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Joining us on this episode is Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, the Market high school Coordinator For bryant & stratton college.
Bryant & stratton college haS 19 ground campuses in New York, ohio, virginia, and wisconsin, IN ADDITION TO an online campus. They are accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Lee Doubleday: Joining us today is Carolene Goodwin-Harris, the market high school coordinator for Bryant & Stratton College. Today, we would like to discuss social media and personal branding. Social media is something that can either be a positive or a negative factor in someone’s career aspirations. Using social media to be a creative outlet, publish your work, and be a social platform is all great. But making sure that you’re not using social media unprofessionally is critically important in today’s society. Here to talk with us today about using social media properly is Carolene. Carolene, it’s good to have you on the show.
Carolene Goodwin-Harris: Good to be with you.
Lee: Carolene, can you briefly explain to us what we’re referring to when we’re talking about social media? Is it Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat? What exactly are we talking about here?
Carolene: Well, you know, that’s a wonderful question because people get really confused about what is and isn’t social media. So social media connection is anything that allows us to connect electronically. So, it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, text messaging. All of that is considered social media.
Bob Martin: So now that we’ve got a clearer understanding of the platforms we’re discussing, can you tell us a little bit why it’s so important for students and the general public to use social media responsibly?
Carolene: The beauty of it is, is first impressions are lasting impressions. And that being said, in some cases your social media does give that first impression. And, so, when people go out to see you—however they see you, or when they get a message from you through text—they’re making a judgment call about who you are. So how you display yourself through photos, posts—all those things in your messaging really does matter. So, it’s real important that you’re careful how you position yourself and how you’re seen, and to make sure that it’s a good fit for how you want people to judge you.
Bob: Is it your sense that most people currently are acting responsibly, or they just don’t know, or they’re not acting responsibly? Kind of three steps: responsibly, just don’t know, or irresponsible. What do you think?
Carolene: People just don’t know. They don’t realize that social media has such a weight. And so, when they think about it, they just think, “I can say what I want to say, do what I want to do, be who I want to be.” But in the reality of it all, it is what people see and how they judge you. So, I have this phrase, “When I know better, I do better.” So I try to help people better see how social media impacts them short term and long term so that they do know better.
Bob: Yeah, that’s a great segue into this next question, which is, we wanted to talk about personal branding. We want to get into that a little bit. Do you have any suggestions on how a person maybe should be using social media to help them look more attractive to employers? Because I’m sure that when employers are looking at young people or new employees, they’re looking at what they’re doing on social media. They’re forming impressions of those people.
Carolene: Yeah. Someone introduced me to the three o’s, and the three o’s really do say it all. And the first of the three o’s is observation. When you’re out on social media, I want to remind people that someone is always looking. Whether it’s a college, the military, or an employer—wherever you’re trying to get connected, someone is looking. That second O is opinion. From what they see on your social media, they then determine if you’re a good fit, if they like you, if they want to invite you in for more conversation. And then, thirdly, from that is opportunity for what they see and what opinion they form. They then determine whether they’re going to give you an opportunity. So, what I do is I invite people to go back and take a real look at their social media page. What do your photos look like? Get some of that real personal stuff off of your page. Also, make sure that if you’ve got some people that you’ve been following, and you share some of their things that may not be the most appropriate photos or comments or posts, get those off your page. You know, there’s a saying that once it’s out there, it’s out there. But the good thing is if I delete it, the hunt is a lot greater for them to find it. And so, it’s real important that people just really go out and say, “If someone had to look at my page, is this what I want them to see?” Because those three o’s are really going to matter. Observation, opinion, and opportunity.
Bob: That’s great. Great.
Lee: Yeah. Now, Carolene, at Bryant & Stratton College, do you look at potential students’ social media channels to make sure that a student is using their social media responsibly? And do you think other institutions are checking social media platforms in the admissions process as well?
Carolene: We sure do. And I tell students that all the time. Sometimes they’ll have a post or they’ll want to be my friend on social media—and I try to avoid that as much as possible. But if they say they’re on a particular social media, or if I ask the question, I do try to go out and see who they are. Many times, people will have a different name. And so, I tell them, don’t let that be the reason why you don’t think you’ll be seen on social media either. Because soon someone will say, “Who is Cool Kid?” And guess what? That name will pop up. So, I really try to help students—as well as adults, because in the adult world, they don’t know either. And, so, they make some judgment calls that may cost them their employment. So definitely, we go out there. And I know other institutions—colleges, and the military, and definitely employers—really do try to take some time and go out there and find their candidates.
