Cultivating Your Social Media Presence
There is a right way and a wrong way to get yourself noticed by an admissions committee or hiring manager. Read on to make sure you are using Facebook to your advantage.
The Right Way to Use Facebook In College
Staying Connected With Old and New Peers: If you go to conference and hit it off with someone, friend them and stay in touch. And do not forget your friends from high school and undergrad. Focus on growing your network.
Research: Use Facebook to poll your network about great books, where to find specific archival sources, preferred laboratory instruments, or even ask volunteers to fill out a survey for a study you are running.
Find Extracurricular Activities: Figure out what kind of groups are on or near campus. If you want to join a running team, a juggling club, or a volunteer organization, you can look over their Facebook page and see if the group seems like a good fit for you.
Event Tracker: What's going on, either on campus or in the surrounding area?
The Wrong Way to Use Facebook In College
Friending Your Prof or TA: Really, for real, do not do this. They are not your friends, they are your instructors. It is perfectly reasonable that you may develop a friendship after taking a course with someone, but even after the class wraps up, wait for that person to reach out to you over social media.
Poking Your Prof or TA: Similarly, don't even THINK about "poking" them. Mark Zuckerberg explained during a Facebook webinar," When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings." Therein lies your problem - you do not want to come across as being cutesy, or, worse, flirtatious, with your instructor.
Documenting Your Rebel Phase: If you post pictures of yourself binge drinking, doing drugs, or participating in some kind of illegal activity, you are sending a message to applications committees that you do not care about rules. I'm not your mother, so I'm not going to lecture you on doing these things. Just know that if you choose to publicize them on Facebook, there's a high chance you will not receive the offers you were hoping for. There are privacy settings for a reason, people.
Bullying: Most schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullying and hazing. Employers are committed to providing non-hostile work environments for their employees. So if you are harassing someone on Facebook for all the world to see then (1) Schools and employers won't want you and (2) Shame on you. Stop it.
Finally, if you want to start a blog while a college student, the same rules apply regarding protecting your anonymity. If you're doing something you wouldn't want your parents to see, don't make it searchable for your school or boss either.