Spring break social media tips

GVL/Maya Grant
Seth Groenveld and Zach Stephan

GVL/Maya Grant Seth Groenveld and Zach Stephan

Hannah Lentz

Spring break is a time to make unforgettable memories. However, it is important to remember that these memories can also be seen by current and future employers, as well as other authoritative figures.

“Spring break is a time where there is often increasingly relaxed behavior from students that is not usually associated with them during the academic school year,” said Sergeant Jeff Stoll of the Grand Valley Police Department (GVPD).

While finishing up midterms and packing your suitcases, here are some things to remember before leaving for vacation:

1. Application downloads

Many applications will ask for personal information such as access to photos, lists of friends and phone numbers. Occasionally, these applications can post to social media accounts without the user’s permission. Whether information is posted directly or indirectly, illicit or inappropriate posts may be easily accessible by those looking through your activity.

2. Geographic location

When traveling, many social media accounts will update location information depending on your privacy settings. With applications such as YikYak, your location will filter posting to cater to your current location. With these capabilities, you should also be aware that others may be familiar with your location, even if the account is posted as anonymous.

3. Screenshots

Applications such as Snapchat promote their “vanishing” capabilities. However, even if a picture or video is sent with the expectation that it will disappear shortly after, phones can “snap” a picture of the temporary display and individuals other than the sender can post these captured images to other accounts without the user’s permission.

“Anything you send or post can be extremely hard to remove or take back, even if it is deleted at the source,” Stoll said. “This is something to keep in mind when sharing images throughout these applications.”

4. Employer investigations

It is important to remember that, often, your appearance on social media is a reflection of how you would represent a company or business in the future. Additionally, students are often employed through an “at will” employment policy, meaning that they can be fired due to a variety of reasons based on employer judgment. This means that you could get fired for making an inappropriate online post.

“Sometimes, students have a mentality that ‘what happens away from GVSU stays away from GVSU,’ and this is just not the case,” said Ginger Lange, associate director of the GVSU Career Center.

5. Professional vs. social

Though social media is often seen as a source of entertainment, there are also professional forms of social media, such as LinkedIn, that serve a similar, more career-based purpose. It is important to remain professional in both forms of social media, especially when entering the long line of college students looking for jobs after graduation.

“Students sometimes think that employers will only look at professional sites instead of outlets such as Facebook but, in reality, an employer has the option to look at both when making a decision to hire you or not,” Lange said.

Though all of these tips focus on general ideas to avoid over spring break, what specifically can you get in trouble for? GVPD has complied a list of some things to avoid:

  • Posts showing or promoting underage alcohol consumption
  • Pictures or evidence of the use or association with illicit narcotics
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Risky situations that could lead to troublesome consequences

While it may be fun to post all elements of your spring break trip to every aspect of the social media world, make sure that what you’re posting today won’t get you in trouble tomorrow. 

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