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AskAda: How do you feel about employers and college admissions officers checking into our social media?

The ramifications of our behaviour on social media channels are affecting our 'real' lives more and more these days.

Maggie Brown, editor, posted the article “Applying to college? Admissions officers may be checking you out on social media” this past week. In the article, she references that Harvard University revoked ten admissions from hopeful students based on their previous posts to social media. These ten students allegedly had posted explicit or racist memes in a Facebook group chat that was seen by the admissions office at the university.

How do you feel about employers and college admissions officers checking into our social media?

At a meeting in the heart of silicon valley back in 2012, I spoke to a group about the dangers of social media, the impacts it’s are starting to have on our lives, and the future repercussions we could face because of the content we post.

Back then my words fell on deaf ears. Most of the people I met with that day were profiting from the standard practices of data hoarding and ad-model algorithms.

For me, it felt like I was the mom at a frat party, or someone advising people of the dangers of alcohol during a wine tour. Just a few short years later we are seeing people lose opportunities, jobs, and friends because of things they posted online in the past.

At the end of the day, it's up to us as individuals on how we present ourselves online.

While social media can be used to share our pictures and stories, communicate and gain support from peers, it also can show personality traits we might not want anyone else, much less everyone else to see. How do you act around your boss and coworkers? How about your friends? Can you say you present yourself the same way in front of both?

In some ways, it seems fitting that social media is now being used as a tool to decide if someone is a good candidate for a university or job position. Let's face it, to a degree, digital interaction has replaced face to face interactions. We are in an era where we form opinions on other's personalities, interests, and core values based on what is posted on their various profiles.

For this very reason, I stress posting with purpose on any social media platform.

Social media was designed to be a place to connect with loved ones but has since changed for many into a space where we see and hear people sound off their opinions, good, bad and sometimes, really ugly. I encourage those who choose to use social media and post content to consider the Rotary Four-Way test BEFORE hitting the post button:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

An exercise such as this can make one think about the impact of what they are posting to the internet and these social spaces. It can also serve as a reminder that we need to understand the importance of posting with positive intent and purpose. What are your thoughts about the content you are posting or seeing online? Do you think that it is right that colleges are using these profiles for admission purposes? How about employers? Have you ever used someone's social media presence to make a decision about them?

If you are seeking advice in the world of tech and how it affects you and your family, we encourage you to send an email to, and we will do our best to provide practical, insightful advice.

Janice Taylor is a social entrepreneur, mother, speaker, author and online safety advocate. Her credo of compassion, community, and caring drives the vision of her company Mazu, a safe and fun online platform for families. Mazu gives parents a place to communicate, play and connect with their children in a safe engagement environment.

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