This October, Student Centers and Activities at Virginia Tech will offer its second workshop to help students “avoid becoming an #epicfail with their online comments and status updates,” according to social media promotions.

Led by Sienna Abdulahad, social media wiz and communications specialist for Student Centers and Activities, the #SoMe events provide students with a forum to discuss and develop a positive digital identity using their leadership skills, work experience, and accomplishments on campus.

The first workshop, dubbed #SoMe 101, was held Sept. 12 in Squires Student Center. Students discussed ways to get the most out of social media while in college and how online trends are changing the way information is disseminated across different social networks.

Rudney Dunquah of Fredricksburg, Va, a junior majoring in psychology in the College of Science attended #SoMe 101. She said, “The event was very informative and opened my eyes to a lot of different things. I believe that [the #SoMe workshops] are important for students because some people do not always know what to put on social media and they need to be aware of the potential consequences of their actions.”

According to a March survey by Ponemon Institute, a privacy think tank based in Michigan, 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates and 23 percent look people up on social networking sites. A second study, done by workforce consulting firm Adecco, showed that 66 percent of respondents in their late teens and early 20s were not aware that the information they put online can be considered in hiring decisions. Factor these statistics in with the growing anxiety hiring managers experience when trying to find the right job candidate, and it becomes clear why, according to the Ponemon survey, nearly one-third of all Web searches on perspective employees lead to rejections.

And while the American Civil Liberties Union has put a stop to employers demanding that applicants turn over their login and password credentials, “shoulder surfing,” or requesting to view an applicant’s profile with the applicant present, remains legal for the time being.

Dunquah echoed the notion that students are not aware of the damage their social media sites might be doing to their professional image. “[The workshops] are a good way to get students to have a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach on the way they handle social media.”

The next workshop in the three-part #SoMe fall series is Google Me: Your Online Image Unfiltered. Scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24, in Squires Student Center Brush Mountain B, Google Me is an in-depth look at the power of online search for students who want to learn more about online image control and building a stronger presence online.

The seminar will offer education on social media privacy settings and how to leverage a positive digital identity while searching for jobs. A photographer from the Division of Student Affairs will also be present, offering students the opportunity to get free, professional headshots for their social media profiles.

The final seminar is scheduled for mid-November and will focus on designing and implementing a successful blog.

Interested students can RSVP on GobblerConnect. Faculty and staff members are also invited to attend. Further Student Centers and Activities event information can be found on its Facebook page. Email questions.

More information about the Division of Student Affairs can be found at their Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages.



Written by Drew Knapp.

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