Lee: That’s funny. That’s definitely something I did. I changed my name on Facebook. You can’t find me just by my actual name. For that reason—yeah, because I thought I’d be shielded.
Carolene: Well, they may just discover you because somebody will say, “Who is Cool Kid?”
Lee: Yeah, cool kid. I am so cool.
Carolene: And I tell my students that. Don’t go out there looking for Cool Kid. I’m not her; I’m not him. But definitely know that it will happen. Someone will out you at some point.
Lee: Well, I like to think I keep it clean anyway.
Carolene: Yeah, keep it clean. Keep it clean. [laughter]
Lee: All right, great. Now—but let’s say I didn’t keep it clean, and I have some inappropriate content on my social media pages. But that was when I was younger, and I wasn’t thinking straight. Is there any way I could clean up my page now?
Carolene: Yes. Go out there and do the due diligence of getting those things off your page. And if, by chance, someone did see it, and they ask you about it—because that is a possibility in an interview process or an essay process for giving you a scholarship or a college accepting you—I just want you to have good answers for them as to why it was out there so that you can definitely defend yourself and let them know that the better self that you want them to see does exist. You know, we all make some mistakes, but when we know better, we can do better. Go clean it up—as much as possible—and be very aware of that first and lasting impression.
Bob: I like that. If we know better, we can do better. That’s really, really a good statement for our audience to take away.
Carolene: Yeah. When I know better, I do better.
Bob: Yeah. Yeah, that’s very good.
Lee: All right. Is there anybody at Bryant & Stratton that I can contact about helping me maybe clean up my social media or more information on how to go about cleaning my social media resources? Is there a place at Bryant & Stratton’s website or someone I could talk to or admissions rep, I guess, about helping me do that?
Carolene: Well, we don’t really have a resource for that. But what’s awesome is we have a networking technology degree path. And we have some really awesome professionals in that area. And so, if you’re really concerned, you can reach out to us and see if we can’t get you connected with one of those professors or the program director. Or our IT department can sometimes be quite helpful. So, I would invite anybody that wants additional information about Bryant & Stratton College, the different programs that we offer, to just go to our Bryant & Stratton College website. Let us know your interest, request more information, and we’ll get you connected with the campus closest to you and be more than happy to help you navigate through it.
Bob: Wait, let me ask one final question in closing. Is it too old school to say that you shouldn’t put it up there if you don’t want your mother to see it?
Carolene: That’s not too old school, because in my presentation, I said, “Be careful of your audience. If it’s something you don’t want your mother, a teacher, your Sunday school teacher, anybody that you have high regard for—don’t put it out there. That’s a good rule of thumb.
Bob: Or just assume that eventually someone like that might find it and see it, and then, how do you explain it? Then you’ve got to explain it to Mom.
Lee: And everybody’s parents are on social media these days anyway. So you’re not going to get away with it.
Carolene: So even on TikTok, that’s a whole new population. So, if you have any reservation about it, don’t do it. And I also tell students, “Be careful what kind of pictures you’re taking. Don’t have inappropriate beverages in your hand. Be careful about your surroundings and also be careful about that locator of where you are.” I know everybody wants to say, “I’m here. I’m there. I’m everywhere.” Security is a big pause right now that you should take. Be careful what you’re doing on social media.
Lee: Yeah, that’s a good point. That’s something we didn’t even talk about on here, which is safety—I mean, making sure that you’re not posting where you are, the different security issues, and things of that nature. Okay, all right. Well, great. Carolene, it’s been really nice having you on the show and thank you so much for talking to us. We talked about cleaning up your social media and how it could be used as a positive force in your career aspirations or potentially a negative one. And so, you need to make sure that you have those cleaned up. We talked about the three o’s, which is opportunity, opinion, and observation, and to make sure that you’re being looked at favorably. And thank you so much for joining us today, Carolene. If you’d like more information on Bryan & Stratton or Carolene, please visit the show notes, which will be located on our website, www.imagine-america.org/podcast.
Carolene: Thank you for having me. Y’all have a great day.