I grew up near Daytona Beach, Florida and can easily attest (without incriminating myself) to seeing some crazy things go on during Spring Break. Wild parties, scantily clad revelers, loud concerts, and copious consumption of alcohol are all stereotypes associated with the time off from school.
Traditionally an opportunity for college students to let off some steam, Spring Break has evolved into big business. Young adults travel to warm beaches from Florida to California, international travel is a popular choice as well – often seeking to avoid America’s tough drinking laws, students may very well opt to party in Mexico or the Bahamas. Of course, all different types of Spring Breaks exist – some students use the time to pursue further educational opportunities (one year, I took a one-credit-hour course held in England), others will go home to visit family, some use the time for humanitarian efforts (commonly dubbed, “alternative Spring Break”), and for others it’s just another week with life going on without drastic change. For the people who work in tourism and hospitality industries, Spring Break just means over-time and good tips.
How has the ultimate party week evolved over time? Believe it or not, it’s tamer. The NY Times posted an article that called this change in behavior to my attention.
Social media is so widespread, as are mobile devices with high quality cameras. Participate in a wet t-shirt contest and run the risk of having your family see a video of your performance on Facebook. More than embarrassment comes the risk of trouble and consequences. Most college students will be, of course, seeking gainful employment after graduation.
The NY Times article spoke with a bar tender in Key West and reported her observations while working Spring Breaks over the years: “They are very prudish,” said Margaret Donnelly, 28, a bartender at Tattoos and Scars who has lived in Key West for four years and remembers her own student antics “They are so afraid everyone is going to take their picture and put it online. Ten years ago people were doing filthy, filthy things, but it wasn’t posted on Facebook,” (NY Times, 2012).
At ICUC, we help brands to manage and protect their online reputations. What is said about you on the Internet can have repercussions you’d never expect and only learn of once it’s too late. This latest trend is indicative that brands and businesses aren’t the only ones taking a vested interest in how the web perceives them.
Social Media monitoring tools are used in the professional spectrum to see what’s being said online about an entity – for students who do take things too far and find their antics documented online, I’d suggest searching for your name and/or the incident via monitoring tools to get an idea of how far the story has spread.
I found this Spring Break list of Social Media DO’s and DON’Ts from Purdue’s Center for Career Opportunities Blog. I’m sure it’s not the only one of its kind and that all schools are concerned about the reputations and safety of their students. As this kind of education spreads, Spring Break and the collegiate party culture in general may continue to mellow out.
Understanding the power and reach of the Internet is important. Something that seems trivial, silly or fun at the time can have major ramifications later on. For young people to be so mindful of the future and how fragile their reputations are, is impressive. I think these realizations are good, having self and social awareness can take someone a long way.
Photo Source, the image is a still from the 1960 Motion Picture, “Where the Boys Are.”