Why Every Student Should Take Social Media Seriously

As a modern student I’m sure you’ve heard it before, “photos are forever,” but are you aware of the consequences of posting things online? In today’s world of instant everything, it’s easy to forget that what you put online can be permanent (READ: “5 Reasons Students Should Blog“). From screenshots to retweets, your actions have never been more subject to instant consequences. Here’s a consideration before posting anything online, “would I want a college admissions board to see/read this?” Odds are you didn’t really mean that harmful tweet, or you weren’t being yourself when you got tagged in a party picture, yet the internet won’t know that. It’s best just to present yourself online the same way you present yourself in person.


Want to know how serious we are about this? We’ve brought in “The College Savvy Coach,” Sia Knight, to share her own story of why photos really are forever. Enjoy and share with your friends.

Sia Knight’s Story

Recently I wrote about a conversation that I had with a relative after seeing her risqué Twitter handle. I urged this young woman to rethink the image that she wanted to portray to the world. She seemed relatively unconcerned and believed that she could erase any harmful information before any permanent damage could be done. Her attitude confirmed a belief that I have long held: young people often underestimate the power of a negative impression and are reckless about their image.


Images never go away. The picture that accompanies this blog post was taken over 20 years ago. I had forgotten about it and did not have a copy of this photo. In fact, I became aware of this picture’s existence when I was tagged on Facebook. Luckily, I was not ashamed or embarrassed by the content of the picture (even though my colorful shirt looks like it came straight out of a TLC video), in fact, I was sort of amused by it. I am not showing this picture just to walk down memory lane; the point of my sharing this photo is to remind young people that pictures never, ever go away.

In this era of digital technology, anyone with a Smartphone can snap a picture of you and share your image in a matter of seconds without your permission. In fact, I did not get permission from any of the women in this picture and I am sharing it with a worldwide audience. Don’t take this only as a cautionary tale about what you post and repost online, remember this advice when you are in a potentially embarrassing situation: hitting delete on your keyboard will not erase the permanent record that a photograph leaves.

Sia Knight is an educator, award-winning speaker and college admissions coach. Do you have questions about how to plan and prepare for college? Contact her today for a free 15-minute College Check-Up.

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