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Humorist's Workshop Details Dangers of Social Media

Friday, April 4, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

Gail HandTexas State Technical College student Heather Lerma doesn’t know everything there is to know about social media.

But after a recent workshop at TSTC by humorist Gail Hand, Lerma left knowing that her personal social media accounts can help or hurt her chances to establish herself as a professional after college.

“It was all very insightful,” Lerma said. “I wasn’t aware that in Texas, it’s legal for an employer to ask for your social media passwords and that Google can store photos of you from years back. There’s a certain responsibility that comes with having a Facebook or Twitter account but this workshop really helped to identify what measures we need to take to not ruin our reputation.”

Hand calls herself a funny motivational speaker and for the past 21 years, she’s been traveling the country speaking to everyone from college students to Fortune 100-1000 companies using humor to get a message across.

Hand fuses her 15 years of experience in corporate leadership along with her experience as a stand-up comic to make her programs effective. Her program, “Are you sure you want to post that?” is only five years old and focuses on reaching out to college students and educating them on the potential consequences that come with irresponsibly managing a social media account.

“It’s about making healthy choices,” said Hand of her social media program. “If students are good leaders, they’re going to be successful in life. They start building their reputation now whether they know it or not.”

Hand told the nearly 60 students at the workshop that potential employers will use Google to do their own background research on them and that their social media websites are most likely to come out in the search.

Hand’s revelation that employers in Texas can legally ask for an employee’s password was received with much surprise. Many gasped and snickered at the idea but Hand said it’s been her job and passion to help college students become better people.

Hand alerted the students to avoid sarcasm on their personal accounts and to brag about any community service they take part in during their college career.

She warned against certain selfies or other photos. Selfies are photographs individuals take of themselves using their camera.

Hand said 86 percent of employers use social media to search a potential employee’s background and 94 percent of graduate schools do the same.

“I didn’t have any kids and I really enjoy going to the different colleges and universities and talking to the young people about something so big like social media,” Hand said.

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