Lack of caution on social media diminishes school reputation

Lack of caution on social media diminishes school reputation

Photo credit: Ritika Sanikommu

By The Editorial Board

We live in a world where a simple click of a button is a catalyst. What we post could completely alter our lives, and we need to make sure that we are more responsible when it comes to social media.

Snapchat stories and live videos on Instagram are supposed to showcase our lives to others, but we should only be showing the positive. Filming fights and posting them online projects a negative image of our school and broadcasts it to the world. As students, we cannot control how our school is perceived, but we can change our image.

What we post on social media does have impact on our school and community. Local news organizations can easily find our posts and report about issues in our district.

We think when we post an offensive picture or prank video gone wrong that the scope of our viewership is the number of followers we have. That’s not always the case. We represent the Grosse Pointe community, and our community sees all.

In addition to giving our school a bad reputation, what we post online can attack people personally. Everyone makes mistakes in high school. However, we live in an age where our mistakes can be documented and posted for the world to see. Our blunders are no longer ephemeral—they are immortalized.

Furthermore, the people who star in the photos and videos posted are not the people who post them. These people fall victim to their peers. We need to stop caring about retweets and make sure we are not harassing our peers.

Even if you are not the focal point of an inappropriate post, you can be associated with it. The slip-up going viral around the school may not be yours, but your reputation can still plummet. Being the collateral damage to a scandal can be as detrimental as being the center of one.

That said, not everything posted online is technically public. But, even the most private accounts are not safe. Fake Instagram accounts (“finstas”) are often used to vent about problems and gossip about others. Posts can be screenshot and shown to others. What you post is not locked in a vault on a private account. A finsta is not the equivalent to a diary and any one of your followers can expose your secrets publically.

Not only will comments about other students get out. Anything said about teachers can and will get out and will result in a real-life consequence. When it comes to a school-related matter, we cannot hide behind our screens. What we say online does not stay there.

At a time when we’re trying to market ourselves to colleges and future employers, we shouldn’t be airing our dirty laundry online for all to see. Any affiliation with illegal activities, violence or bullying is a huge red flag. A need to get a reaction from our peers should not eclipse the need to maintain a good image.

We are lucky to have access to Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram while on school Wi-Fi, and that is a privilege our school can easily take away. In order to maintain this liberty, we should not depict North as an unsafe space for students or ridicule other students and the staff.

The mistakes we make in high school don’t have to haunt us forever, but if we aren’t careful about what we post, they will.

So be wary of your social media habits. What you do and say is accessible by a quick Google search. It will follow you.