Venting on social media can have a negative impact on your digital footprint and future. It’s healthy for students to vent when they’re frustrated. However, if you vent online then that post can be discovered by your dream school or future employer.
Why should students care?
- Everything you do online lives on in the public sphere, from your Instagram bio to your comments on Facebook
- Colleges, employers, and friends will rarely tell you if your post offends them or raises eyebrows—but it will change their actions towards you in the future
Why do colleges care?
- Colleges will not want to accept applicants who haven’t positively represented themselves online
- Since students are an extension of the college’s brand, they want to ensure that their brand is shining online
Ways that people vent online
- Criticizing people, companies, or schools
- Posting questionable photos
- Creating fake accounts of other people
- Trolling (AKA sharing deliberately offensive posts with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them)
What could go wrong?
Students can get suspended for venting on social media. In a statement sent to NBC Bay Area, the Evergreen School District confirmed that “a few students were sending inappropriate and threatening messages” to a child “via Facebook”. Because the threats had a potential impact on campus, school administrators “appropriately investigated” the matter, and police were notified.
A San Jose Police Officer said officers arrived at the school to check out the Facebook threats. Three girls were suspended and two were also cited for making criminal threats. Once police investigate things it can start a paper-trail that can follow you for years to come (and change your chances of getting a job).
- Don’t ever post online or on social media when you are upset
- Vent to a friend via text message
- Call a trusted family member
- Consider meeting with your best friend face-to-face to vent over coffee
- Before posting, ask yourself if you would want to include this post in the application of your dream college or future employer. If the answer is no, (or even maybe) then don’t post
- If there’s any chance your post could offend someone, assume it will and do not publish your post