Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So—have you cleaned things up on Facebook yet?

By: Patrick J. O'Connor, Ph.D.

One of the biggest challenges students face is understanding how, when, and where to share personal information with others. This is an ongoing developmental issue, one that became both clearer and more important with the advent of social networks.

Once MySpace and Facebook went viral, students and adults started talking about all kinds of things with all kinds of people—including perfect strangers, potential employers, and college admission offices. The results have sometimes been disastrous: college students who lose internships because of party pictures; athletes who let off steam about their coach on Facebook and lose their scholarship the next day; finalists for jobs who lose out because they showed a little too much of their personal lives for all the world to see.

It’s true employers have more time to Facebook hunt than colleges, but students applying to college—especially the current juniors—need to hear the importance of this message in language they can relate to. To that end, this counselor rap was produced—spread the word, dog!

(Based on a true story that happened somewhere else.)

Joanna thought she was all that
She knew she was a winner;
A 3.9, a 32
The gal was no beginner!
Took 5 APs and tutored too
Her homework was a snap
Spent most nights on the Facebook page
Just dishin’ out some smack
She posted pix of homecoming
Her folks would see as knockouts
But dog, they’d never seen them, since
Her FB page was blocked out

You can’t imagine her surprise
When counselor said “Yo lady,
I got a call from East Coast U
The news will make ya crazy!
The U was ready to admit
When in arrived their intern
‘The buzz is all on FB, man,
These pics will make your hands burn.’
The intern loaded up the page
Of some homecoming hijinx
And in the photo, there was you--
Which made our rep do eye blinks.

“They saw your pictures once or twice
And thought they’d overlook it
But then they read your Facebook smack
And that’s what really cooked it.
Your essays were all erudite
And very nicely tailored
But then they saw the real you
Has language like a sailor.
They read your app and loved you girl,
It’s you they were admittin’,
But now they said they just can’t take
A profane party kitten.”
So dudes and dudettes, hear me out,
Few colleges go lookin’,
But if FB vibes come their way
That just can’t be mistooken
Your full ride dough, your dream admit
Are goin’ down the tank, sir
And all because you tried to be
A bad-selfed Facebook gangsta!

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