Ian Swanson, Millard North Alumni (class of 2010) and current 2016 candidate for Nebraska Legislature has first–hand experience with the perpetuity of the internet. As Swanson builds and expands his campaign, he learned that comments made earlier online could effect the possibility of his governmental position.
While Swanson was at MN, he witnessed the evolution of the modern world of social media.
“Growing up, social media was really a new frontier. It changed a lot during my four years at MN. Of course, I was very active on social media because I read a lot and have lots of information I want to share with people,” Swanson said.
Similar to most young high school students, Swanson took full advantage of his ability to voice his opinions on a public forum. It wasn’t until college when Swanson realized the full utility and extent of his social media presence.
“In college, I realized I had grown a lot in terms of how I thought and how I applied my principles to current problems. I realized I needed to have a cohesive strategy for my social media,” Swanson said.
Years later, Swanson spent weeks going back to erase comments that he made when he was younger. His social media strategy became to reflect who he was today, which was especially important in his campaign for state legislature.
“Generally, social media and politics do not mesh well because people are quick to judge and quick to attack others in comments sections and message boards. Instead, be careful what you share and what you say, making sure you really mean every word,” Swanson said.
Swanson now encourages young people to exercise cautious posting online. If time is taken now to filter content posted on social media, there will be one less thing to worry about in the future.
“Many employers now check the social media of job applicants, so students should stay away from posting pictures or comments from the last party they went to,” Swanson said.
Social media should be used as an extension of someone’s true personality. Swanson wisely explains how posts online should be well thought out and reflect a person’s true opinions.
“In short, you need to have an over arching strategy for your social media. Think through why you want to post a given thing, and consider how it will be received. If it doesn’t match who you really are, maybe posting isn’t the best thing,” Swanson said.