Dean advises students to use caution with social media presence

Zach Trueblood

Staff Writer

One would be hard pressed to walk through the Student Union at Parkland College and not notice a multitude of students browsing through various social media sites.

Whether they’re scrolling through their newsfeed or tweeting a friend, many students are always “plugged in.”

Dean of Students Marietta Turner wants students to realize the weight that pressing the submit button can carry. She reiterated once you hit submit, that information is out there forever and available for anyone to see.

While social media can be used in positive ways, Turner feels students need to also practice discernment and judicious reasoning when reading and posting.

“I remind people that this is a different world. You really have to think twice before you hit that submit button. I want students to understand that once you put it into writing it becomes real so be careful what you decide to post,” Turner said.

She could remember a few instances with students posting on Facebook that quickly elevated to the possibility of slander. As the dean of students, nearly all of that information gets back to her one way or another.

Ruthie Counter is a Staff Writer in the Marketing department here at Parkland. She expressed some similar views to those of Turner when it comes to social media presence as a student.

“While the social media are a great way to get one’s personal brand out to the public, they are also a dangerous tool if not used carefully. Students should realize that posting information about themselves through social media is a big part of personal brand delivery,” Counter said. “In fact, employers will often look to see how a prospective employee ‘carries’ himself or herself on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, and other sites. They make note of what they find, sometimes using this information to make hiring judgments.”

Counter explained how the marketing team regulates the college’s many social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WordPress-blog accounts. They also use Merit, which allows students to keep track of their academic accomplishments and share those with their social media network.

Parkland’s own social media presence is also important to the wellbeing of the college. Counter mentioned that it helps provide important information that students can use. It also helps give the college a good idea of how others feel about certain services and employees.

Not every student is as eager to comb through social media. Olivia Brady is a computer science major and even though she’s proficient with technology, she doesn’t use social media.

“Growing up I used to hear about so much garbage going around on social media. I chose to stay out of it and I really see it as more of a nuisance than something that helps,” Brady said.

Brady is able to use the time she doesn’t spend on social media to focus on schoolwork, play videogames or Dungeons and Dragons. She reaffirmed the view that social media is not for everyone.

Despite its shortcomings, Turner said social media can be a great tool to bring awareness to certain issues.

The college plans to use social media as a platform to bring civility awareness to Parkland.

October is Civility Month and the college plans to collaborate with the Choose Kindness Organization.

CKO is a student-led community wide initiative. Their main goal is to promote positivity, inclusivity, and anti-bullying awareness. The organization plans to get a number of athletes involved to spearhead the initiative.

Possible plans include the making of online videos, “Kindness Talk Concerts”, to share information and ideas, and to create a strong social media presence through facets like Facebook and Instagram.

“The organization wrote to us and wondered if we’d like to include it under our social media umbrella. I thought it was perfect because we need more student and social media involvement,” Turner said. “It’s really a chance for us to get more social media presence. Once these positive videos, posts, and things start going viral it becomes a snowball effect and many people can get informed.”

Turner said this year for Civility Month, they are focusing on Parkland’s core values. These values can be accessed in the course catalog and also online and include Honesty and Integrity, Responsibility, and Multiculturalism.

She feels that by collaborating with CKO they can better promote inclusivity. She thinks that even though we are a diverse community at Parkland, we’re all very similar. She aims to create common bonds.

“There’s a human factor there and you come to find out that being human is what it’s about,” Turner stated.

The goal of these programs is to get students involved and use their social media avenues for building healthy relationships and promoting positive messages. They can serve as groundwork for students that are building a portfolio and hope to enter the workforce.

For more information about Civility Month events stop by the dean of students office in room U242. For more information about social media presence, go to www.socialmediaexaminer.com.