Hey Students! About That Tweet….

(I originally posted this five months ago, today I see things that make me wonder how else to get this point across to you!)

Dear Students,

You might be surprised to find out I have been tweeting since 2007.  My first tweet from November, 2007:

I know, pretty profound, right?  As I write this post, I have tweeted 15,369 times.  Most of them have been about school or education is some fashion.  A few have been personal about family or sports…etc.  I have also been on Instragram, Flickr, Google +, and Facebook for quite some time.  My point in addressing this with you is not to get you to follow me or read what I have put on social media.  Rather it is to address your posting on social media. I do not purposely try to find what our students are putting on social media, but from time to time what students put on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even in text messages gets brought to my attention because of what was said or pictured.  Schools have an interest when what is said in cyberspace ends up disrupting the school day or makes someone feel unsafe or shamed at school.  I have to be honest.  Some of the stuff that has been posted shocks me!  People often post things on Twitter as though they are having a private conversation yet it is in full public view and can be found with almost any search engine.  It is not my intention to punish students for what they post, although sometimes discipline is doled out when rules are broken.  It is my intention though, to try to show you that what you put on social media can have consequences outside of school.  If your applying for school or for a job, you may want to consider what you have posted.  Read how tweets may keep you out of your school of choice or may get you fired.  You may have heard of the concept of a digital footprint, or a history of your interactions on the Internet.  What would people find if they followed your digital footsteps?  Would you want your future boss (or spouse) to read what you have written?  Once you put it out there it really never goes away, even if you delete it.  People can save, screenshot, archive, printout…etc, all the things you put out there.  Even if you have your Facebook (or Twitter) “locked down” so only friends can see what you post, they might not be your friend forever.  Former friends might just share those postings when you thought they were private.  Same with snapchat.  You think those pictures go up in smoke after ten seconds…..  Avoiding embarrassment or worse is really pretty easy though.  Answer this question before you post:  Do I want everyone to read what I am posting?  If the answer is no, then why are you posting it in a public place?  If you have made posts that could cause you problems in the future, go back and delete them.  Delete profiles on services that could cause you issues in the future.  Build a positive reputation online and do your best to post responsibly.  Social media is fun.  It allows us to stay connected to those most important to us.  Be careful to use it in a positive manner and follow the Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated. (Tweet as though your Grandma reads your tweets!)

think