We all know that it’s probably not a good idea to set that picture of yourself “partying” as your Facebook profile picture, but is that all you really have to look out for? The truth is, using social media could get you an internship or a full-time job, but depending on how you use it, it could also get you arrested. Take some advice on using social media to earn Extra Credit!
The Five Best Things you can do with Social Media:
1. Stay in touch! Remember when you found all your second grade friends on Facebook and it was so nice to reconnect? Keep it up! The kid who ate paste back then might own a Fortune 500 company in ten years.
2. Put yourself on multiple sites and networks. By all means, stay on Facebook and tweet away but make a professional networking profile too. Sites like LinkedIn will help you build a profile that highlights your professional skills and allows you to network with others in your field.
3. Branch out. UMBC student groups and offices all use social media to attract students. Step outside your comfort zone and connect with one of these groups. Joining their network will give you updates and tell you the next meeting time; the rest is up to you.
4. Take advantage of your alumni network. UMBC alumni are constantly in touch with the campus community about job opportunities and passing on their experiences to undergraduates. Start off by connecting with UMBC alumni groups on LinkedIn or Facebook. Here is a link to more information.
5. Promote and market yourself. Have a clear profile that highlights your key accomplishments and states your goals for the future. Don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals in the field even if you just want some advice about the industry.
The Five Worst Things you can do with Social Media:
1. Post sensitive information or pictures of illegal or inappropriate activities. We’ve all heard this one before but it’s obviously still a problem. We all know a friend who has pictures with beer cans or red cups at a party. Sure, they’re good for a laugh, but remember that anything you put online stays there and you never know who might see it.
2. Use derogatory or offensive language anywhere online. From your profile(s) to discussion boards to your tweets, keep your composure. Once it’s online, you never know when it could come back around.
3. Lie about your experiences or misrepresent yourself. Especially on a more professional site, you might have prospective co-workers and employers looking at your profile. Don’t get caught in a lie when it comes to an employment opportunity or an interview.
4. Be friends with your professors or supervisors on Facebook. While this isn’t always the worst thing, it can get you into some pretty tough spots. Imagine calling in sick to work one day and your boss seeing that you played Farmville all day. It doesn’t mean you were lying, but it’s not exactly making the best impression either.
5. Take online security lightly. Using the same password for every account, accepting unknown friend requests, or clicking on mysterious links are all ways to get yourself in trouble. If your account gets hacked and information is changed or stolen, then you are facing a serious problem.
Extra Credit Discussion Question:
What other pitfalls and opportunities have you found using social media as a UMBC student? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!