Bear with me, I’m revving up for another mother-daughter talk. No, not THE talk. This time I’m talking to my teen about ruling the world through social media.
If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that when I started my Facebook account it was to keep an eye on my daughter. You’ll also know that it’s been a bumpy ride. I think she showed better judgment when she started out in 7th Grade, as age has not brought maturity. Now that she is an independent high school student, she is posting content that will bring nothing but trouble.
This past week, she finally placed one too many crappy items on her Facebook wall, and I pulled the plug. Well, not exactly the plug. I didn’t ask her to get off Facebook. That wouldn’t teach her anything, and could very likely backfire. With her permission and password, I went in for a little light housecleaning.
No one specific item on her Facebook profile was truly awful, but she has to learn that in this day and age, you have to be very careful about what you post as there is no such thing as online privacy.
All Facebook, the unofficial Facebook resource, describes a couple of techniques that teens are using to control their Facebook presence: “whitewalling” and the “super-logoff.” Whitewalling refers to deleting all Facebook content after sharing a message, while the “super-logoff” is just that. Some teens deactivate their Facebook account when they’re done for the day, only to reactivate it the next day.
These techniques work for damage control, but they do nothing for boosting a teen’s online resume. Nowadays, it’s not good enough to simply keep your digital footprint clean, you have to own your online presence. Opportunities are won and lost based on what can be Googled about you.
I believe that by the time she applies to college, or for jobs and internships, my teen’s online resume will be just as important (if not more) than her application forms. If she wants to find open doors in the future, she not only has to limit damaging content online, but she also has to build a web presence that shows her in the light in which she would like to be seen.
And that is where I come in, because right now, she is displaying content that is appealing to her target demographic of other teens. She isn’t thinking about the adults in positions of power who can, and will, read this as well.
When I have this social media talk with my teen, it won’t be one talk so much as a shared process of discovery as I’m figuring things out myself while trying to build my brand online.
For example, I’m currently mulling Four Rules for Social Media Success cited by Peter Shankman of HARO (Help A Reporter Out) in the recent presentation, It’s Not Web 2.0. It’s Not Web 3.0. It’s Simply Life:
- Transparency – Assume that there is NO such thing as privacy. For my teen, the message is that she should live every day, online and offline, in a way that she can be proud of.
- Relevance – Consider your audience when posting content online. For a teen, this means keeping in mind that your friend’s mother and/or future employer may read this someday, and perhaps creating content that may help your cause.
- Brevity – Attention spans are short, and getting shorter, but each snippet of content can have a great impact. For a teen, the takeaway is that you might only have 140 characters to make a good impression, so learn to write well so that you don’t lose your shot.
- Top of Mind – A strong social network is critical to success in any endeavor, but it’s important to realize that this demands ongoing efforts to build and maintain positive relationships. For a teen, this means beginning to build a network of persons who can provide mentorship, advise, and recommendations.
The entire presentation was insightful and inspiring, but I think the action item that I’m most eager to share with my daughter is to count on success. And to not only count on success, but to put in place a plan for when you do succeed.
What about you? Are you talking about social media with your teen? What social media advise would you give a teen?