[Air-L] Student exercises to raise critical awareness of their social media profiles

David Brake davidbrake at gmail.com
Wed May 20 13:42:19 PDT 2015

Dear all,

Are you aware of any good, practically oriented online exercises or lecturer/workshop material designed to get students to look critically at their own social media profiles or each others’ from an employability perspective? For journalism students (and PR students) this is of particular importance because they will be expected by their employers to be using social media as a promotional tool for their work in their future careers. However, at best they may not be using social media to its best advantage and at worst they may be inadvertently revealing things about themselves using social media that can harm their job prospects (*). I plan to put together something for my own students but if something already exists that I could just tweak I’d like to hear about it. Would somebody like to collaborate with me on this and/or evaluate what I put together before I teach it? If I can I would like to make it available as some kind of open courseware.

Getting students to look at another student’s public profile as if they were thinking of hiring that student could be a key part of the exercise but I am uneasy about the ethical implications of this. Obviously, it would be very difficult to anonymise these profiles. I would certainly look to have students from outside of the “target” students’ programme do the evaluations to keep hurt feelings to a minimum. Has anyone tried this kind of thing before in their classrooms and if so what happened?



* The ever – excellent Lois Scheidt pointed me to this intriguing survey by the (American)  Society for Human Resource Management http://www.slideshare.net/shrm/part-2-social-networking-and-online-searches-for-screening-job-candidates-final-8978561 (and I subsequently found this http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/technology/articles/pages/social-media-to-screen-employees.aspx)  both of which suggest that as few as 5% of hirers use social media as a “background check”. In my particular area however (journalism and PR) where social media use may be part of the job description I would expect the valuation of a person’s social media profile – even informally – to be much more important than this suggests.
Dr David Brake, Professor of Journalism, Humber College, School of Media Studies & Information Technology, Toronto, ON, Canada Office: +1 416 675 3111 x79323 Cell: 289 400 4525
@drbrake http://davidbrake.org/ skype:davidbrake

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