I recently saw the horror satire flick Scream 4 (or stylishly written SCRE4M) and it brought up some good points about social networking. In the opening scene, two girls discuss Facebook and how information can be made available to others, including strangers. One of the girls wishes to stay Facebook friends with a stalker-esque guy because his profile picture is good looking, highlighting how our online lives have almost become our prostheses. Your online behavior can determine what happens to you in real life, and your profile reflects your personality. In today’s day, the saying “the friends you keep” has a new meaning.
When it comes to college admissions, Facebook is playing an increasingly important role. Admissions officers try to determine many things about you from your Facebook page. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Try not to have angry, hateful, or overly negative comments. This includes your wall, comments on others’ profiles, and statuses. Try not to complain about teachers, colleges, activities, or school in general. The occasional “It sucks to have a lot of homework” is okay but blaming a teacher like “Mrs. X is so annoying and gives way too much work” could go against you. The same rules apply to college admissions. Try not to post things like “I hate waiting so long to hear from Somewhere University” and instead try “I can’t wait to hear where I’m going next year.” Negativity can come across as whiny or even rude.
Be careful with the type of photos you want available to others. Try playing with your privacy settings to see which photos you want public, and also untag yourself from photos that make you uncomfortable. You can play it safe by keeping all photos private and only sharing photos with friends. Another thing to keep in mind is the profile picture. Silly and fun profile pictures can be entertaining and display your fun side to those scouring your profile. These pictures can make you seem friendly and approachable, which is always a good thing. Clean and sophisticated profile pictures can make you seem mature and polished. However, try to avoid profile pictures that do not look like clean fun. Avoid questionable clothing or obscene gestures.
Just like your photos, other parts of your profile should look like clean fun. Some apps on Facebook can be questionable. Show your fun side by “Liking” your favorite books, movies, and TV shows. Also try to show colleges your intellectual side by clicking “Like” on some classic books or something unique like jazz music. Also try to list your activities like volunteer work and such under Activities in Personal Info. A big catch can often be Quotations. Many people put up funny quotes by friends, but try not to put up anything with profanity. Don’t show yourself or your friends in a bad light.
Just remember that whatever you put up on the internet doesn’t go away. Colleges can find it if they want, so you want your Facebook to reflect the best of you. The internet can work for you or against you; it’s up to you to decide.