Social Media Smarts!

As the Social Media Director at Camp Towanda, my job is to capture and share with all our “fans” the spirit of our camp.  I am also responsible for educating and empowering our campers and staff how to be good digital citizens so that we can all be smarter, safer and kinder in the online world and the real world.

A couple of weeks ago I attended an eye-opening lecture at Tenafly High School called “Being Socially Smart”.  I went in thinking this would be about the dangers of social media and how it can jeopardize your chances of getting into your top-choice college or landing that dream internship.  However, I walked out realizing that social media has the power to be your ticket to success.

141010153604-snapchat-gasp-620xaNow that I have your attention– before we discuss all the positive potential of social media, I do want to share something that is in the news.  Snapchat, a popular instant chatting app that 46 % of 12-24 year olds are using, recently encountered a massive breach of 98,000 snapped photos and leaked them online.  Oh Snap! How can that be when Snapchat’s whole premise is to make your content “disappear”? That’s because nothing digital is private. Just ask all those celebrities whose accounts were recently hacked. Anything taken on your device is connected to your phone’s IP address and can be tracked back to your account. There are also many 3rd party apps that were specifically designed to capture and save snapped photos.  Nothing is invisible, nothing disappears and everything is permanent. You have heard me say many times, “think before you post”. But after this week’s “Snappening”, please think before you Snap. Is it something you want the world to see?

Speaking of what you DO want the world to see…here’s what I learned at last week’s lecture. As college admissions, internships and jobs become increasingly more competitive, social media can actually help set you apart! Think of your social media as part of the interview process- a window into who you are and what makes you different and interesting. If someone is looking to learn more about you, the first thing they will do is Google you. Give this a try. Include your name, email address and high school. What comes up on the first page? Is it something you are proud of and sets you apart? Is it a reflection of your character? How about your social media accounts? Do they paint a picture of your passions, your interests and contributions to the community? Are you using them to connect with that networks that interest you at universities and professionally? Are you following and engaging the schools, professors and thought leaders on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram? If you can answer YES to these questions, you are on your way to being “socially smart”!

1969220_263622867148131_533608524_nMr. Katzman’s philosophy challenges us to use social media to reflect and communicate our passions and enhance our digital footprint. “Think before you post” takes on new meaning.  Now you can ask yourself three questions before you post:

1. Is this a reflection of who I am? Does it reflect my passions, interests and commitments?
2. Is this something I would want my parents, college admissions, coach, Mitch & Stephanie or future employer to see?
3. Do my posts create a balanced view of who I am? It’s okay to have some social activity on your profiles as long as it is balanced out.

There are many ways you can control your digital presence by enhancing your social media accounts with character-driven content, published articles, blogs and more. Camp is a wonderful passion that can set you apart, show the world what you are all about and what’s important to you.

I also encourage you to check out Social Assurity and see if you would be interested in their services (which include social media optimization and coaching).  After hearing their founder Alan Katzman speak, I was impressed.  You can check out their website here, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @social_assurity, and let them know that you come from Camp Towanda!

And remember…you are what you Tweet!

-Lauren Eckstein-Forman