Discuss as:

Obama: Be careful what you post online

From NBC's Athena Jones
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The man who successfully marshaled the power of the Internet unlike any candidate before him had some interesting words of warning for a kids hoping to follow in his footsteps.

During a Back-to-School event with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., the president was asked what advice he would give to a young person who hopes to one day be president.

Be careful what you post on Facebook, because whatever you do, it will come up later in your life, Obama told a class of about 30 ninth-graders gathered in the school library.

"I've been hearing a lot about young people who, you know, they're posting stuff on Facebook and then suddenly they go apply for a job and somebody's done a search and, you know, so that's some practical political advice," Obama said.

The president's warning was in line with the kind of advice many parents and employers have been giving young people for some time since pictures, video and text posted on the Web can live forever. In fact, a video posted on YouTube that captured derogatory comments about Republicans by green jobs czar Van Jones contributed to the controversy that forced his resignation over the weekend.

Obama went on to say that doing well in school was also important "especially if you don't come from some political family where they've got you all hooked up." The third piece of advice for presidential aspirants was to find something that you're passionate about and do that well.

Of course, the president is no Web foe. The Internet helped him break fund-raising records as a candidate, and the White House recently began Tweeting. As of 11:56 a.m., some 1,120,482 people were following the White House on Twitter, and the White House had 341,860 "fans" on Facebook. This morning's discussion with students preceded a much-talked about presidential address to school students nationwide during which Obama was set to hail the creators of such Web phenomena.

"The story of America isn't about people who quit when things got tough," the president's prepared remarks read. "It's about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other. So today, I want to ask you, what's your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in 20 or 50 or 100 years say about what all of you did for this country?