By Katie Murdoch For The Herald
LYNNWOOD — It was less than 24 hours after being crowned Miss Seattle when Jean-Sun Hannah Ahn’s past came back to haunt her.
The 22-year-old who grew up in Mukilteo had slammed the gray, soggy Seattle weather and the city’s annoying people through Twitter posts, or tweets. The tweets had been made three months before she became Miss Seattle.
“I was venting my emotions and feelings,” Ahn said on Friday following a presentation she gave to a room full of students about social media responsibility.
Those seemingly innocent remarks were picked up by KIRO FM radio and posted on a station blog. Once that happened, Ahn’s disparaging posts went viral.
Since then, Ahn has publicly apologized for her tweets.
Ahn said she was missing the sunny weather in Phoenix, where she attended Arizona State University and was crowned Miss Phoenix. The slam against Seattle’s “annoying” people wasn’t about anyone in particular.
“I wasn’t thinking before I was posting,” she said. “I wasn’t in the right mind set.”
Ahn is turning her public pitfall into a learning experience.
“I realized by hiding nothing would be solved,” she said.
On Friday she visited her former school, Soundview School, an International Baccalaureate private school in Lynnwood that serves students from preschool through eighth grade.
At Soundview, it’s important for students to learn how to reflect on things they’ve done and said, said spokeswoman Jessica Burns.
“Miss Seattle is a wonderful example of reflecting and taking a negative and turning it into a positive experience,” Burns said.
Sporting her pageant sash, Ahn gave a presentation “THINK Before You Post” to a room filled with Soundview students and staff.
“Everything and anything you post online is forever,” she said.
THINK stands for truthful, helpful, inspiring, needed and kind to remind people to make sure their online posts fall under those adjectives.
She reminded students to consider their future. College admissions officers and employers use social media sites to help them decide to accept a candidate based on their posts and photos.
“Social media has taken our society by storm,” she said after the presentation. “Young people need to be careful.”
She said you can be true to yourself but try keeping posts positive and your audience in mind before posting as everyone has access to the internet including your future employer or boss.
“You are branding yourself,” she said.
She is vying to compete in the Miss Washington pageant this July and continues to advocate for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. She encouraged students to “Like” her on Facebook so they can follow her journey as Miss Seattle.
“I hope they look at their social media sites more closely and ask, ‘Would I want my parents or other relatives to see?’”
When asked how many students have Facebook and Twitter accounts, a sparse number of hands went up in the crammed room.
Some students don’t see the appeal to sharing their personal life.
“I don’t have a Facebook page,” said Chris Wright, 13. “I don’t want people to know what I’m doing and see what I did when I was young and stupid.”