It’s that time of the year again for hundreds of thousands of college students in America: spring break.
Since Facebook became a global phenomenon and encouraged everyone from your granny to your friend’s cat to join, sharing personal information on the social network has become a growing concern. As a student, you might think it’s fun to upload a picture of you taking a Jäger shot, but your mom might not. It’s time, in other words, to get smart about what you should and you should not do on Facebook while you’re partying it up in San Diego, Miami, or wherever you go.
From least crucial to most crucial, here are some Facebook dos and don’ts during spring break:
DO post fun pics of your Spring Break
Look, it’s supposed to be a fun trip, and part of the fun is sharing these moments. A photo of you taking an ocassional shot of tequila out of a friend’s body part, or dancing at a club with white foam pouring from the ceiling, is a legit moment to own. Especially if you look like you’re genuinely having fun in them. However, consider this…
DON’T let you parents or coworkers see all your tagged pics… and don’t let people tag you in pictures without your approval, especially if you’re friends with your parents or other “figures of authority.” It might not be the way to let your long-distance boyfriend know you got a new tattoo. Take a minute to go over your privacy settings and friend lists before heading to the airport, ok? In the long run, this might save you from embarrassment.
DO post a few status updates during your trip… Status updates might be a nice way to be able to control the message you’re putting out there about where you are, what you’re doing, and how you’re feeling. If you’re not into that, but prefer to upload pictures, at the very least take a few seconds to add a caption describing them. This will let the contacts that care about your safety and well-being to know that you’re (for the most part) cognizant.
DON’T post too many status updates during your trip… It might indicate you’re not having as much fun as you say you are. Why would you be tied to your phone, constantly thinking about how to word the next amazingly funny status update otherwise? Restraint is best. And for the love of God, if you’re not going on Spring Break, just don’t post an update saying you’re spending your spring break “studying.” Again, restraint is best.
DO check in at a fun bar with friends… especially if you’re single and ready to mingle.
DON’T check in at a fun bar with friends... if your girlfriend or boyfriend doesn’t know you’re there, if you’re not supposed to be there, or if you’re doing it to spite an ex or frenemy (this just makes you look sad, and you’re supposed to be having fun).
DON’T use Facebook between midnight and 6 am! Yes, you’ll be super tired or intoxicated, coming back from someone’s place or the club – – the chances of potentially posting something you’ll regret the next morning are incredibly high. What’s worse, by the time you wake up at noon the following day, dozens of friends, distant acquaintances, and family members will have already seen it.
In fact, if controlling your Facebook activity is going to be an unpredictable hassle for you, you might want to try the Facebook “super log-off” technique we talked about a few months ago. It will deactivate your account for as long as you want, preventing anyone from tagging you on pics, posting on your wall, or sharing links with you. You’ll leaving no trace whatsoever of your trip.
Those of you about to go on spring break, please try to remember these dos and don’ts. And readers, what advice do you have about about accepting friend requests from people met during spring break?