Thanks to social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, spring break has longevity. Sharing photos and updates of where you are not only keeps an online timeline of your trip, but keeps the excitement of a carefree spring break alive.
There are even accounts dedicated to reporting solely on spring break news: where the parties are and where to stay.
On Twitter, search the words "spring break" and most of the accounts are linked to Panama City's famous spring break. But as South Walton grows in spring break popularity, it has garnered more attention online too. Both Twitter accounts, Seaside Make outs (@SeasideHookupss) and Springbreakcountdown (@SB2K14countdow) have a photo of the Obe Pavilion in Seaside as their avatars.
While some students aim to vacation in new territories, Johnny Harrison Jr., 20, sports management major at University of Florida, looks forward to coming home to South Walton every spring break.
"It is truly one of the most unique places in Florida, let alone the United States," he said. "We are home to the nicest beaches in Florida. You also have the opportunity to drive a short stretch to Panama City Beach and experience the wild spring break atmosphere or you can stay local on 30A and just relax with yards of sand to yourself."
While Harrison does not consider himself and over-sharer on the internet, he keeps up with several social media platforms and utilizes them while on vacation.
"They allow me to keep up with who is in town visiting and where they might be for the day," he said.
Since Walton County declared to become more aggressive with rowdy spring breakers last year, the content shared on social media isn't always pretty beach pictures.
Spring Breakers Gone to Jail was a short-lived Facebook page that shared mug shots of breakers arrested in Walton County. Pictures included a caption that poked fun at the individual. The page reached about 3,000 likes, but was banned by Facebook, saying it was classified as “hate speech.” The page’s creators have appealed the ban.
"The page was created in order to bring to light to what spring breakers are doing to our beaches and community," said the page's creator who wished to remain anonymous. "It was meant to connect these misdeeds with faces and bring shame to the groups of people that are responsible for trashing our beaches."
The goal of the page was to also pass shame along to the southeast colleges where most breakers go to school.
"I believe the reason they act out like this is because they see no immediate repercussion and I hope to change that."
On the enforcement side, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office makes use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to share spring break related arrest reports.
"Social media is an excellent tool the Sheriff’s Office uses to be proactive, to keep the community informed and to stay on top of potential public safety issues during Spring break," said Catherine Rodriguez, public information officer at WCSO.
Rodriguez says that deputies even use social media to locate popular spring break hangouts. On the flipside however, with just one post, breakers can warn their friends of police proximity.
"These past two years have been noticeably stricter than we as locals have ever been used to," said Harrison. "I sent many of texts, phone calls, and messages to my friends regarding where the police are posted at. A warning call can be the difference between my friends having to spend hundreds of dollars over a minor in possession charge or even booked to jail."
When the party's over and co-eds have to go back to school, the fun they shared online can follow them longer than they'd like. Nowadays, it's common for employers to view a potential candidate's Facebook page to look for incriminating information, which is why Harrison stays relatively quiet online.
"Spring break is traditionally filled with your house and condo parties on the beach with an abundance of underage drinking," he said. "The idea of posting these pictures for the internet to see is not a novel one, but a popular one indeed. Although many do not find it a big issue with posting these photos now, their real issues might come in to play in five years when the job/career search begins."