Watch what you post

CHRISTIAN HARTSELLE | | Opinion Columnist

Students should take responsibility for the material they post online, because businesses use social media to evaluate prospective employees.

I do not think employers should rely on social media profiles to assess individuals. Nevertheless, students should consider how they want to represent themselves in cyberspace.

If you want to paint a messy picture of yourself, it is your prerogative, but you must also accept the consequences.

In the current digital age, students have a unique opportunity to promote themselves using social media.

Family and friends that are connected with you can see your accomplishments. Employers can, too. Students who use their online presence as a tool have an advantage over those who do not.

Unfortunately, students often damage their own images through their web presence.

Even with the opportunity to establish a solid reputation online, many students post pictures of themselves and friends drinking underage and doing other illegal activities. These types of messages will likely hinder their chances of being hired or recruited by employers.

Speaking badly of managers and teachers does not help students’ web presences either. Nor does posting emotionally or while under the influence.

Almost all employers use social networking sites to screen prospective employees.

About three-quarters of employers use Facebook, a little over half use Twitter and 48 percent use LinkedIn, according to the Undercover Recruiter.

According to the article, 69 percent of employers rejected a candidate because of what they saw on these sites. However, 68 percent of these employers said they hired someone based on the professionalism of their social media account.

Freshman Elena DeCook said she does not like employers looking at students’ online profiles, but she understands why organizations take them into account when evaluating talent.

“It is like how people judge you from what you are wearing,” said DeCook. “But you are representing them. Greek life wants to be represented well, and so do these companies. But social media is fun and being deliberate is strange.”

The mode of social media depends, as well.

I believe on Twitter it is more acceptable to post whatever you want. In my case, family members are less likely to see what I post on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Instagram typically demonstrates what you would be fine with your grandparents seeing, whether it be pictures with friends or selfies of you smiling with a nice filter. Facebook is primarily used by college students to provide an image of themselves for their family.

“Everything is more cult-ish,” said DeCook.”Everything you do reflects your job, your church, your sorority. Have you mentioned your Greek house lately on Twitter?”

Separating our personal lives from our professional lives is more difficult in the modern age because of our dependence on cell phones, computers and social media applications.

Students must remember to watch the messages they display on social media. You can still have fun on social media, but there needs to be a balance.

If you have to make your account private, do so.

In all cases students should think twice before they post something on the Internet.