The Era of Facebook
We have always been told not to judge a book by its cover; however with the recent popularity in social mediums such as Facebook, that is exactly what we are doing. Facebook only gives a partial glimpse into someone’s life.
With the increasing amount of online communication, the amount of judgment based on these profiles also increase. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, one of the largest and most popular social networking sites; although anyone can use Facebook, originally intended for college students. Facebook changes the college experience and offers many new opportunities for these young adults; however not everything that Facebook has to offer benefits them. At the very beginning of the college process, Facebook helps incoming freshman get integrated and meet their future classmates before they even step foot on campus. Students often “like” the Facebook page for their incoming class once they get accepted into the college of their choice.
On this page, students can talk to one another, meet people with similar interests, and above all find the all important roommate. Hands shaking and forehead sweating, students would nervously await meeting their roommates on move-in day before Facebook since they knew nothing about them. With these advances in technology, students can communicate with one another and find someone who suites them well and then select them as their roommate for the upcoming year. Not only can Facebook act as an online dating system for finding a roommate, but it can also serve as the perfect rolodex for the new people you will meet in college. Moving from a high school where you have grown up your whole life with your classmates to an enormous college campus with thousands of new faces is a very daunting experience.
Joey Feeney, a sophomore at The University of Iowa, said, “When I was a freshman, I always went on Facebook and added any new people that I met that night right when I got home.” Keeping all of your new friends straight now seems impossible without the use of Facebook. In addition to helping keep track of new friends, Facebook allows for students to easily stay in touch with their old high school friends. Students can go onto their old friends profiles and see all of their photos and see how they are doing. Many college students use Facebook as a cure for homesickness.
If a student starts to miss their hometown, they are just a click away from all of their old friends and can scour through old pictures from the times they shared together. Before Facebook, class reunions served as the only way to reconnect with your high school classmates; however now classmates can remain constantly connected. Facebook can potentially help students not only socially, but also in the classroom. Professors commonly assign group projects that require work outside of class. Facebook makes it extremely easy for students to get ahold of one another and communicate even if they do not know one another. For example, I asked sophomore Sammie Kovalsky if she uses Facebook for academic purposes.
She replied, “I definitely use Facebook to help with my school work. For one of my projects I was assigned to work with someone who I did not know very well. Of course we put the project off until the last minute and when it came time to start working on it neither of us knew the others phone number so we had to use Facebook to get ahold of one another. We did not have enough time to meet and we were both very busy so we used file sharing to send our project between each other. This allowed us to make changes and work on our project together without even meeting in person. Facebook eliminates the inconveniences of group projects.
” Another benefit of Facebook academically is that you can create groups. In these groups, you can add as many people as you want to them, post questions, and upload documents that only people in the group can see. This benefits college students because they can participate in groups for each of their classes and they can ask questions if they do not understand the homework or need help with something that they went over in class. Many students take notes on computers, so if a student, sick and motionless, misses class, they can use these Facebook groups to ask someone for the notes of what they went over in class to help them catch up. On a Facebook profile page, users constantly upload pictures of where they go, how they spend their free time, and who they hang out with. This seemingly harmless feature possesses very harmful and dangerous potential when getting a job in the future.
It is very common among employers to look at a prospective employee’s Facebook page before offering them a job. You can tell a lot about a person by their Facebook page because you can see who they associate themselves with and what sort of things they do in their free time. An employer may be reluctant to offer someone a job if they have pictures of underage drinking throughout college. I asked Paul Golec, a small business owner, if he looks at interviewer’s Facebook profiles before offering them a job. He replied, “I absolutely look into people’s Facebook pages.
If someone looks like they are a crazy partier then I do not want them working for me. Usually people who stay out late and party are not as focused during the work day.” Most college students know that their Facebook pages can potentially hold them back from getting them a job in the future but many choose to ignore this fact. Misleading its users, Facebook gives the illusion that you can simply delete your pictures off the internet with a few clicks of the mouse; however these pictures are very permanent. Employers have software that allows them to see all of the photos and posts on your Facebook profile from the present and the past.
Students think that as long as that they “clean up” their profiles and “delete” their bad photos then they have nothing to worry about; although this is not the case. To combat this, some students create aliases for themselves on Facebook so they become unsearchable. Among Facebook users, common aliases include: using their real first name and their middle name as their last name, slightly misspelling your first or last name, and using a nickname. Using an alias may make it difficult for your friends to find you online because everyone assumes that you use your real name. Constant advances in our nation’s technology creates an ever-changing environment for people of all ages. The creation of Facebook brings new opportunities to college students and used correctly, comes with many advantages.
Users often dismiss the dangers of these new social media websites and this can potentially keep them from getting their dream job; however all failures of Facebook can be solved by simply remembering to not judge a book by its cover.