- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 04 March 2015
Some students have been told since high school: “Clean up your Facebook,” “Watch what you say online,” or, “Don’t post something you wouldn’t want the colleges of your choice to see.” Now that these students have made it to the University (perhaps by changing Facebook names, jacking up privacy settings and hiding photos) it’s been a series of: “Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a future employer to see.”
Most students have become aware that if online profiles aren’t treated with dignity it could have negative consequences; however, many have been utilizing social media since high school, maybe even middle school, and haven’t been quite so conscious of their postings. According to many students, it can be quite a bother to go through and clean up your pages, nonetheless even know where to begin. Luckily for young professionals everywhere, the new app, Xpire, is here to help ease the fear of student’s online presence haunting them down the road.
Xpire was created by Jesse Stauffer, a 20-year-old college student, who sought out the help of noted businessman and investor, Mark Cuban. Cuban is also featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to renowned investors. According to Fox News, Stauffer sent an email pitch to Cuban about Xpire, which ignited the app’s development.
According to Xpire’s website, the app is a social networking client that allows you to easily shrink your digital footprint. It has three main capabilities of ephemeral sharing, simplified searching, and smart algorithms.
1. Ephemeral Sharings
Basically, you can post timed content (on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr) that will automatically self-destruct when you want it to. This is geared to people who want to share their current reaction (say, during a sporting event) but don’t feel the need for it to be available forever.
Mary Harris, a specialist professor of communication who teaches social media courses, thinks that the app might be useful for scanning old posts that are worth deleting. However, she believes that there is a bigger issue at hand that should be addressed. She said, “If there is a post or tweet that an individual user of this app sets to ‘self-destruct’ in a few minutes, days, weeks, or years, I think the important question to ask is, why? Why post risky content in the first place? The bottom line is, individuals should still exercise caution and professionalism with any new content they share or post. When it doubt, don’t share it.” Harris said.
Nancy Gallo, Job Placement Coordinator at Career Services, also warned of the possible consequences of using this feature. “I think it would be a good part of the app as long as the student doesn’t get a false sense of security.”
Gallo said that even if students post something and have a time set for it to “self-destruct,” they should realize that even in that small window of time, that post can be forwarded to others which means it is technically still present on the web.
2. Simplified Searching
You can search your tweets via keyword. If students think they might of tweeted something inappropriate, once or twice, or even 2K times, they can simply search certain words and find and delete the posts.
Rebecca Zidik, a senior communication student, downloaded Xpire this year. She was thinking it would be interesting to have an app that shows every post you have shared on social media. “I first started using Xpire to re-live my past years of college but quickly realized some of my tweets were either inappropriate for job interviews or just plain embarrassing. The search feature is useful for cleaning up your timeline or simply reminiscing on your college days.” Zidik said.
3. Smart Algorithms
The app calculates users “social score” to find just how much inappropriate content someone has shared. For example, a B- could suggest your online self is not absolutely horrible, but you’ve got some cleaning up to do.
“I think the app is good to help some people who have to clean their social media up before they start applying to jobs and internships. Employers do look at social media, especially as a PR major, I know that on internship and job applications, employers have requested my Instagram name and Twitter handle.” Allie Phillips, a senior communication student, said.
The app could clear the confusion between someone’s personal life and professional work ethic. Debates over whether or not someone’s personal life dictates his or her professionalism are a common topic in college classrooms. Gallo said, “I think a person can sometimes behave very differently on social media than they would in their professional life. We might reveal things to friends that we would not reveal to colleagues.”
Yet, it is still enough of a factor to influence an employer’s hiring decision. For employers, an initial glance into the virtual world of a potential employee can make or break a career opportunity for that person. According to Time, a study found that 93 percent of hiring managers do in fact review someone’s social media before making a hiring decision. Of that, 55 percent reconsider the candidate based on what they find.
Graziella Ruffa, a junior marketing student and a member of the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, said, “One of the first things my mentor at my internship, Ferrero, said to me was clean up my Facebook. As part of screening a potential’s resume, it should be assumed that employees are checking your social media. It can make or break a final decision. People just don’t care and may underestimate the use of say, alcohol, in a photo. Keeping a Facebook timeline professional is always the way to go.”
From the looks of these three unique features, the app will be at least useful to some college students looking to clean up their social media from the past. Of course, the question about the virtual world remains: Can anything really vanish from the web? “I think it’s always best to assume that nothing is ever completely deleted from the Internet.” Gallo continued.
Harris said, “This app boasts an innovative and unique concept. Although Xpire sounds like it might be appealing for college students and young professionals alike, I am afraid that the app might be giving people a false sense of security. Anything we put on the Internet doesn’t simply disappear forever, and it is not wise to put our trust in an application to correct all of our mistakes.”
Though the app claims to clean up your digital presence, students should know not to completely rely on it. Remember in this day and age that once you post, someone else can screen shot it immediately before you even have a chance to delete it yourself. The best way to secure your chances of scoring your dream career is to start being smart about what you like, share and post on your pages. In the meantime, Xpire has students covered (for the most part.)
IMAGE TAKEN from macstories.net
GRAPHIC COMPILED by Brianna McCabe