Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

I See You: Taking Risks Online

I’m not one to lecture and I hate being lectured to, but when it comes to talking to my students about establishing an online presence, I turn on my ‘lecture’ voice. “Be proud of what you produce because it is permanent.” In the past 5 years, I have uttered these words more times than I care to remember.

Here’s Why:

  • When students write a passionate editorial/opinion piece about raunchy sex, marijuana usage, or participating in illegal activity, it’s permanent
  • When students post drunken pictures on Facebook or Tweet debauchery at 4 a.m., it’s permanent
  • When students make offensive comments smothered in obscenities on social networking sites, even in jest, it’s permanent
  • When students spout off controversial opinions in a blog post or online commenting board, it’s permanent

My word of caution stems from this: Even if you delete a Facebook status, Tweet or blog entry, it’s still out there in the clouds, archived just as a newspaper archives its hard copies. You can never erase it, even if it was posted with innocent and genuine intentions.

While I’m an advocate for Free Speech and encourage my students to take risks when reporting, I also want them to know that there is a major difference between reporting on a controversial topic in an objective manner and spouting off crude and offensive material in an opinion piece.

Because the material is permanent, it is searchable; it can and will be found by potential employers, mates, family members, readers, neighbors and years down the road … your own children.

I’m all for taking risks, but when it comes to the impact on your future, think long and hard about what you publish and most of all, Be Proud of What You Produce because it’s Permanent.


Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: April 7, 2011

© Shannon Philpott, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


April 7, 2011 - Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , ,


  1. Preach it, sista! It’s just way too easy to get keyboard courage. I’ve done it myself.

    Comment by Kenna | April 7, 2011 | Reply

  2. I know. I’ve been there, too, which is why my ‘lecture’ tone stems from personal frustration/experience.

    Comment by sphilpott | April 7, 2011 | Reply

    • – What a beautiful wddeing! Shannon and Damien’s wddeing was so adorable and gorgeous at the same time and you captured it sooo well! I want to get married again so you can photograph it!

      Comment by Joe | December 3, 2012 | Reply

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