As a PR student, I’ve spent countless class periods listening to professors lecture on the importance of creating a strong online presence. The conversation, usually initiated by the infamous question, “What does your online presence say about you?” seems redundant for most journalism students who inevitably analyze each and every character of their tweet before sending it out to the masses because frankly, we get it. We get that employers Google a prospect before evaluating a resume and we understand that what we say and do on the web affects our chances of being accepted into graduate or professional school.
Undoubtedly, my professors and public relations coursework have instilled in me the importance of having a strong, positive online presence, but as I scroll through my twitter feed of f-bombs and negativity, I worry for my friends that haven’t had the luxury of this education. After all, it doesn’t matter what your major is… a negative online presence will affect you. And with the job market becoming increasingly competitive, I find it vital that all students learn the importance of tailoring their online presence because positive PR isn’t just for communication students.
The common excuse I receive when consulting my friends regarding their online presence is that they’ve never considered that graduate schools may be monitoring their social media accounts or googling them. But according to USNews World Report, social media can ruin or help one’s chance of getting into graduate school. So while it is extremely important that students applying to graduate school keep their online image professional and positive, it is even more important for those students to build their online presence by properly utilizing numerous social media accounts.
With this in mind, if students don’t have an online presence or if their presence consists of twitter rants and inappropriate Facebook photos, graduate schools may choose to throw out a student’s application; thus, giving students with a PR background a better shot at acceptance than a student lacking this essential education.
University of Minnesota