How to be Professional in a Digital World: Social Networks and Sharing Information
Before you click send, share, post status, submit…
ask yourself these questions:
1. Who will be reading this, or seeing this photo?
Remember, everything on the Internet can be archived and accessed forever. On social
networks the information you submit is published on their servers, meaning they save and
archive everything. Also, you need to make sure your privacy settings are set the way you want
them to be. On facebook this means checking your settings often since they are always
2. Is what I am publishing professional? Would I say this in front of my boss?
Would I say this in front of my most conservative colleague?
As professional educators it is important for us to be out on the web, reading and responding to
educational blogs in order to keep up to date. Every time you comment, or respond on the web
you need to make sure you are being professional, positive, and productive.
3. Am I in a positive state of mind?
If angry, or upset about something or someone wait 24 hours before responding. That way you
can calm down and objectively decide if indeed it is a good response, or post.
4. Am I sharing someone else’s private information?
For instance, if you post on facebook that your colleague is on vacation, you are invading their
privacy. You are sharing something that they probably wouldn’t, and therefore putting them in
jeopardy. Not only is this not ethical, but it may lead to legal implications- especially if
something happens because of your lack of privacy.
Other thoughts about social networking:
Whom to friend: Consider your purpose for being on a social network like facebook. Is it
to connect with friends and family? If it is then keep it that way. Keep it for your
personal connections and don’t friend students, or their parents. If you want to use
facebook as an instructional tool then create a group page for your students to join.
That way you can keep your personal posts and academic purposes separate.
Privacy settings: The creators of these networks would love for you to keep your
settings wide open. As an educator you need to be more restrictive. Be aware of your
settings and check them often.
How to be Professional in a Digital World: Social Networks and Sharing Information by Dodie Ainslie is
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.