Currently one of my many projects is creating a presentation about social media professionalism to present to some graduate students in a few months.
Among the many books I am referencing, is Erik Qualman’s What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube, and while reading one of the Rules, I thought about a conversation I had with some of my students a few months ago that has been occurring more recently.
Some of my students had found some extra time on their hands and decided to read through some of my history on my Facebook. Now, you can read through it if you’d like, but I’ll be up front and give you the short and sweet version: I was pure DRAAAAAAAAAAAMA. With a borderline drinking problem, self-confidence and depression issues, just beginning to identify as gay and beginning to date men and being faced with some harsh realities of identifying as gay, I laid it all out on Facebook. It was my outlet.
Now to let you know, I know that all that is out there. During grad school I spent 3 months going over my social profiles and removing some of the photos and items I was tagged in that did not represent me or were not part of my life journey. But I consciously have left everything else because I can stand by each post and photo etc. I can explain how it is part of who I am and how it was part of my life journey. I felt and still feel that I couldn’t and shouldn’t erase my history. It is part of who I am and examples the journey I have been walking. And I shouldn’t be ashamed of what I’ve gone through to get to where I am today. It was a risk to do so, and some may not be able to do that, but had that ability and I felt I needed to be honest with myself and with others about the good the bad and the ugly that has been my life thus far.
And recently it has given me the ability to have insightful conversations with students. Sharing my life and experiences gave them some insights and perspectives to journeys taken by others. It also opened the door to a conversation about learning from life lessons and how the bad is just as important as the good and that both result in how we reach different points in our life.
Now I’ve been contemplating all this for a few weeks now. And as you know there are arguments for separate profiles on each platform for work and personal stuff, or only having one for work or personal use, or hiding personal profiles from students, etc all to help avoid situations such as students looking at your histories online and the life experiences you’ve learned from. But I’ve come to the conclusion that we shouldn’t be so duplicitous in who we are and what our journeys have been. That the problem is not that we share the bad and what has happened in our lives, but how we share it and frame it on our social media platforms.
Profanity does not have to be used. Revealing photos or demeaning comments do not have to be used. Being truthful and real about life and work does not have to take on childish attributes.
What is required is honesty, humility, accountability and reflection.
So perhaps it is reframing how we share our lives and our histories on social media rather than hiding or deleting them from our timelines.
For me, perfection is over rated and honestly I appreciate when I see real histories and journeys and can find a confidant and ally in a life journey that we have in common and can understand one another through.
Just food for thought I’ve been munching on 🙂
Until next time!
Peace, Love and Pandas!