Are you in social media groups for freelance court reporters? Do you engage in conversations related to a post your friend added on social media? Have you thought about the consequences of social media and your career? If you haven’t yet, it’s time to learn from a teachable moment, but not censorship, at Harvard. Whether you’re a prospective college student, seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, there are lessons to be learned.
The Harvard Factor
Ten prospective Harvard students were members of a private Facebook group that was chatting and posting about controversial, and at times vile, topics. When the university found out, they rescinded the students’ admission. The decision has fueled the first amendment debate of what free speech is.
Ultimately, the students can post whatever they want with the understanding that the content can have long lasting consequences, like not having a degree from a prestigious university. After all, Harvard has the right to rescind admissions to anyone they think isn’t the caliber of student that want, like those in the private Facebook group.
Privacy settings aren’t as private as you might think.
A friend of mine posted a rant about her employer to a select list of people on her Facebook profile. Many of us commented that she should think about the consequences of such a rant. She didn’t think it was bad because it was a private post but we were quick to point out that all we had to do was take a screenshot and email her employer for them to know about it. She promptly removed the post.
Just because you post to a select group like my friend or the Harvard prospects, doesn’t mean a different audience won’t have access.
Think about the long-term consequences.
Whether it’s a comment on a friend’s political post or a photo from a party, what you show and say on social media can have long lasting consequences. The students won’t have Harvard degrees. My friend could have lost her job. And you, as a court reporting professional, could lose clients and/or get a less than savory reputation for your postings. The better choice is to be mindful of what you’re putting on the internet.
Prospective clients and/or employers are searching social media, asking your friends, and making sure you’re the right fit for their project or business. Lock down your privacy settings. Unfriend or unfollow people who might seek to harm you. Remove and untag yourself in content you wouldn’t want a colleague to see. You can’t get rid of everything but you can certainly mitigate risk and it’s important to do. The consequences of social media and your career can be life-altering, just ask the would-be Harvard students.