AS a journalist, I try my very best to represent myself in the best way possible when it comes to social media giant Facebook.
I’m no saint and I have to admit that although at times, my impish sense of humour might cause me to stray a tad bit overboard, it has never led me to a situation where I am facing shame, humiliation or the need to apologise to anyone.
Now I am also a strong advocate of one’s own rights and to be fair, one’s Facebook page is their prerogative and they have the right to post whatever it is that they feel like but with that said, it doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t be cognizant of what they post pretty much at all times…after all, we all know that the world is watching, one wrong or silly step and you are the next 15 minute superstar for all the wrong reasons.
I try my best to be responsible with everything I post and it’s not just because I’m a journalist who feels that I owe it to the public to carry myself in a respectable and role model type manner if I am to expect any credibility from my employer, colleagues and followers of the news that I disseminate, but being a mother of two very young children who will one day have access to my cyber trail is also extremely important…what you post online, stays online.
It has been reported on numerous news outlets that employers now resort to social media to run checks on potential employees and it is shocking but not surprising to know that people have missed out on dream jobs because of posts and photographs deemed inappropriate by said employers even though they would have been perfect for the positions.
Whilst there are many fields I can speak to, I would like to focus on teachers.
Teachers, no one has to remind you of the roles you play in society so anyone with half a brain can tell you that you need to be extremely careful with what you post on social media.
Yeah, it is indeed your business but when your students are chatting about, giggling at or passing your photograph and statuses around then it’s a whole new ball game, isn’t it.
This is particularly for the teachers of children ranging from primary school to college.
No one is saying that you need to live a Mormon lifestyle or not have a life at all but is there really a need to post bikini and underwear shots or compromising photographs online?
A friend recently showed me photographs of a teacher at an all-boys school in St. Lucia and they were horrific. This female teacher was wearing not a bikini but her underwear at a public recreational venue and let’s just say that she was on the fluffier side of the scale…there were bits hanging out everywhere.
Now whilst I was a really “good girl” at school, if I had ever seen a photograph of one of my teachers like this back then, it would become public knowledge some way, somehow. And need I remind you that she works at an all-boys school.
Again, I’m not saying that you can’t have fun and be adventurous on your profiles but in my silly opinion, there is a line that should not be crossed because I am certain that in the case of the teacher mentioned above, if a boy was to print out her photograph and pass it around the school, suspension, expulsion or even lawsuits might come into play. Whereas it could have all been avoided with a bit more tact and responsibility.
I remember my short stint at the Entrepot Secondary School. We had this beautiful young substitute teacher who taught us in form 2. The boys LOVED her… for obvious reasons of course and you can only imagine what was coursing through their dirty little minds at the time whilst she taught us in her heels and tight fitted skirts and shirts.
Could you imagine what would have happened if these guys ever saw this woman online in a compromising photograph? You could say bye bye to them ever taking her seriously and hello to cat calls.
What’s even more scary is that in this day and age, so much can be done to one’s photo through the wonders of “Photo Shop”
The teacher mentioned above is definitely not the first to make such mistakes and will not be the last. And I’m certainly not blasting teachers who do. I’m simply throwing caution to the wind to warn you against making such mistakes which carry the power to make you lose your respect, credibility or job and make you a laughing stock.
I know it is unfortunate that you have to practise such restraint whilst the rest of the world is seemingly living freely but you do have a responsibility once you decide that you are going to enter the field of teaching.
If you are not willing to practise restraint then be prepared to face the music that will surely follow.