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Posting With Purpose: A Social Media Lesson For Kids

What is the right age for your child to get a social media account? That's up to you. But at ANY age these 5 things should be understood.


1. Understand the long term effects of having a social media page. When us old parents were growing up, we could have a reputation and move away to avoid that reputation and get a job elsewhere—where no one knew us. Kiddos, you are not that lucky. As an employer and a person that is friends with LOTS of employers, we Google you. And having a private page does not help. It just shows us that you have something to hide. And, your friends that have posted about you and tagged you, may not have private pages. You will appear!


2. Do NOT have an empty page. This is a loaded tip so bare with me. A social media page shouldn't be established just because "everyone else has one." As per the old adage If your friend jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it? No. And so that reason is not a reason at all. In fact there are 2 parts to this tip.


There are 3 types of people on social media:

  1. Those who consume content

  2. Those who produce content

  3. Those who produce as much as they consume.


Example:

A Netflix binge: consider how you feel after one episode has come to an end: incomplete, empty, yearning for something more. That is being a consumer.


Now consider how you feel after you've finished painting a canvas: fulfilled, happy, eager, focused, maybe even excited to create more. That is being a creator.


Having a healthy balance here stimulates the brain in difference ways. And as my 3rd grade teacher would've put it "You don't just want to be a bump on a log."


The more controlled content, the better. See the 2 diagrams below. Imagine that each dot represents a single piece of content. If you regularly produce content that represents you accurately, you are painting a picture of how you are perceived. You have that control. If someone else posts about you or tags you, you do not have control over the perception of that content, but it is still out there representing you. When you have an abundance of your own controlled content, if just one doesn't properly represent you, it will not define you. Now look at the picture on the right. An empty page and that one dot. That's the one dot that someone else posted about you, and the only bit of information representing you. You are now letting someone else define how you are perceived.


One bad post in a sea of consistent content vs. One bad post

3. Who are you posting to? Have an audience so that you have a voice. Are you putting yourself out there for friends? For family? Knowing this will keep you from posting every time you sneeze. Social media is a way to be social, as if you were standing in a room full of peers. If you were sitting in class and sneezed, you wouldn't call your friend to tell them about it, because that would be silly. Understanding your audience will keep you relevant and not annoying.


4. Determine your tone. Text can be misinterpreted depending on who is receiving it. While emojis do help, having a clear, bulleted list of what kind of tone you would like to have makes for more understood posts. For example: do you want to be funny? Caring? Informative? It's like the difference between a statement, a question, an exclamation, or a command.

Mom. Mom! and Mom? all mean different things. The delivery of your posts matter.


5. Be confident in your self definition. Consistency is key for you and your future. It doesn't make a difference if you want to be a twerkin' YouTube star or the powerhouse presenter in a corporate board room, being consistent will get you the results you want from social media. Whether you realize it or not, you do want results. You may use it as a way to meet more people with similar interests or you may use it as scrapbook or profile for documenting your memories. Either way posting has purpose.


Oh, and I almost forgot... You'll thank me for this one day!


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