Social Media’s Impact

The following story was published in Issue 1 of The Paolite, 2017.

In the world we live in today, social media is at the center of the universe.

According to research by statista.com, there are currently 1.23 billion active users on Facebook and 328 million active users on Twitter. To put the number into context, the population of the U.S. is 323.1 million. There are 4.9 million more Twitter users than there are people in the United States. As for Facebook, there are only about 1 million less Facebook users than there are in the most populated country in the world, China, who has close to 1.3 billion people.

To say social media has a huge impact on the world would be a massive understatement. People communicate through social media mediums, as well as speak their minds, give their opinions, stay in touch and get a good laugh if they look at the right accounts.

Social media has a huge impact on the world around us and can impact users many more ways than one think. One way can be an individual’s chances of getting a job.

“I do take social media presence into consideration [when hiring.] It has become more and more of a factor in recent years.  When we hire a teacher, aide, or coach, they are a role model and I expect them to act that way.  I realize as adults we are entitled to a personal life, but questionable items on a social media will not promote the school in a positive light,” said Principal Chad Johnson.

Often times, when applying for scholarships or jobs, hiring and scholarship committees will take a look at an applicant’s social media to see what kind of individual they are considering hiring, or awarding a scholarship. Social media, for better or worse, can often give a look into a person’s life, views, events and especially their character.

Companies, colleges and hiring committees like to see what kind of person you are from more than just an interview and a resume.

“When an individual applies for a position with a company, large or small, that company will check your social media activity,” said Executive Orange County Community Foundation Director Imojean Dedrick. “Depending on what is on your social media will help determine how you will fit into their company’s mission, platform, social status, even their involvement with the community.”

Dedrick is very knowledgable on the effect social media can have on scholarships and jobs, especially for high school students.

“If a student has negative postings such as excessive alcohol mentions and photos, drug use references and photos, inappropriate sexual innuendos and photos, and more importantly, racists slurs or proof of bullying, chances are that company will not hire you. That is why we call such attention to it at such an early age,” said Dedrick.

As director, Dedrick plays a large role in the nomination and selection process for many scholarships.

What really matters to people hiring or giving out scholarships is what kind of person they are dealing with when no one is watching. Selection committees like to see people’s opinions and how someone carries themselves without knowing they are being monitored.

Throop Principal Wes Whitfield does much of the hiring for the elementary school. Whitfield agrees what is on your social media can play a role in your chances of getting a job.

“When I receive an application for an employee, I look at qualifications first. Once I believe an individual is qualified, I check social media posts to see if there are any posts that could portray a negative image on the school if hired.  It’s not perfect and there are some grey areas, but employers are definitely checking social media posts.  I don’t think it’s always a deal breaker, but it’s part of the hiring process now, just like checking references,” said Whitfield.

The world is changing and teens are at the forefront of the social media movement. It is so important for teens to be aware of the consequences of their social media.

“We tell you up front to keep your social media in check so that by the time you graduate from college you have a clean reference for your future employer. As teens and adults, we use social media to share our life’s day to day activities, but for future employment sake, keep your social media within reason as it will be your future’s calling card,” said Dedrick.

 

Story by Garrett Vincent

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