If you have sent a child off to high school, you understand that bittersweet feeling of being proud of this child nearing young adult independence while realizing that same child will be flying the nest in 4 incredibly short years. And boy, do those 4 years go quickly!
There are so many things that we as parents are warning our kids about throughout their high school years, especially around the topic of technology and social media. We tell them over and over that one inappropriate comment or picture could greatly alter their future hopes and dreams. We tell them stories of pictures that went viral or comments that pushed another child past the brink. We share the fact that college admissions offices are looking at applicants online accounts and college coaches, like Renee Sloan of the University of Illinois, are requesting to follow or friend recruits’ social media accounts. Everyone wants a peak at the ‘real you’ and not just the test scores. They are asking ‘are you who you said you are?’ and the answer can be found through a student’s social media presence. While they need to hear these messages repeatedly, we all get tired of being the Debbie Downer about their social media activity.
But are colleges, coaches and even employers only looking for that reason to eliminate a student from the process? Not necessarily. The positive message and conversation that we can have with our children is that social media can and should be used in a positive way to differentiate from the masses. College admissions offices, coaches, and employers are looking to social media to find reasons to select one student over another and not as a way to eliminate. Tools such as LinkedIn, are platforms where high school students can differentiate themselves from the thousands of other highly talented and qualified applicants.
Alan Katzman of Social Assurity, is focused on helping high school students create an advantage over the competition through social media. In this 2 minute video segment from an ABC news affiliate, Katzman describes how and why students should use social media, thus improving the quality of applicant they are. Take a minute to watch this and if you have a high school student, watch it together! The best news is that this a great way to talk about the positive ways to utilize social media.