We know that many of our students have social network spaces on services like MySpace and FaceBook. Many of us don't know enough about how these social sites work, but it seems as though we should be giving our students some guidance regarding their use.
This recent blog post from Seth Godin is an excellent starting point for discussion with your students. It is a story that illustrates so many points about social networking perfectly. There is nothing wrong with social networking - but kids need to be aware just how "out there" their information really is. There are a lot of positives to be gained from social networking, but like anything else, kids need to use it responsibly.
Do your students a favor - share this story with them:
Personal branding in the age of Google
A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.
Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person's name.
The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, "binge drinking."
The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, "I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I'm annoyed by it. I'll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings."
And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.
Three for three.
Google never forgets.
Of course, you don't have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you're on Candid Camera, because you are.