Tech-savvy generation faces new challenges in real world


Editorial Board

Issue: Employers and law enforcement are increasingly using Facebook for a multitude of reasons. From tracking the biggest parties in the area to getting dirt on a potential employee, there are plenty of inherent risks in using social networking sites.

Being a college student in 2008 is a brave new world of technology. Instead of having a solitary touch-tone phone in a dorm, many live with large LCD TVs with the latest video gaming systems. Such “low tech” devices such as fridges and microwaves were unheard of 30 years ago. Now, with options like Hot Pockets, World of Warcraft and online classes, students rarely need to leave their room. Truly, it is a brave new world.

Not only does it seems quaint to opine about life before the computer and the Internet, it’s hard for current SDSU students to remember what came before Napster and MySpace. The amount of information and entertainment accessible is staggering, especially with the rise of eponymous sites like Facebook. Many students consider their Facebook profile an extension of oneself. However philosophical the use of Facebook has become, it’s not a good idea to post those pictures from last week’s raging kegger. The information is not automatically blocked from moms, professors and law enforcement.

The bottom line is only upload photos of good taste. If drinking buddies tag photos of downtown escapades, untag yourself and feel safe knowing it won’t cost a job. However, if you still want to revel in the morally questionable and social distasteful, use Facebook’s ample and powerful privacy tools. Blocking everyone but the closest of friends ensures that the right information stays with the right people. Did you add your co-workers from your summer internship? If you use Facebook Friend Lists, you can pool them together and systematically eliminate awkward photo comments. In no way do we endorse anything illegal or unsafe, but even the most mild and well-intended photo can compromise the hard work given during a college career.

Along with photos, tools like Facebook Events can ruin a good reputation. Posting the huge party on Friday night on Events and inviting everyone at SDSU will be a huge red flag for cops looking for large groups of underage drinkers. More and more universities and members of law enforcement are using Facebook to target partying.

Don’t forget that profile pages can highlight the good things. Posting work examples and adding non-offensive applications can highlight the positive (and hirable) aspects of a person. The activities and interests fields are not only for your favorite drinking games, but also for what make you a valued member of society.

The best solution to save future headaches is to abide by the law and don’t put yourself at risk. Facebook has radically changed college campuses and its intricate social fabric. It seems completely well in taste to post photos of people in comprising positions for all to enjoy. Our generation is exceedingly more technologically savvy compared to those before. Students need to be accountable for the information they place on the Internet and know the consequences. There is no excuse for not doing the extra work to ensure the best image of you is available on the Internet.

Stance: Facebook profiles can feature the best – and worst – of a student’s college career and impact their future in many ways. Utilizing the available privacy options and a little common sense is not only advised but almost required in our current culture.