Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Teachable Twitter Moment

Somehow the good folks at arlnow interpreted this tweet:

as: APS to Students: Stop Being Mean to Us on Twitter. Let's ignore the obvious click bait for a second.

I think these crude student tweets do offer a Teachable Moment. However, I'd say it's not really about "technology polices" (whatever that means). To me, it's this: when you use Twitter (or Facebook, or MySpace or Snapchat or Whatever) you're speaking on the permanent record.

The snarky tweet that you're so proud of can be read months or even years later. Will the manager of the summer intern program, or the college admissions officer find that tweet clever, or will it flag you as someone they want nothing to do with? That's a lot to consider when you're dashing off a quick message, but that's life on the web. With great power comes great responsibility.

And the knee jerk reaction by parents, teachers, and others of denying access to Twitter and other publishing platforms is in many cases just as misguided. When that manager or admissions officer searches for you on the web (and you should assume they will), having no-results found is a missed opportunity.

It's like the oft repeated financial advice: it's important to carry a little debt. Doing so, and paying it off regularly, shows that you can be trusted to borrow money. Same goes for your online presence: it's valuable to show that you know how to behave online.

So APS Students, go ahead and tweet all you like. Just assume that what you say will follow you forever. No pressure there.

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