Preventing a Digital Glitch: Teacher’s Social Media Experiment Goes Global
A letter written with a green pen, in all caps, showed up today in my Facebook news feed. The letter was written several months ago by an Oklahoma teacher, Melissa Bour. She was given permission by her school’s administration to post the letter in an effort to provide a real time example of how quickly and far social media can reach.
Within eight hours of her original post, her letter had gone viral, reaching four countries and 33 states, and became major headline news for not only digital media, but print, radio and video broadcasts. This happened even after she deleted her original post.
And now, I see her post in my news feed, several months later.
No matter how many times we hear a warning, we somehow never imagine that our actions will come back to haunt us. Social media entices us to do things on-line that we would never do or say in person. This illustration is a brilliant, real life example of just how much of an impact our words and deeds, especially on-line, can make.
After witnessing the results of this social media experiment, several of Ms. Bour’s students decided to not only closely monitor what they posted on-line, but deleted their profiles.
Ms. Bour herself stated that going forward, she will strive to put forth the best possible on-line example for herself and her students.
I applaud this teacher’s efforts to inform and protect her students from future on-line lapses in judgment. Some people believe she and the school district overstepped their boundaries. However, what happens when parents are not aware of their children’s on-line activities?
Imagine what happens when material is salacious, intended to be private, but then is maliciously or even accidentaly shared publicly? Do you know how long it can take for an innocuous post to go viral on Facebook? How long will your post stay “out there?” What does it look like to be a good digital citizen?
I created, BeSafe in CyberSpace – How Not to Lose or Miss Out on a Scholarship or Future Job Opportunity Because of Your Social Media Post and The Perils of Sexting and Cyberbullying to answer these and many other questions. They are perfect seminars for student assemblies and staff development.
Now more than ever, it’s important to provide students with the information they need to safeguard their personal identities, as well as their on-line reputations.