Post written by Jordan Dunn, Brock Center Associate Editor.
The weekend of April 13th, I was part of the Cal Poly student group who traveled to the annual California State FFA Conference. We made this special trip to administer leadership workshops to high school FFA students. There was a total of 7 Cal Poly workshops and mine (which was developed and led with another Cal Poly student, Seth Borges) focused on maintaining a professional social media presence.
I hold the value of the FFA and its life lessons very highly. I have been involved in the FFA since the moment I was eligible – and I’m not exaggerating. I was representing my chapter, showing dairy cattle at the California State Fair, the summer before my freshman year of high school! I attended FFA workshops in high school and still utilize skills I learned to this day. I recently received the American FFA Degree, and it was a big reason why I decided to participate in hosting a workshop this year.
With our workshop, the goal was to present material students were familiar with – social media – but bring a whole new perspective to it that might change the way they think about it. We heavily emphasized the importance of keeping your online presence professional, giving them examples of how employers are searching job candidates online prior to hiring.
Some of the interactive games we played might have seemed pointlessly fun to the students, but they were actually providing them with a way to look at social media with a new lens. We showed them exaggerated versions of good and bad Instagram posts and had students tell us why it was or was not okay for the photos to be publicly posted. Each workshop session had different and interesting responses, but they all seemed to carry the same core ideal, “Don’t post it if you don’t want your grandma to see it.”
It was very interesting for me to see the similarities among groups of students from opposite ends of the state. With every single group, there was at least a few students who didn’t see my “inappropriate” posts as bad, and by the end of it, they all understood why certain things just should not be posted publicly.
At the end of each workshop, we all took a group selfie (groupie?) and I posted them to my Instagram page. The students were prompted to follow my account, tag themselves, then go through my profile and call me out on any inappropriate posts they saw – needless to say I haven’t been called out yet!
As a whole, I think that our workshop truly made a difference for the FFA students that attended. Their willingness to engage with the material showed me that it was something they were at least interested to learn about. I look forward to leading more FFA workshops in the future!