March 9, 2011

Say Cheese! You’re on Facebook!

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 11:48 am

By Haley Cator

As Facebook’s popularity increases, we need to be careful as to what information we make public because businesses, schools, and our families are responding to it.  We also need to realize that others can see our information and know that it may be used to help or harm us.  A comment on a thread of the Huffington Post states, “If you publicly post embarrassing things about yourself, don’t be surprised when they come back to haunt you.”

John Hechinger writes that no company wants to hire a person who is willing to publicize the fact that they’re drunk every night because that may diminish the “core values of the corporation.”  On the other hand, he also reports that one woman would rather not see that side of the applicant, but does that result in a fault of the company?  If someone is posting pictures of their self holding a gun and the company chooses to ignore that, then that could turn into a huge problem of which could have been avoided.

Also, Alan Finder writes that no school wants to admit a student who laughs at their arrest.  When it comes to scholarships, one counselor said that, “No one wants to be on the front page of the newspaper for giving a scholarship to a murderer.”  Because insight like this is now public to the whole world, schools are being very cautious about admissions to protect themselves.  Not every school uses Facebook as an admissions tool, but the ones that do are weeding out the people who do not uphold the characteristics of which the school wants to display. In fact, a Kaplan survey recorded that of the schools that use Facebook, 38% of them said that it “negatively affected” their attitude towards the applicant.  This staggering statistic should open the eyes of young people who use Facebook in order to urge them to revise their public page.

            Along with businesses and schools, parents and other family members are now using Facebook.  Actually, more than half of all users are now over the age of 25 and out of college, which is the parental range.  One journalist interviewed several people whose parents are on Facebook, and their responses were surprising.  Most of them don’t mind their parents being on Facebook, but they also don’t allow them to see their entire page.  “Students say a little fiddling with the privacy controls, and those pictures from Saturday [night never] existed.”

Because Facebook used to be strictly for college students and is now open to the general public, it went from being a private space to a public chat room. “It’s like having [my parents] walk into my room,” one girl says.  This has created some potential problems between the parents and the kids, but some of them are now, “used to it.”  For those who are still upset, one man suggests that there are rules set in place- not for the students’ behavior, but for the parents’ once they’re online.

            Conclusively, we all need to be careful about what information we’re making public on Facebook because it could affect the way businesses, schools, and our families view our behavior and result in negative outcomes.


  1. Katherine Martin

    I srtongly agree with the arguments you made in your post. I think that a lot of young adults today are not thinking about the consequences when they post pictures and comments on facebook. I think the major reason for this is that people think the only people seeing their posts are their friends, who are most likely similar to themself and would not judge the person posting. The reality is that people who do not know you or even do not like you can see what your posting and will judge you, more quickly than they would if they had a conversation with you. Everyone acts differnt in their private lives and among friend than they do around everyone else, so I think that people should not “friend” people on facebook who aren’t there really close friends. I wonder what people are suppossed to do who change their privacy settings, but are still penalized for what they used to have up because companies can see those posts too. I think that the permanance of facebook is really scary and has caused me to consider deleting mine.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  2. Ryan Bear

    I believe the issues discussed in your blog not only have a heavy presence lately in society, but also present difficulties with job security. Now a days the first thing that an employer does when someone submits their application is copy and paste their name into Facebook and find out all they can about the potential employee. You make a very valid point when you say that no one is going to hire some one who has a Facebook with hundreds of drunken photos and the such. And just because you shouldn’t post pictures of yourself partying on Facebook if your looking for a job doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t party at all, it just means that everyone can see you drunk on the kitchen floor when you upload them. The same kind of principle applies to those who may already have a job or some other obligation where moral responsibilities are expected to be upheld, because lets face it, if your boss sees pictures of you participating in suspicious activity so can everyone else and no employer wants potential customers to see their employees in the back of a police car on Facebook. Overall I really like the ideas that you bring up and the awareness you are trying to bring to others with a Facebook.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  3. I agree that people need to be more cautious about what they put on Facebook and who they allow to see it, but I think you are being a little judgmental. Maybe you come from an urban background where guns a equated to crime, but in my experiences, guns are simply a hobby, used for target practice or hunting much more often than as a criminal tool. If someone put a picture of themselves holding a gun on Facebook and is refused a job because of that, I would find that ridiculous (provided that the gun is not pointed at a hostage or something like that). It is impossible to use Facebook without giving the viewer some idea of your private life, but people who don’t know you could interpret the information you post in any number of ways. They can’t get a full picture of your life, so a lot of it will be left to their imaginations, and whatever they imagine is not a valid reason to hire or not hire someone. The safest thing to do is probably change your privacy settings so that only friends can see your account, but I don’t think that it is reasonable for companies or schools to assess applicants based on Facebook.

