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Facebook. Yup, it’s all over the news, has been for months, and I’m way behind on saying my piece on it. Back in 2004, before the site was popular and had just begun sending out its first e-mails, I was interviewed by the college paper about it. If I can ever get the PDF of the article, I’ll make sure to post it here. The general gist of what I said went along the lines of “Be cautious what you put out on the web. You don’t know who these people are and you don’t know what they plan on doing with your information.” I figured it was a scam. Guess not.
Not a week goes by though that I don’t see a story about someone getting in trouble for what they’ve put up on Facebook. Job applicants, criminals, etc. Makes me sigh oh-so-much. Being that I work at a college, I often see what students put up there (Facebook is often their home page). I do my best not to judge, but sometimes it’s quite hard.
Do I keep tabs on my students workers? Yes and No. When I have someone that misses a shift or is absent without any notice, I’ll check their Facebook page. They may not call me, but 9 times out of 10, they’ll update their page. If I see “Bob hates being sick”, I’ll know why they’re gone.
Do I check when a student applies to work for me? No. A lot of these kids are just that – kids. Barely out of their teens. Let them make their mistakes without someone wailing on them.
Do I check Facebook on a personal basis? Not a great deal. Originally, I made an account for the sole purpose of keeping my students from making one for me. Yeah, back then, I could see them doing that as a joke. I might check it every few weeks.
As of late though, I’ve found myself on there every few days. It seems like a lot of my High school friends are up there. It’s been fun checking into their lives and seeing how they are doing. I still hesitate to put up too much. A few harmless pictures, a little background info. I don’t communicate much because to be honest, after fifteen years, how easy is it to jump right back in? I’ll ease into it over time.
Five years after that first interview, I’ll admit I was off base. Facebook isn’t a scam, but I stand by most of those comments. Use that head on your shoulders before you share too much with the world. I’m a reasonable person. That person that’s considering offering you a job? Maybe not so much.