My clients encouraged me to join Facebook, and I have to admit I enjoy posting photos or articles as well as scrolling through my newsfeed. While I was initially skeptical of Facebook, I can see that this mode of staying in touch allows for continued current awareness of what people we care about are doing and thinking about, whether they are friends we see routinely or those further away.
The New York Times (11/10/13 article by Natasha Singer) reports that there are perils in Facebook and other social media usage for students applying to college or who are looking for jobs. Kaplan Test Prep reported that a poll in which 381 college admission directors participated indicated that 33% had reviewed students’ social media sites as part of their admission process. Colgate University’s (NY) director of admission indicated that this institution had once rescinded a student’s admission for a based on information gleaned from social media, and confirmed, about that student’s alcohol abuse. Pitzer College (CA) reported that one of their own undergraduates had forwarded to the admissions office posts by a prospective applicant which denigrated a high school teacher. That student was also not admitted.
While college admission offices clearly do not have the luxury of hiring a staff member simply to trawl social media sights frequented by applicants, students need to be fully aware that once something is posted, they have lost control of that image or commentary— forever.
Informed Educational Solutions advises its students to: 1) scour their Facebook profile, photos, and posts, and delete anything that is even remotely questionable; 2) unfriend anyone who posts lewd, rascist, or other inappropriate images or commentary; 3) take a close look at their Instagram and Pintarest posts, if used; 4) pretend every tweet it being read by a favorite high school teacher; and 5) maintain an mail address that is mature and appropriate for ANYONE to see (that means no: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).