While the best policy is always to refrain from things like underage drinking, it’s important to admit many college students have these experiences. But don’t post pictures or discussions about it online. It could come back to haunt you.
- Post anything unprofessional—especially if you’re looking for a job. This goes back to your privacy settings. You just never know who will see it, even if your profile is private.
- Ignore school policies. Know what you can and can’t do on the Internet if you’re using a school computer (in the library, for example) and if your school considers your social media presence reflective of their reputation. If so, posting opinions on politically or religiously sensitive topics could get you in trouble.