Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An ounce of prevention...

After graduating college, I moved to West Hollywood to study improv comedy at The Groundlings. I used my Twitter feed to test material, all of which was humorous and well-intended within the context of my community. Several years and career changes later, after having success in the startup world and battling Lyme disease, I landed my dream job: CTO of Jeb Bush's political operations. Unfortunately, my Twitter feed was unearthed, spun completely out of context to make me appear as someone I am certainly not, and I lost my job. I created Clear to make sure situations like mine never happen to anyone ever again. 
- "Clear" Founder Ethan Czahor

Yes, an in-development app called "Clear" will scan your social media accounts for "dumb"
comments that could prove potentially damaging to one's character. As wonderful as it is that such things exist, at the same time we must acknowledge the band-aid this is for the primary problem. Whether or not you are vying for a public office or position, perhaps there are certain things one perhaps should not say on public forum. But where does that knowledge come from?

Understanding the culture (not to mention potential consequences) of social media is a key aspect of being a responsible digital citizen. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If we're going to invest our efforts in our students, we might also consider the importance of giving them the knowledge they need to avoid the silly social media mistakes that can ruin careers. 

If you aren't sure where the lines of decency are online, these 25 Things You Should Never Do on Social Media, are a good place to start. After you know what not to do, consider this post by Brandon Grasley on professional use of Twitter, as well as Doug Peterson's response. Both are EdTech professionals and have some fascinating, and occasionally contrasting, advice.

As useful as "Clear" may be, if you're a responsible digital citizen, you hopefully won't need it.

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