Using Facebook & Other Social Networking Sites
In the evolving face of technology today, college students use forums such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in ever increasing numbers. These internet sites provide great opportunities to its users to socially connect with other students and to establish networks that are far reaching and limitless. However like all great things, using social media has its foibles. The following is a list that you need to think carefully about when using online social networking sites.
- Do take advantage of the opportunities presented by social media. The ability to connect and interact with people who share your interests is a unique and important experience.
- Don’t get comfortable behind perceived anonymity. What you post online and how you conduct yourself is public information. Just take a look at some of the horror stories told by users who have been turned down for prospective jobs or hauled in front of a judiciary committee because of inappropriate or illegal activity posted on their Facebook pages or other sites.
- Do realize that you can be sued for making inaccurate or slanderous remarks about someone on Facebook. As stated previously, the information you are posting on these forums is open to the public.
- Do think before you post something about yourself that can be misconstrued by people reading it. Remember that people will have an immediate impression of you based on what they read on your site. Is what you have on your site describing the real you? Would you want a prospective employer, faculty member or even someone you have a secret crush on to have a negative impression of you based on an impulsive picture or posting you put into Facebook? Think carefully about identity theft and news stories concerning cyber-stalking.
- Do make sure you realize how incredibly difficult it is to remove a posting made public, and later captured by search engines and other emerging online technology. Will my posting live with me for life? Possibly.
- Do change your default passwords for online course registration, Baruch e-mail, and campus computer login as soon as you get them! Default passwords are sometimes based on personal information, like birthdays, that are also shared in online communities. By sharing your personal information in online communities you may be giving others access to your personal records. In fact, give some thought as to whether you want to share personal information like your birth date with all of your Facebook “friends”.
- Do take advantage of the social networking offered by AirBaruch, but remember that the same cautions apply as when you become a member of other online networks.
Finally, we wish to remind you that Facebook – and other sites like it – are tools. Their primary purpose is to provide a forum for social discourse. As such, their use should not be abused. Baruch College does not tolerate the use of these forums to hurt, abuse, attack or cast slurs upon other members of the Baruch community. As a Baruch student it is expected that you adhere to the standards of student conduct set forth in the College Handbook. Respect for fellow students is paramount in helping to establish a strong and just community where conflict may be resolved in an open and accepting venue. Facebook and other social networking sites, even with all of their uses, cannot offer this.
Some ideas for this document were based on “Thoughts on Facebook”, a publication issued by the Cornell University Office of Information Technologies.