Old Dogs, New Tricks

A blog for non-traditional students

To Facebook Or Not To Facebook

I’m in a quandary.  It seems like I’m being left behind by the waves of people flocking to Facebook as the new way to interact with each other.  Not that this is tremendously surprising – I never got around to making a MySpace page either.   One of the reasons I’m reluctant to join the masses is that some employers now check Facebook and MySpace for potential employees and can use what they find there as a reason to not hire you.  Of course, at the age of 33 and being a Christian single mother, the odds of my having anything objectionable on my page would be minimal.  It’s not like I’m a party animal or an exhibitionist so I’m not likely to have a lot of pictures of myself stumbling drunk or, um…, stark naked.

I also worry that maybe it seems like I’m too old for this sort of thing.  I mean, Facebook originally started out as a social networking site for college students.  Okay, so I am a college student, but as a non-traditional, I often feel like I’m not really a part of college life.  It sort of feels like I can label myself as college student, but it’s just some sort of subtle fib based on a technicality.  But I guess the whole issue is moot now that Facebook is open to and used by all kinds of people.

Then there’s the whole issue of who I might find – or who might find me – if I put myself out there.  My best friend of nearly 20 years just created a Facebook page and while she’s enjoying connecting with her friends, she’s gotten scoped out by people she isn’t even sure if she knows, and certainly doesn’t remember – like people we went to high school with.  She sent me a text message the other night asking me if we knew this woman who had requested to be added to her friends (or however that works) – while the name was vaguely familiar, I couldn’t place her so it makes me wonder who would search me out there.  On the other end of the spectrum is the possibility of finding people who have disappeared from my life over the years, only to discover something totally shocking about them.  For instance, again relying on my friend’s new adventures, she looked up my (nominal) boyfriend who moved to Missouri last March to take care of his ailing father.  I haven’t heard from the guy in months, and since we were together for seven years, my family and friends (both his and mine) frequently ask me how he’s doing.  Well, thanks to my friend, I finally have an answer to that question:  He’s freaking married!!!  Without so much as a note saying “Let’s see other people” or even “I’ve found someone else and I’m getting married.”  I feel vaguely like I’ve been kicked in the stomach and a little bit betrayed – saying nothing for how my family, particularly my parents, feel.

So, while I feel like it’s nearly expected of me to follow the lemming-like stream of people to Facebook, I’m left wondering if it’s a great idea for me personally.  I admit that on those few occasions when I’ve looked up someone on Facebook, I was annoyed that I couldn’t view more of their pages.  So maybe I’ll go ahead and jump off the proverbial cliff and create a page/site/whatever – I just hope the leap works out better for me than it does for the lemmings.

*** Danielle

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February 28, 2009 - Posted by | Technology

4 Comments »

  1. […] The Phantom Tollbooth’s News added an interesting post today on To Facebook Or Not To FacebookHere’s a small reading…use what they find there as a reason to not hire you.  Of course, at the age of 33 and being a BChristian/B single mother, the odds of my having… […]

    Pingback by Topics about Christian life and Bible readings » Archive » To Facebook Or Not To Facebook | February 28, 2009

  2. Unless someone tags a photo of you doing kegstands, the only stuff potential employers will find is what *you* put out there. Which can be as little or as much as you want. You can also adjust privacy settings (though I’ve heard of some companies paying to circumvent this).

    Cin Weekly actually did a good piece about this a while ago:
    http://cinweekly.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090113/COV/901140315/1076/LIFE07

    Personally, the most damning stuff on my profile is the fact that I vote Democrat, wear drag queen-like costumes on Halloween, and sometimes drink alcohol (I’m holding a bottle of Mike’s Hard in a picture somebody else posted).

    Also, keep in mind that Facebook can also be used as a networking tool. For example, Elissa Sonnenburg sometimes uses it to post opportunities for j-majors. And there are many profiles where the photo is of someone in a business jacket, and you can see their entire work history (resume) under the Info tab. Though it’s often a liability, you can make a Facebook page that will look good to employers.

    Anyway, if you join Facebook, be sure to add me as a friend.

    Comment by Eliz. Lasky | February 28, 2009

  3. Great blog and hope to have some time soon to come back and read more!

    Comment by Katie | February 28, 2009

  4. So, Elizabeth, what you are saying is that if I don’t let anyone take my picture I ought to be fine? Works for me – since the most recent pictures of me (except for the one the main page of the blog, courtesy of my son) are from about 1996 – at my wedding. I gave up photos after that.

    *** Danielle

    Comment by daniellefrink | March 2, 2009


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