Students Comment on Facebook

Students Comment on Facebook

As part of the research conducted for the story Yada Yada Nada? that appears in the March issue of University Business (www.universitybusiness.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=706), Students were asked about Facebook. Here is what they said.

Q: How did you react when Facebook opened membership to the world beyond students?

"I do not feel that Facebook made a wise decision when it began allowing college administrators (and future employers) onto the network. When you hear about employers using Facebook as a resource when they are considering someone for employment, it definitely has lost its appeal to me."

"My use of Facebook didn't change. But my appreciation for it did change, because I think it was a better thing when it was more exclusive."

"I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it enough to want to stop using it. It is way too much fun to think that people are looking at me and paying attention to me in their free time. But I hate it when people I don't know very well try to add me as a friend, or write on my wall, or pretend that we like each other. These profiles are primarily for the friends of those who created them. Anyone else is just not invited."

"It's nice to be able to have high school friends on there, but I don't think its right for faculty and administration. Professors and faculty are seen as our 'elders' that we are to look up to, and they should not be trying to be like us or relate to us through the internet. I know I have a friend on Facebook who works at the college and every once in a while she'll send pictures I put up to my mom or tell my mom what kind of comments I get, and personally, I just find that a bit strange and unprofessional."

Q: What do you like best about Facebook and MySpace?

"I find Facebook to be useful for becoming familiar with names and faces of people that go to my school, but that I don't see everyday. For me, MySpace is something I use to advertise my music."

"I like that I can keep in touch with those who I don't see on a regular basis so easily and casually. It gives me a way to pass my time when I am alone. It reminds me that I have friends. I also like that it is an excellent way to get people to stare at pictures of me and basically worship me by writing things on my Facebook wall. I realize how this sounds, but I am, for the most part, completely serious."

"It is a way that we can communicate with other people just for fun. In our world, it's easier to just send an e-mail than call, especially if you are really busy or dislike using the phone. We get to leave friends' silly comments, put up pictures, tell people our likes and dislikes, and some people even use it for dating in a way (at least to find people with the same interests; hopefully the dating doesn't consist of just the internet)."

Q: Do you think it's appropriate for college faculty or administrators to try to use Facebook or MySpace to communicate?

"No. College faculty and administrators are there to be professional and, well, administrative. Facebook and MySpace, to me, are seen more for fun and a way to keep in touch with people that you don't see every day or to find old friends. If our professors need to get in touch with us, they should e-mail us. Plus, we feel differently about our professors than we do our friends. It's somewhat awkward to think about my professors looking at goofy pictures that I took over the weekend and then expect them to still think I am intelligent."

"It depends on circumstance. I don't think it is appropriate for them to try very hard to be buddy-buddy with me, or know my personal business. Funny, reading what I just wrote makes me feel a little foolish for having posted personal information on the most widely accessible media in the universe. Regardless of this fact, Facebook is primarily for me, my friends, and occasionally cruising purposes. It's not for my enemies, it's not for my parents, and when I get on Facebook I don't hope that my logic professor, or the president of the college, saw my status today."

"It depends. For the most part, no. I'd much rather they stay out of it. However, I do have one professor who is known for being fairly hip. He's on Facebook and I have no problem with this because I know he's not going to abuse that position. He won't use Facebook for school stuff unless it's a fun event or something like that. I would not want faculty to use Facebook as an official platform for class topics."

Eric Sickler is a principal consultant for Stamats Communications. He can be reached at eric.sickler@stamats.com.

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