Feelings Are Temporary but Social Media Posts Last Forever – Cautionary Tales of Social Media Regrets

That saying; “any publicity is good publicity,” doesn’t always hold true.

Since the dawn of social media, students, teachers and government officials have been getting called-out left, right and center for sharing on social media unsolicited advice and posts that have caused an uproar. Though many have thought these posts were private due to the nature of the social site, they were hugely mistaken. Not only have these individuals been reprimanded for their posts, but their stories are frozen in time on the World Wide Web, waiting for a job prospect to glance them over before letting them know “they’re going with another candidate”.

That being said, no, going viral isn’t guaranteed to get you a sit-down with Ellen!

Carelessly posting your thoughts, whereabouts or personal photos on the internet could cost you your job, your education and even your safety. What you post on the internet can come back to haunt you, even if you thought you were proactive in deleting your posts!

Since we’ve covered the importance of cleaning up your social media accounts for College Admissions Officers, we thought we’d share some stories from those who were not as careful with their online presence.

Keeping in tune with our previous post, we have focused on stories related to student behaviour – though individuals of all age groups have made headlines for their online behaviour.

Here are five unfortunate stories of individuals who not only tarnished their reputation, but nearly ruined their education because of what they shared on their personal social media accounts.

Harvard Rescinded 10 Acceptance Offers After Discovering a Thread of Inappropriate Memes

Ivy League schools mean business and are not going to tolerant anything less than professionalism.

10 Harvard prospects had to face the consequences for their actions after posting memes and images mocking sexual assault in a private Facebook group that bared the school’s name. Once the school learned about these posts, the students’ offers of acceptance were rescinded. Harvard wanted to make to make it clear to current and admitted students alike that post-acceptance behavior is held at high regard.

Tweets Get New Jersey Student Athlete Expelled from Season

Being a high-profile prep student athlete can’t protect you from your social media mishaps.

The story of Yuri Wright is much different from your typical inappropriate online behaviour. Wright was a student athlete in New Jersey. At one point in time he was being recruited by some of the biggest names in college football… until his high school, Don Bosco Prep, uncovered his Twitter profile.

Wright’s Twitter contain a number of tweets that were reportedly borderline pornographic and ran contradictory to the teachings of the Catholic high school. After Wright’s tweets went public, Michigan University stopped recruiting him, all his potential scholarship offers were withdrawn and he was expelled in the midst of his senior football season.

Wright went on to accept an offer from the University of Colorado, but missed out on offers from Michigan, Rutgers, and Notre Dame.

University of Ottawa Students Private Facebook Messaging Comes to Light

In 2014, five students at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada learned the hard way that “private” Facebook conversations don’t necessarily stay private when their sexually graphic banter directed at their student union leader, Anne-Mary Roy, was sent to Roy via anonymous email.  The online conversations included references to sexual activities and perpetuated rape culture.

Roy, who was the head of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa at the time of the incident, threatened the students with legal action. While the students involved, who all held positions of leadership on the campus, resigned from their posts.

Kansas State University Student Expelled for Blackface Snapchat

Think Snapchat is private? Think again!

Those 10 seconds snaps you send to your friends before they “disappear”, don’t really disappear.

Paige Shoemaker, a former pre-med biochemistry major, was expelled from Kansas State University after the school discovered a screenshot of a Snapchat shared by Shoemaker. The image depicted a blackface Shoemaker with a caption that included a racial slur.

The screenshot of the Shoemaker’s Snapchat was shared on Twitter where many students expressed their dismay. K-State sided with students who were offended by the post, and as a result, expelled Shoemaker from the University.

Pennsylvania English Teacher Suspended for Blogging About Students

Students are not the only ones who should be careful about what they share to social media as teachers can be just as culpable.

A high school English teacher in Pennsylvania, Natalie Munroe, was suspended from her position after writing about her students on her personal blog. Munroe referred to her students as “rude, lazy, disengaged whiners”, “out of control” and lacking “honor and good moral character”.

Monroe, who blogged under the name Natalie M., said that her blog was meant to only be read by friends even though it was accessible by anyone on the Internet. Her posts have been deleted since the controversy came to light, but are still searchable in a cached version on the site.

The Takeaways

  • Just because you are accepted to a school does not mean it is set in stone. Your post-acceptance behavior is always being monitored.
  • Your online image is important – no matter your social status.
  • Nothing you share on social media is guaranteed to remain private.
  • Something that may seem funny to you may offend others.
  • Your posts are never permanently deleted and can be stored in a cache.
  • You never know who might be reading your online posts.  
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