It's What You Make of It
Facebook was intended to be a social networking site between friends of a similar age.
The Berlin wall was never intended to fall; the Ozone layer was intended to withstand anything, and any written word ever published was intended to be read. However, intentions are not permanent or withstanding, and Facebook is no longer for people your age.
Your high school teachers may not have been on Facebook, but your college professors will be. If you participate in class, and they remember your name; then they might even friend request you on Facebook. This does not have to be an ominous email of a professor looking to see what you’re like outside of the third row, last seat on the left, in economics. It could just mean your professor wants to add you to his/her line of communication.
Facebook can be networking. It’s not Linkedin or other professional networking sites, but you can use Facebook to your advantage, as long as your status is not about how your professors’ eyebrow(s) strongly resembles a plump furry caterpillar. If you keep your Facebook site clean; then you can friend your professor, and he/she is now an extended form of contact. You can even write on your professor’s wall, inquiring about future internships or jobs. You could even ask him/her what that economics equation was. Your professor would be humored by that. Also, if you deny your professor’s friend request, he/she will wonder why.
Your professor could be a person you get to know outside of the classroom better. College professors love to interact with students on personal levels. Facebook could be a great way for your professors to get to know you better. This professor could be your direct line into the Human Resources department of a company in your field. Your professor might even be Facebook friends with HR people. You, as a college student, could even friend a HR person, granting you a great contact into his/her company. You could even send them messages and tell them you know professor so-and-so. This could give you a huge advantage for landing a job or internship.
These opportunities are prevalent if your Facebook is kept clean. Clean is broad term, and depending on what field you’re in and what companies you are looking at clean is a very broad term. Not all of your pictures have to be of you doing community service or rescuing lost, wounded puppies. They can be of you playing sports in high school or hanging out with your friends. Your pictures could even be of you wearing your 10-sizes-too-small Batman Halloween Costume that you recycled from Halloween 1998.
Don’t be afraid to show a little personality with your Facebook page and your pictures. Not every picture has to depict you in a highly professional manner. You can even show what you do with your social life. However, Facebook is not just for your friends anymore. Some of your professors will see your Facebook page, and some of your future employers will be looking at is as well, and it could affect their decisions.
Facebook is no longer just for college and high school students. It is growing to everyone and anyone. Fortune 500 companies have Facebook pages, and their top executives have pages too. Your parents and professors probably are probably already on it as well.
Essentially, we are not trying to scare you into eliminating your Facebook page or removing most of its content. However, some content could be detrimental to your success as it might show your professors and future employers’ “who you really are.” Your Facebook page is what you make of it. If you keep it clean, then it can help you network through professors and other professional friends. But, if you don’t monitor your page it could be detrimental, and it could even keep you from attaining a great job or internship.
The internet is a public medium, and Facebook’s firewall settings that allow only your Facebook friends to see your profile are no obstacle for people who really want to know more about you. Ultimately, if you don’t want your professors or other people to see certain aspects of your life, then don’t put those aspects on Facebook.