SocialMediaSignSummer can be a great time for teens to decompress from school and their hectic schedule of running from events and squeezing in your homework and studying for exams.

They will also have more time for social media, which isn’t all bad.  Especially if they are in high school and going to be applying to colleges.  Creating your online image (reputation) is going to determine your future.

Your digital trail started when you received your first keypad, however you truly need to start enhancing it for the college recruiters as well as potential employers.  The fact is, your name will be put through a wash-cycle of a search-engine.

One of the biggest mistake I see teens making is over-sharing and post remorse.

With over-sharing comes managing your privacy settings appropriately.

As we mention in Shame Nation, my upcoming book, it’s time for teens to start considering their LIKE’s. Remember, it’s not about quantity, but rather about quality.

Think of every LIKE as your endorsement of that post, image or comment.

It may be funny at that moment, but how will a potential recruiter or employer feel about it if it floats on top of an Internet search?

Here are some tips to begin your mid-summer social media footprint:

Privacy Settings: I promise to check my privacy settings on all my social networking sites weekly.

Share with Care: I promise not to use social media as a venting machine or a scrapbook. I will use custom privacy settings on photos that are for family only.

Password Security: Never give out your password to anyone except your parent. Don’t use passwords with common names and numbers of your family. Remember to use passwords that are not familiar to your friends (such as your pets names).

Keystrokes matter: Think before you type, pause before you post – it is really that simple. The Internet is the largest tattooing machine in the world – once it is sent, it is nearly impossible to erase.  Kindness counts – if you don’t have anything nice to say, just click off for the day.

Build-A-Blog: Especially teens that need to start building their online reputation, a blog is a great launching pad! It is a platform to showcase their interests, hobbies, sports, awards, selective photos, trips, community service and more. Your digital real-estate begins with you! It’s free with WordPress or Blogger.

With the cyber-world expanding everyday – this list could go on forever.

Don’t allow the summer time over-time get you in keystroke trouble, make it a time to create your platform for the future!

Most important again not to over-share.  Some things are better left between you and your closest friends – not for digital distribution.

Here’s a great reminder from Cyberwise, you are your “Digital Billboard.”

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