Like most 24-year-olds, Tiffany Seitz is active on social media, regularly posting updates about her life on Instagram, Facebook and other popular channels.
But as the reigning Miss Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh area native knows there’s a certain amount of responsibility that goes along with being so open.
“It really does matter what you’re putting on social media,” she told students at Bucks County Community College in Perkasie. “You never know who is looking at your social media. It is so important to be appropriate. Before you post, ask yourself three questions: Is it kind? Is it true? And is it necessary.”
Seitz was invited to speak as part of BCCC’s LaunchPad Series, a partnership between the college and the Perkasie-based Sisters U Foundation designed to prepare students for professional life after graduation. Upcoming topics in the series include getting the most out of interning and volunteering opportunities during the summer, developing interviewing and networking skills, and time and money secrets.
Rodney Altemose, dean of BCCC’s upper county campus, met Seitz when he served as a judge for the Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship Competition last fall.
“I don’t think there’s anyone more positive who can actually share their story,” said Altemose. “When we have a social media presence, we want to make sure that people are seeing what we want them to see. Many students just throw a picture out there and it’s part of their digital footprint that’s there forever.”
A graduate of Grove City College with a degree in entrepreneurship, Seitz recalled how a professor once told her prospective employers will use a student’s digital footprint – everything from LinkedIn to Snapchat – in about 85 percent of the hiring decision. The information included on your resume is important but has little effect on getting a job, she said.
“They’re looking at what you’re putting online, how you are branding yourself,” she said. “There are so many things that they’re looking at that is really really important to be conscious of what you’re putting on social.”
Snapchat is especially dangerous for students who think the information they post is only available for a short amount of time to the person they send it to. Similarly, posting something and then deleting it does not make it go away, she said.
“If you’re posting stupid stuff, people are going to see that when they Google your name,” said Seitz, who manages her personal social media accounts as well as several social media accounts as Miss Pennsylvania. “Anything that you’re doing on the internet, I can’t stress how important that what you’re putting online people will see it.”
While Seitz’s visit to BCCC was about social media, she also shared her incredible story of testing positive for cocaine when she was born and being separated from her birth family shortly after. Doctors told her foster parents – who eventually adopted her after a protracted legal battle – she might not live for two weeks and if she survived likely would have permanent damage from the cocaine.
Despite her rough start, Seitz graduated from Evangel Heights Christian Academy in 2013 and Grove City College in 2017. A long-time dancer, she now teaches dance and hopes to one day have her own studio.
Seitz has spent her year as Miss Pennsylvania traveling through the state as an advocate for foster care adoption and working with Miss America’s official charity, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“I think the most valuable thing is not the time I put into social media, it’s not the crown and the sash and the scholarship money,” she said. “You can take all that away. It’s about the people that I’m investing in. Taking the time to look someone in the face and let them know their time is meaningful to me. I am just a person here who desires to make a positive change.