    Ethan Hollingsworth

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  4. Julie Whalen

    While it is very important to be careful about what you put on Facebook, I think it is more important that people pay attention to their privacy settings and who can or cannot see their page. With heavy privacy settings in place schools and corporations can not access the page beyond maybe the user’s profile picture. Facebook tends to show people at their worst. At least, that has been my experience. Part of that is because friends can put pictures of you from Saturday night without needing your permission or approval, and then, even if you untag yourself, they’re there forever. So people, especially young people trying to find jobs, need to be extra careful not only about what they put on their page but also what ther people post about them. Again, this can be hidden from any non-friend with the right privacy settings.
    Also, I would hope that companies can realize that pictures posted on a site like Facebook probably do not portray the applicant in the manner that they would act while at work. There are different sides to every person, and work-sides and Saturday-night-sides are very different.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  5. David Luken

    I agree with Bear; you bring up a very important point on being aware of what we put on Facebook, because to some people such as employers it is a digital display of who we are as a person. I believe this is sad because Facebook can take the place of first impression with some people or can be a tool people to use to make a decision on the character of the person. I had a friend who had a Facebook account in high school that he rarely updated. A girl that he met at a dance judged him negatively afterwards based on his outdated profile picture in which he did not look his finest. And while we should be aware of what we put on Facebook, we don’t have control over others if they decide to take out there phones and take a picture of our drunken debauchery. I feel that for this reason companies and other organizations should not place as much weight on what gets posted online because we may have had full intentions of partying discretely. I feel that overall people put too much emphasis on Facebook and not enough on who the person truly is.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  6. I definitely agree with your arguement that people need to be more careful with what they post onto Facebook. I have seen countless examples of people who have gotten into trouble based on their Facebook profile pages. During my senior year, a group of girls got suspended after a teacher saw pictures of the girls drinking at Prom plastered all over Facebook. Also, my sister’s boyfriend who runs a chain of hotels, always complains about having to fire good employees after finding inappropriate posts and pictures on their profile pages. Though he did not want to fire them, he had to keep in mind the fact that these employees represent his hotels and their negative actions could have negative consequences for his business. People really need to keep in mind that though they use Facebook to stay in touch with their close friends, the information is available to all of the public. If they refuse to give up actively using their profile then another alternative could be to change their name on Facebook. For example, my sister and her friends changed their names on their profiles when they were applying to medical schools.

    However, I do agree with the point that Julie made about how there are different sides to people. Many people, including myself, live by the motto “Work hard, Play hard”. That does not mean though that it is necessary to post your personal activities to a largely public website. Employers and schools have a right to fully research the people they are hiring and accepting.

    -Devina Mehta

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  7. Samantha Lieberman

    I agree with your argument in this blog, people need to be aware of what they post on facebook. While facebook is a great place for communication with people and their friends, it is important to realize that the information you are putting out there for your friends to see can be viewed by everyone because you are submitting it to the internet. What is put on facebook can affect your life. I’ve seen it happen at my high school and with my friends and certain jobs or colleges they wanted to get into. Anyone can access your information that you put onto facebook, even with the privacy settings that you may have on your profile. If you are going to have a facebook, just be more aware of what you post on there because the truth is is that it really does affect your life.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 10, 2011 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  8. I agree with everything that you argued in your post. I think that teenagers and college students should be careful in what they post on the internet. When looking at many teenagers profiles, there are many that have pictures of alcohol and parties and I think that this can really hurt future opportunities. There are many instances in which people have lost their scholarships or have been suspended because of pictures posted on Facebook. I do however think that this is a breach on privacy. I don’t think that employers should have the right to do this because people’s personal lives can be totally different from their work life. Just because you party on the weekends, it doesn’t mean that you will not have good work ethic or have good academics. I know people that party every weekend and still keep their grades high.

    Although I think it is a breach on privacy I still think that people should be careful about what they post. When I use Facebook, sometimes I even think twice before I update a status because I know that my uncle and aunts have Facebooks. I don’t think that something like an album or a comment should be able to hurt your chances for something you work hard for. Therefore I think it is really important to watch what you put on Facebook!

    – Chamilka Gunasekera

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

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