The Fox Journal

Student Newspaper

Author urges students to network safely

By Jenna Johnstone

Representative Penny Bernard Schaber and retiree Joy Perry prepare food for guests at the e.a.t.s. event Oct. 13.

photo by Jenna Johnstone
Motivational humorist Gail Hand discusses smart social
networking with transfer student Corey Torres Oct. 22.

Motivational humorist, trainer and author Gail Hand led the presentation Taming the Brew and Smart Social Networking at noon in the student union Oct. 22.

The presentation included statistics, advice and real life accounts of negative online posts affecting students in a detrimental way. It highlighted how to be smart and safe online, and also provided information on student drug and alcohol use.

The presentation included statistics, advice and real life accounts of negative online posts affecting students in a detrimental way. It highlighted how to be smart and safe online, and also provided information on student drug and alcohol use.

The Campus Activities Board and Student Services sponsored the event, as a part of the Fall 2012 Student Success Series.

"Media is around you 24/7," Hand said.

"You are the media. We are our own paparazzi... you're doing yourself an injustice when you post negative things."

Social networking functions as an online community, with websites where users can share information and socialize on the Internet.

Hand has four Facebook accounts, two YouTube accounts, two Twitter accounts and a LinkedIn account, all of which she checks every day. She makes privacy a priority.

"Before you post something, ask yourself: who, what, when, where, why," Hand said.

"If you're feeling anger, jealousy, rage or you don't know what you're talking about, don't post."

Hand urged attendees to protect their privacy and reputation online by only posting positive information. She encouraged students to never post personal information like addresses, phone numbers and party invites. Most importantly, students were warned not to post drinking pictures.

"Even if you're above 21, you don't know what kind of policies an employer could have on alcohol," Hand said.

She warned athletes to be especially careful when posting photos.

"I've read the terms and conditions, it's scary. You have no rights, you don't own the pictures. People don't care, they just want to share," Hand said.

She also stressed that young people need to care about what they are posting online.

"Why do you need to care? 89 percent of employers recruit using social networks, 94 percent of graduate schools look at Facebook," Hand said.

"The CIA is now following Twitter and Facebook, and has access to your emails."

Students were encouraged to consider how their online reputation affects their real life reputation as well.

"It can certainly affect employability, opportunities for getting into graduate school and your general reputation," Jeff Kuepper, senior student activities coordinator, said.

"I think people think that only their friends can see what they're posting, but there are a lot of ways to get information. Even if you hide it from your page, you can see it from other people's [profiles]."

The majority of UW-Fox students participate in social networking and acknowledge its positives and negatives. Most believe their peers do not care about what they post online.

"It's hard not to get caught up in it when you're apart of it," Corey Torres, transfer student from Lawrence University, said.

"When [Hand] was talking about getting a job, and they want to look at the past of your accounts…if someone looks at my page it really shows how much I've grown. I write nothing but positive stuff."

Many student social network users feel they would be disconnected from their peers without their accounts.

"Facebook is an epidemic that everybody's doing, and Twitter. It's like if you don't do it you're not cool. I got involved just to stay connected," Torres said

"I only use Facebook about once a month when I add pictures," sophomore Lindsay Miller said.

"My fiancé is addicted to Facebook... it affects our relationship."

Hand's presentation helped some students rethink their social networking habits.

"The presentation was really helpful, it helped me realize what to post. I'm actually accessing Facebook about five to ten times a day from my computer and phone," freshman Emily George said.

"I've had negative things online, but I've been able to fix some of them, but some of them are still there."

Many UW-Fox students utilize their privacy settings on social networking sites and understand its importance.

"It's important to use privacy settings so you don't have a creep following you. I had people I don't even know trying to add me as a friend," sophomore Allison Graphos said.

Other students choose not to participate in social networking at all, due to these privacy concerns.

"People don't realize you have no control online. They don't think it through when they post for a cheap laugh," freshman Kathryn Bermann said.

"I deleted my Facebook after I graduated high school, it can stress you out. It had more negatives than positives... I don't use any social networking sites. Privacy is crucial, don't trust anybody."

Hand did research on what UW-Fox students are posting online, and an Instagram photo she found of current students smoking marijuana was included in the presentation.

"We're much freer when we post under the influence, don't do it," Hand said.

The presentation showed the only way to salvage your reputation online is through positivity.

"The Internet was designed to be a think tank for free speech, not a slander tank," Hand said.

"Be prepared to defend your point of view. Think before you post. Ask yourself questions, what is your motivation for posting? If you're driven by emotions, post less. If you're driven by intellect, you'll have an interesting post. Use your heart."

For more information on smart social networking, Hand's book Are You SURE You Want to Post That? Smart Social Networking can be found online. Other helpful information can be found at www.collegemonster.com. For help or advice on drug, alcohol or social networking issues, free counseling on campus is also available to students at 920-832-2697.

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