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Social Media Dos and Don’ts At University

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 The first days of university can be a frantic rush to add every new person you meet as a friend on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media network you can think of.

While you’re likely to post updates and send DMs every single day, it’s worth remembering that you probably don’t need to share every single moment of your first uni bar crawl. How you act and behave on social media can have far-reaching consequences, so it’s important to follow some basic rules for what you do and don’t post.

If you want to avoid a social media history that comes back to haunt you, follow these social media dos and don’ts.

Don’t: Rant about your day (especially when you’re emotional)

Someone threw your wet laundry out of the washing machine and left it in a pile on the floor. Or maybe you didn’t get a good mark in the essay you worked really hard on and you just want to let everyone know how unfair it all is.

Whatever it is that’s getting you down, an all-caps rant is only going to have negative long-term consequences, even if it helps you feel better in the short-term.

Before you rush to pick up your phone, take some time to make sure you’re in the right mindset then think to yourself if it’s really necessary. If the answer is no, then don’t post it. The world (and especially the internet) is full of too much negativity, so don’t add to it!

Do: Post about things you’re passionate about

It’s good to talk about things that really interest you on social media, and it’s great that you have opinions on topics – social media was designed to connect people and help everyone have a voice.

However, sharing your passions with others shouldn’t come at the cost of offending other people or harming your future employment prospects. Posting a negative comment about a public figure or getting drawn into a bitter argument about something is the kind of behavior which is hard to erase completely and can give people a negative impression of you.

Don’t: Post unprofessional pictures or videos

You may be really enjoying your (slightly too crazy) night out and want to post a few pictures and videos on your Instagram story to let everyone know how much of a good time you’re having, but there are some parts of a night out which you probably don’t want recorded for posterity.

Many employers are now carrying out extensive online checks as part of the recruitment process, and something you thought wouldn’t matter at the time, may prevent you getting your dream job a few years down the line. Your online reputation is as important as your real life one, so if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see something then you probably shouldn’t post it.

Don’t be fooled and think that having a Finsta – a ‘fake’ Instagram account where you share pictures only with close friends – is a way around this though. Although it’s unconnected to your normal social media accounts, it’s worth noting that people can still screenshot these images without you knowing.

Do: Have fun!

Make sure you post photos and writing that make you feel good and make you happy. This sounds obvious, but so much of social media is focused on posting what you think other people would like to see, rather than what makes you feel good.

Don’t: Post confidential details online

There’s a reason professional social media stalkers are a thing now. Check your privacy settings on all your social media apps to see who can access your profile, particularly if it’s been years since you last checked them.

Also make sure you don’t give away your mobile number or new uni address. It’s worth making sure your house location can’t be seen in any of your pictures too – it’s so easy to do by accident but can give criminals vital information.

Do: Keep on top of events happening around your university

Social media can be a great way to find out about fun events going on at uni, especially Facebook as it suggests events in your area that you might be interested in and tells you how many of your friends are going. Clubs and societies will also often promote events on Instagram.

Don’t: Believe everything you read

Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that an article claiming “taking a bath with a glass of wine is the equivalent of going on a 10-mile run” is legitimate, as much as you would like to believe it.

Despite this, it’s very easy to choose to believe the good things and disbelieve the bad things, only paying attention to information that aligns with your pre-existing beliefs. Social media can be an echo chamber though, so try to rely on trusted sources outside of social media for information.

Do: Use social media to encourage and compliment others

Social media is a great way to support your friends. If your family or friends have done something great, post about it to let them know that you’re proud of them, or comment on their posts to let them know you’re looking out for them.

Don’t: Engage in Twitter arguments

Yes, people will sometimes say something you don’t agree with, but arguing with them won’t solve anything. Especially as some people seemingly only exist to provoke strangers on the internet.

You’re better off finding someone you can discuss the issue with in real life, where nobody can hide behind their computer.

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Lizw W & Samantha G saved this
Written by Chloe Lane
A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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