The Third Person Impact of Social Media Posts

Yesterday's editorial in The Brown Daily Herald discusses a critical yet often overlooked element of why schools and businesses are checking applicant social media. The editorial "Cleaning Up Social Media Pages" did not discuss the impact of social media on a student's reputation. No, this editorial discussed the impact student social media posts have on the overall reputation of Brown University and how Brown is perceived by prospective students and their parents as a result.  

"Many of our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts can be linked to Brown, and how we portray ourselves online could jeopardize the way outsiders feel about the institution we represent. " This is a powerful concept to understand. Our online presence reflects upon the reputation of the groups and organizations we represent whether they be our schools, our employers, our clubs, our associations. 

Businesses are also aware of how prospects, customers and clients use social media to learn about the culture of the organization and the employees they are dealing with. Therefore, the lines between personal and professional are blurred as our personal lives, activities and beliefs as found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter attach to and impact the reputation of the institutions we represent. In many ways, the collective branding of constituents is more real, powerful and compelling than any corporate branding. Realizing this, institutions now possess a pecuniary interest in the personal social media activities of their constituents. 

This is just one more reason to take care of your social media because it defines who you are and how you will be perceived by others. Elements of good digital citizenship must be taken seriously and permeate throughout all of our online activities. There are no firewalls or defined boundaries between our personal and professional selves. Our social media activities impact the reputation of the third parties we represent and likewise, our own reputations are impacted by the activities of those we associate with online.