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Social Media and the Future of HR: Are We Preparing Our Students?

Lisa Pluth Researcher and Writer

According to Aliah D. Wright of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (3/12/12), a large percentage of today’s recruiters use social media sites to find and recruit talent. 56% of HR professionals now use social media of some kind to look for employees or advertise positions. Of these, 95% use LinkedIn, 58% use Facebook and 42% use Twitter. These numbers are very high considering the length of time these web sites have been in existence. According to the same source 82% of these positions were for salaried or lower level positions.

As educators, should we be teaching the skills needed to properly use and manage social media profiles to our high school students? Concerns about bullying, inappropriate photographs, and stalking are common in discussions about social media. However, should our concerns run deeper? Are these sites the future of HR and by extension the pathway to successful employment for our youngsters? Is personal branding and the creation of an online persona not just something to be aware of but a new skill that should be taught to our youth?

The introduction of Facebook’s new timeline feature makes these questions even more relevant and important. Timeline encourages and enables a user to create a record of their entire life back into time. As a parent, technology writer and educator I am concerned not only with the protection of our children online but also with showing them how to use these tools to their advantage. Moreover, the division of students into the haves and the have-nots based upon a complete understanding of how to use these tools beyond the social sphere poses a serious threat to the development of our nation.

Any thoughts, current programs or experiences by educators related to the teaching of social media tools at the high school level would be greatly appreciated.

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