Some of us #PRprofs had a good conversation on Twitter not long ago that inspired me to ask this question: when does teaching stop?
Here's what I mean. I saw a comment from a young person in my twitterstream making fun of homeless people. I thought it was offensive and not something a young PR professional would really want on their public profile. I clicked through to find out more about the person, and was horrified to see that they're an alum of my school's PR program. I started to send them a direct message suggesting that they think more carefully what they post (which is what I would do if they were still a UGA student, even if I didn't know them). I'd never had the person in class, though, so I reconsidered.
Then I asked the PR profs what they thought I should do: "Do I have a responsibility to non-student tweeting inappropriately?" Urkovia Andrews and Melanie Lockhart (who suggested this as a blog post topic) both responded that they didn't think so; we have to draw the line somewhere, and in this case I don't even know the person, so that crosses the line. Richard Waters also pointed out that being embarrassed to have my university's name on the tweeter's profile is different than having a "responsibility" to that person. And that's true: if were a young PR pro with no connection to my university, I probably would've just unfollowed them rather than going into teacher mode.
Urkovia and Tiffany Gallicano also pointed out that if it were someone else's student, they'd notify the professor -- which is something I've done before, too. And if I'd known that UGA alum, I'd've definitely sent her a direct message.
It was hard for me to walk away from a teachable moment, but I did. Was that right?