I’m just digging in to this “Thing” and the first article I read was The Loved Your GPA, Then they saw Your Tweets which reminded me of my son’s college search last year in which I observed a tricky way colleges gain access to prospective students’ social media accounts. When we arrived he was encouraged to take a photo of himself on campus and tweet it or post it to Facebook and tag the college. If he did so, they would send him a Tshirt and some other swag. At first I thought it was a great idea, but then I realized that, by participating, students may unwittingly give the college access to other material on their social media that they might not have intended. I wonder if that was the plan behind the promotion or an unintended bonus. I wonder if they explored the accounts of the students who participated and what they found?
There were no such promotions at the literally dozens of colleges I visited with my daughter three years earlier, despite the prevalence of Facebook and Twitter even then, which begs more questions. My daughter was visiting mostly small, elite, private schools while my son was focused on state schools. Was the idea truly to get some free promotion for a public university, which the elite schools don’t need as much? Are admissions offices just getting more social media savvy? How common are these kinds of promotions on campuses? And do kids think about the consequences before participating?