Social media expert tells Wredling Middle School students how to shine online

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ST. CHARLES – Josh Ochs believes you are never too young to learn that your actions on social media can affect your future.

He brought his "How to Shine Online on Social Media" presentation to Wredling Middle School on Thursday. He also spoke this week to Thompson Middle School students as well as to St. Charles North and East high school students, along with giving a presentation to parents.

"Today is all about your future," Ochs told Wredling Middle School students. "Today is all about how do we use the devices that we have to start building a positive portfolio online...We want you to have fun online, but we also want to make sure that you're doing stuff that gets you into that dream four-year university, gets you an internship or gets you a job and a dream career."

Ochs showed the students how colleges will search for them online. And he stressed the importance of knowing one's online presence.

He also told them how they can have more of a positive presence on social media. For example, Ochs urged those who volunteer to "consider taking a classy group photo."

"This is our chance to brand ourselves starting today," he said. "What does your bio say about you? What does your photo say about you?"

Ochs also showed the students examples of what not to do on social media. He told them the story of how a young woman was given a job offer by Cisco Systems, a networking hardware system.

After receiving the job offer, she then sent out a tweet that said, 'Cisco just offered me a job. Now I have to weight the fat paycheck against the daily commute and hating the work.' ''

Needless to say, she ended up not getting the job following that tweet. In fact, the company responded to the woman with its own tweet, "Hey, who's the hiring manager? Who's the person that hired you? Because I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work."

After his presentation, Ochs talked about why he felt it was important for students to hear what he had to say.

"We're showing students, 'Here's how to shine online so every opportunity comes your way,' " Ochs said. "By showing the students the positive side of social media, the students listen better, they absorb the knowledge better and then go off and have a plan of action. They can use the devices with a purpose instead of a pastime."

Wredling Middle School Principal Timothy Loversky said he appreciated what Ochs had to say.

"One of the things that we know is that kids are more digitally and socially connected than any group before," he said. "And that's a positive and a negative. So one of our goals is to make sure our kids have the skills, abilities and knowledge to make good decisions, so that they are prepared to be good 21st century citizens. And these are the topics that we actually talk about throughout the school year. So this was a great anchor activity for us."