Friday, November 11, 2016


You have an image, an online persona. In marketing parlance, you are a brand with positive attributes. Lucas Cruikshank and Tavi Gevinson Dude Perfect carefully design their Web worlds into branding icons on the Internet. Your web presence should be cultivated so use social media wisely in your junior and senior high-school years.

Positivity promote your personal brand. Twitter. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Flickr. Google+. Think about who you are as a representative of your high school. Consider a few positive words that define you, the well-rounded future college scholar, not the underage Instagram poster with beer bottles in the picture background. Use these appropriate words as a filter before you post anything publicly to Facebook or other social media—if you think what you are about to post doesn’t measure up to your brand, DON'T.

Inventory your social media accounts, your blog posts and YouTube videos. Potentially offensive comments? Risque photos? Inappropriate gestures or clothing? Profanity? Serious negativity? Drinking? Bigotry? Threats?

So let's state the obvious: If Grandma might not approve, delete it.  And remember, it’s all about upkeep. Junior year is a great time to Google yourself and review every social media account with a fine-toothed comb. Tighten your privacy and security settings; cruise through your Activity Log and Archive. Delete posts and images that may be deemed detrimental by a university scanner. Again, if you don’t think you could show it to your parents, don’t let the world see it.

But your job is not finished.

Next, we all use spelling shorthand but if you see series of poorly spelled verbiage, erase it. Everyone accepts AMA and TMI; C3R741N P30PL3 is definitely clever; but wierd is wrong. Trim down your Likes, Groups and Apps. Do you want a college social media reviewer know that you seem more focused on Farmville or Candy Crush than homework, sports and clubs?

Adjust Facebook privacy settings to review all tags; this gives you ways to minimize a questionable tag and better control of the brand you are showing the world. Similarly, un-Tag anything embarrassing. This is genuinely important for getting that part-time summer or college job.

Lastly, remember that LinkedIn profile you had created a year ago? Make sure that it is up-to-date in relation to your resume. Different dates and other information may be caught by potential employers. Show growth on your LinkedIn employment history; don't just parrot the words on your resume. Build your Skills & Endorsements. Expand your membership in Groups that match your academic and work interests. And find Influencers to follow who make you appear more advanced than others in your age group.

Colleges have many ways to disqualify 9 out of 10 candidates for admission. Don't let a visible beer can or bit of profanity make you that No. 9.
--Mike Ryan