By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
On the surface, you might think that your social media accounts have no bearing on your financial situation. Your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Vine are just your thoughts, pictures or videos, right?
Unfortunately, many people using social media do not realize the immense power — and potential danger — of social media upon their careers and education. With only one tweet, Facebook post or offensive Instagram picture, you could lose your job. You may also lose your chance of obtaining an education at your school.
In addition, the misuse of social media while you’re attending school has financial aid repercussions. You could lose your eligibility for Federal Student Aid (FSA) if you’re expelled for an offensive social media post. Similarly, you may also lose a scholarship or grant after being expelled.
Social media allows you to reach a wide audience and interact with other people. But be cautious and use it wisely; you never know who may see your social media posts.
Be Cognizant of What Social Media Content You Post
Luckily, we live in a country that offers us freedom of speech. But freedom of speech protects us only from imprisonment for our views and opinions. It does not protect us from being fired from our jobs or kicked out of schools. We all need to understand that this is the world we live in now.
Avoid Comments about Sensitive Topics
Certain topics should not be discussed on your social media accounts when they violate a site’s terms of service. Religion, politics, race relations and other highly controversial social issues often ignite a firestorm of ignorant and dangerous words. People have found themselves fired or expelled for their comments about race, religion, gender and other sensitive topics.
Remember, it is always easier to say something behind a keyboard. Before you post anything on a sensitive topic, take the time to think how your post might affect other people’s feelings.
Keep Your Vacation Plans Off Social Media
Have you ever seen someone post their vacation plans on social media? This practice is always dangerous, because you never know who might get that information. Letting social media strangers know you will not be home for a long stretch of time increases your chance of a home invasion.
Keep Your Profiles Private and Restrict Your Personal Information
Your identity can be compromised when you put personal information on social media. Most of us have our full name and birthday on our social media sites. A thief could take that information and get your Social Security number to impersonate you and run up bills in your name. It is always advisable to keep your profiles private and to put as little personal information as possible online.
These tips may seem paranoid, but we live in a society where people feel they need to share their opinions on every subject on social media. We also live in a society where cybercrime is at an all-time high.
Social media is great for sharing memories, connecting with old friends and other harmless interactions. Just be wise about how you use your social media accounts so that they don’t affect your educational journey or career.