School is out and many of us are off to spend time with old friends, family, and catch some summer sun. Summertime is great for relaxing, reading, getting a part time job, traveling, and having FUN. While we are in school, it is easy to remember our fraternal membership and the way in which we must conduct ourselves online. We would not want pictures or posts from a night of fun ending up on a social media site and potentially getting ourselves or our own chapter in hot water. Rather, we have our fellow fraternity and sorority members keeping us in check and making sure we are accountable to what we post online. It is easy to forget that in the summer, we are still representing our organizations, even when we are not attending weekly chapter events.
Summertime gatherings in the backyard or on a trip can be very fun especially when friends come to share time with us. Taking photos and sharing them is definitely something typical at many social events. However, before posting photos or tagging others, decide if the photos represent yourself and your organization well. Also it might be polite to ask friends before posting certain photos if they want to posted or not. You never know what people want to have online of themselves. Perhaps when taking photos encouraging friends to set down drink containers, alcoholic or not, so all photos can be posted and show the fun being had without any misinterpretations of your summer bash. Summertime activities do not always involve parties and drinking but if they do, posting photos and comments about these gatherings should be treated the same way they would at any time during the school year. When posting other content on social media sites during the summer, ask yourself “Would I repeat this post or tweet to everyone in my chapter during chapter meeting? Does it reflect myself and my values?” This could help ensure summer events and thoughts don’t end up offending others. Additionally, summer time is truly the pre-recruitment season. You never know who is looking at your online content for information about your chapter, especially new students and their parents. Summer also is when many students hold internships and other jobs that can help build resumes and wallets. Summer employers who might have access to your online profiles could see things you post and might decide that your summer activities do not represent their business well. Though letters may not be physically worn during the summer, others know we are fraternity and sorority members and you cannot remove that identity. Be aware of what you post and who might see it. This may seem tedious, but a lack of caution can have negative consequences on yourself, your career, and your chapter. Summertime should be no exception.
Letting loose and have fun during the summer months is important to getting recharged for the fall. Making sure it is spent on activities and with friends who match our values is also important. There are so many great ways to have fun that also ensure we do not ruin our own reputation and that of our chapter and fraternity/sorority community. Being aware of our online presence during the school year is just as important in the Summer when we think less people are watching. We are always wearing our letters, even when school is not in session.
Guest blogger: Liz Rader is a graduate student at Bowling Green State University and a summer intern with AFLV.