Social media is a great space. You can find out what Beyonce had for breakfast, catch up with someone you haven’t seen since high school, find out what's happening in Argentina or watch a cat paint a mural. There is so much to see and experience. However, if you are an educator, what social media footprint passes for another profession will get you fired!
I am writing this post because we educators are human just like everyone else. We shop. We go out. We have friends. We have the occasional beverage. And, yes, we have romantic relationships. But sharing who you are comes at a price. The following are my three social media rules every educator should consider.
1. Keep it PBS
This means let Vicky have her secret. Do not post any pictures of yourself in swim suits, unmentionables, or anything tight or low-cut. Avoid like the plague posting pictures of yourself dancing like a girl gone wild or stuffing a dollar in a G-string. Shred those, burn those, and bury those. That up-skirt or whale-tail photo will get you banished. Same thing goes for dudes. Revealing to the public whether you wear boxers or briefs is a serious no-no.
Don’t forget to tell your friends not to tag you on Facebook. They may not care about what the PTA or the Dean thinks about your trip to Cabo, but you should. Your reputation is worth more than any reminders from your vacations or nights on the town.
2. Follow and click at your own risk
From fellow educators, to politicians, to actors and musicians to porn stars and strippers, you can follow anyone on Facbook, Twitter, or Google+. Stay away from the porn stars and strippers.!!! Unless you are a college professor who teaches courses related to human sexuality or a sex educator for a university, nonprofit, or for-profit organization, nothing good will come from following them.
No judgments here. You are an adult and are entitled to do whatever you want to that is legal. But it's the parents and school board you have to worry about. Even if they themselves have Jenna Jameson's entire catalog, they can still make a stink of you interacting with her online.
3. If you Youtube it, they will come
This means you shall not post any videos of yourself drinking, drunk, on the pole, grinding, kissing, or any number of activities that will get you sent straight to the principal’s office. You may be an adult, but there are things that you have to keep private as an educator. Unfair as that might be, your online life has to be more broadcast TV than HBO.
Beware of sharing any opinions that you would not feel comfortable with the parents of your students seeing. You may think Mitt Romney is a douche. But tweeting to the world that you believe so may bring you undo attention in your area. I am not saying not to express your political beliefs; I definitely do. Just understand there may be consequences for doing so. And NEVER, EVER, EVER say anything negative about your school, your students, a parent, the school board, etc. Need I say more?
What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens on Google stays online forever!