5 Ways College Students Ruin Their Reputations on Facebook

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In today’s world, your Internet presence is important. It’s visible to almost all, and it can reflect who you are as a person, whether you want it to or not. Here are 5 pictures/statuses you don’t want showing up on Grandma’s newsfeed–or for potential employers in the future.

1. The party shot

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume those red cups are filled with lemonade, but the rest of your friends on Facebook won’t offer the same courtesy. Red cups, regardless of what they’re filled with, have immediate connotations. Those, and other party-style photos, don’t best represent you—even if you aren’t the one holding the drinks. Underage drinking never looks great on your timeline. Before you post, take the time to consider what message is being sent. If it were a photo you once-judged someone for, or something that might elicit a phone call from Mom and Dad, you probably should keep it on the camera roll. Even if you know the reality of the situation, assume that your audience doesn’t. Look at your pictures through unbiased eyes.

2. PDA

While I’m totally happy for you and your two-and-a-half-month anniversary, I could do without the page long status. Facebook is not a diary, and when it comes to PDA, less is more. To be clear, PDA is more than kissing pictures. PDA includes anything from overly long statuses to mushy love letters on one another’s walls. Take yourself back—two and a half months back—to the days before you knew “the one.” Remember how annoyed you were at that person on Facebook. Don’t become that person.

3. The Kanye West Style Rant

If you’re annoyed about a grade, upset about the cafeteria closing early, or just feeling mad in general, text your Mom. (Or your dad, friend, therapist, etc.) Remember that Facebook is public. It sounds dramatic, but what you do on the Internet is permanent. Don’t doubt that someone could screenshot your status. Deleting your drama doesn’t take away its effect. Plus, you’ll earn a reputation. For the same reason people follow Kanye West on Twitter, people will be checking your wall for any sort of rant. There’s a place to express these emotions, and it’s privately. Don’t earn a reputation as a loose cannon; it’s a hard one to shake off.

4. Controversy Connor

While you may not be the one ranting, there’s always the Facebook friend hunting for drama. Whether it’s in the form of political drama, personal drama, or just plain drama—Controversy Connor, as I like to call him/her, always shows up with guns blazing. Where there’s smoke, there’s Connor. There’s no reason to get into crazy debates on Facebook. Of course there are going to be times when you feel the need to share your opinion, and that’s fine. Just take a step back and consider how often you share your opinion. The approach is important. Leave the cutting comments out of it. Just like you wouldn’t start yelling at that person IRL, there’s no reason to start yelling at them over Facebook—metaphorically speaking. Come to these conversations with love. Always be aware of how your responses might be perceived.

5. ANYTHING you wouldn’t want your Mom to see

At the end of the day, think about who is looking at your stuff. Sure, it’s your best friends. It may even be the boy/girl you have a crush on. Still, more than anybody else, your biggest fan is your Mom. Or maybe your Grandma. Possibly Great Aunt Pearl. She’s the one liking every status and commenting on every picture. My grandma posted photos of dolphins (my favorite animal) on my wall daily. I knew she was watching, and I did my best not to post anything I wouldn’t want her to see. This is the best way to monitor your posting. Think of your audience, and think of who you are. Facebook makes it easy to represent a false reality, for better or worse. Try and use it for better.

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Paige Dinneny is a recent graduate of Biola University. Born and raised in Southern California, she currently lives in Long Beach and is now pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Fiction at Cal State Long Beach. Her days are filled with many jobs including social media marketing, retail and this! She spends her free time writing, watching the Game Show Network and going to concerts.