Social media education is important in high school

Fatemeh Fakhraie teaching students about social media

Photo by Devin Simpson.

Last week, I had the pleasure of talking to about 300 sophomores at West Albany High School about how their use of social media would change after they left high school.

We use social media to communicate and stay in touch with friends and family, and to express ourselves online. But many high schoolers aren’t aware that after they leave high school, social media will take on a new facet. Universities and employers will begin using social media to investigate prospective students and hires to ensure they’ll represent the school or company well.

When it comes to universities, scholarship committees and team recruiters will also be on the lookout. There are countless stories of student athletes losing scholarships over social media gaffes, but the most eloquent comes from Marymount University’s Coach Brandon Chambers:

Anyone born after the 1980s is often described as a “digital native,” especially the kids who have grown up with iPhones and Twitter. But being digitally fluent isn’t the same as being digitally literate: just because young adults know how to use these social platforms doesn’t mean they’re fully aware of potential consequences, both online and off.

This is one reason why social media education is important. When I talked with WAHS students, I asked which platforms they were using. Almost every student in the room was using one social channel (or more). Social media education can help students start to understand how their social use reflects their offline lives and can potentially avoid mistakes that cause them to lose their jobs or become the subject of an online smear campaign.

The other reason social media education is important is to make sure that students who may not have access to social channels can learn about them. Not every job in the workforce will require employees to have a Twitter handle or an Instagram account. But these tools are increasingly being used in businesses, and they’re important skills for the next workforce to learn.

But it’s important that social media education isn’t just about the fire-and-brimstone side of social use. Attempting to scare teenagers doesn’t get them to stop doing something; it’s more productive to illustrate positive uses for social channels they may not have considered.

When speaking with WAHS students, I showed them ways to harness social media positively when looking for a job or showcasing their creativity. Though landing a gig with Instagram isn’t guaranteed, it’s not outside the realm of possibility: success stories like Michelle Phan and J. Clark Walker exist for a reason.

Teaching students early about how social media works, how to keep themselves safe on it, and how to use it to put their best foot forward when transitioning into adulthood are important lessons. Teens who don’t understand social media consequences grow into adults that don’t understand social media consequences–an ounce of prevention in high school is worth a pound of cure after you’ve been doxxed or lost your job.

What’s a haft seen?

Persian new year haft seen

Happy 1394! Nowruz (نوروذ), also known as Persian New Year, is the beginning of the Iranian calendar year. It’s also a religious holiday for the Baha’i and Zoroastrian faiths, both of which originated in Iran. Nowruz is the same day as the Spring Equinox and marks the beginning of 1394.

This year, I’m documenting my haft seen table to give you all a little history behind the celebration, which is a huge deal to Iranians, Kurds, Afghans, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and those in the Zoroastrian and Baha’i faiths. (more…)

The ultimate guide to custom Instagram locations

I’m sure you’ve seen grayed out location links before. A lot of fashion bloggers and brands use these to promote their websites or to instruct readers on how to enter contests and such. They’re pretty handy.

I’m going to show you how to do one so that you can promote your website, give instructions, or just let everyone know your frame of mind.

Create custom Instagram locations (more…)

Is there a shortage of content marketers? Yes and no.

Marketers just need content marketing skills.

I’ve been flexing my content marketing muscle for a few years now at brass Media, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the job. Content marketing has so much strategy, planning, and creation that there’s always something different to do.

And because I’m enjoying the content marketing part of my job, I’m so excited to be interviewed about it! I spoke with B2B News Network about the recent survey by Provoke Insights that shows 34% of companies are having a hard time finding suitable content marketers:


‘Tis the season

Happy 2015!

What I love most about the holidays are the infused warmth emanating from friends, coworkers, and family: beautiful Hanukkah displays at the store, cozily decorated houses, and lots of extra goodies in the office break room.

One of my favorite holiday surprises is getting greeting cards! It’s such a beautiful way to let people know you’re thinking of them, and who doesn’t like getting mail (that isn’t a bill)? This has really inspired me to think about how I can get in on the action.


I’m a convert to This.

This. social network

After the hubbub and subsequent disappointment about new platform Ello, I was definitely skeptical about whether would woo me. But it has: it’s full of great reads from people whose opinions I respect about issues I like reading about.

This. bills itself as “a place to find and share the web’s best stories, ideas and arguments. Each user can share just 1 link a day.” It was launched by Atlantic Media, helmed by Andrew Golis.


Doing what I do best

fatemeh talking about social media

Blabbing about Instagram is definitely my favorite thing to do.

Yesterday, I repped brass Media while giving a presentation about using social media for business to North Salem High School’s Future Business Leaders of America student group. It was a lot of fun, and so exciting to see the next generation of those interested in business!

Photo by Devin Simpson for brass Media.