Set-Up: Your generation is the first to naturally have 2 lives:

one on in the real world and one on-line.

Some would even call you “digital natives”.

While there are remarkable thing about being born in an age where the Internet, cell phones, IM’ing, etc is commonplace — staying in touch with friends/family 24/7, being creative with amazing new media software, getting published at the touch of a button, etc. — it also means that everything you do on-line has the potential of one day being viewed by the colleges you apply to, companies interviewing you, etc.

As you can imagine, this creates some interesting issues that your generation will have to face.


Length: 7+ sentences


20 responses to “W6, #2: YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

  1. I think that college admission officers should not check peoples facebooks and myspace to see if the applicant is good enough to be accepted. You should be accepted into college for your grades, GPA and SAT, and not how your personal life is. What if the information on facebook and myspace is false, you can be rejected by a college for something you have not done. I think that college admission officers should leave the personal life of the applicants alone and focus on what matters more like the grades. This makes people on these websites think twice before they want to comment or post something on their file. What happens if you are mistaken for someone else and that could ruin your chances to be chosen in a college that you want to go to. What people put on their facebooks and myspaces should not matter what colleges think about you.

  2. While Student #1 leads a strong argument, I’m going to have to disagree.

    College admission officers have every right to look at the MySpace or a Facebook of a student trying to get into their college. If the student is a potential student at their college, then they should know what kind of person they’re getting. Applicants shouldn’t have any problem with admissions looking at their pages if they have nothing to hide. It isn’t like the college is being invasive of the student’s privacy or anything, because if they student had something they didn’t want people to see then they really shouldn’t have put it on the Internet. MySpace and Facebook are public websites, and provides a better window to the applicant’s true self. In interviews, everyone tries to make a “good impression”, whether or not they’re being their true selves in the process. MySpace and Facebook gives a lot more (and most of the time more truthful) information than a face to face meeting ever could. Besides, the only fake information that I’ve seen on a MySpace is the age and hometown, and I’m pretty sure the admissions officer can tell you’re not a one year old from Gotham, Texas.

  3. I read all three. I like how one mistake can ruin my life. I love that feeling that my whole life will go down the drain if I happen to make one single mistake. I find this to be awesome. I love it. No actually I really, really love it. Back in the 70’s or 80’s most middle-aged folks did things that were alot worse than posting “dirt”, however that is no reason to judge them. Come on, they’re human and they make mistakes. So instead of punishing them let’s make them college admissions officers and employers. While we do that, if someone from my generation does anything half as bad we should ruin his or her life. I guess it’s alright to go jail for things that would be considered ‘youthful indiscretions’ in my parent’s time. I guess it’s completely alright as well to have a zero policy tolerance policy so we can have more people living on minimum wage. I believe my generation should be perfect in every single way. I am completely against second chances. Everyone in my generation has to get it all right the very first time. After all it is completely rational to measure the life of a 18 year old against the life of a 50 year old. I also love how I don’t have the right to privacy. I can’t wait to learn about all the other rights I won’t have. Will they charge into my house and touch all my stuff without a warrant? Or will just arrest me just for fun? I guess the constitution rules against it, but who cares about the constitution? It’s just a useless, insignificant document and it didn’t do that much to shape our nation.

    That pretty much sums up my views. Oh, yeah I forgot something. I was being sarcastic.

  4. In theory, I agree with student #1. That is, colleges who rely upon the information gathered from myspace or facebook may be mistaken. For one thing, the information from those sites is not always correct and reliable. There is some chance that someone could make up stuff about a potential student. Things could be said and done in jest or in anger, and may not paint a true picture of the student. Or the student himself may have invented a different character to pretend, as a creative game of some sort. In many cases, the students, mostly teens, assume these things are for their understanding ‘friend’s’ eyes only, and put things on to impress or amuse them. It would not only be unfair to hold something said in that context to be used against the teen but the colleges themselves may miss out on a terrific student with a lot of imagination. There is definitely an element of spying and underhandedness on the part of the colleges who, instead of making a fair decision using the information submitted to them, go behind the student and judge them at their “friends-only” selves.

    That being said, it would not be smart for students, or anyone, to do stupid things or say stupid things and leave it out in the public domain. From the articles, even though the colleges want to deny it, I think they do really look at the students’ sites. Students are not entitled to privacy in a free, public arena. The colleges do not want two-faced and disrespectful students, nor do they want drinking, smoking students who obviously make poor choices in regards to their health and well-being. Many students are warned that what you put out will be watched, and they would not exactly know who is watching them. As far as I know, my parents do check on me quite regularly. They also tell me not to do anything in private that I will be ashamed to explain in public. Also, in our school, we were warned from middle school that people do watch your internet activities. Actually, for me, I know I am not good at pretending or being careful all the time. So, I just try to get in habit of doing the right things in a non-offensive manner in all things I do, whether or not I am on computer. That way, I can relax and be myself without worrying whose watching.

  5. Colleges have every right to look at myspace and facebook to assess each student applying.

    It has been 2 years since I got dsl. I had dial up before, which was really slow, making it a pain for me to go online. That is why I don’t have a face book or myspace.

    Whatever you post on myspace or face book is your decision making. “If an individual waives a portion of it(privacy), they waived it”. Whatever students put on myspace or face book must not be private, if they put on the internet.

    Colleges have to know what kind of students are applying before letting them into their schools. I am pretty sure they don’t want bad people in their schools.

  6. I read all three. And while it may suck that people can come and judge you based on what you put online, you DID put it online.

    Most people know the second you post something online it’s for anyone to see. They probably say that in a disclaimer or two on myspace and facebook.

    So anyone, including college admissions officers, can see what you put up. You can screw up all you want, but the second you post it online you’re letting people find out about it.

    To student number three, you do have the right to privacy, but you give up that right when you post something online.

    No one would have to compare an 18 year old to a 50 year old if you didn’t give anyone something to compare with. Keep your business off the internet, and no one will have to know it.

  7. There’s more to a student than GPA’s and SAT scores I believe. Learning about someone’s personal life could help colleges make better choices.

    But I do agree with student 1 who said “what if the information on facebook and myspace is false, you can be rejected by a college for something you have not done”, although I strongly believe that you should be responsible for what you put on your Facebook. Your letting your friends and their friends look at your personal information, so who says that colleges cant look at it? Although I don’t think colleges should rely on this choice for their decisions of acceptance.

    But I am going to have to disagree with student 1’s strong argument after reading “College Admissions Offices Using Facebook…to Block Students”, and “Facebook, MySpace, and College Admissions”. More and more colleges, private, public, small or big are starting to use these methods more and more often. I think there’s more to a student than their grades and statistics.

    After reading these articles i I believe this will make my classmates and I more responsible in the future when we come to making the decision of what we might put on fro are facebook status and what pictures we put up for the world to see.

  8. I read all three and I have to say, using facebook and myspace is just a resource to the admissions officers. It would be similar to us having full access to Google docs, but not using it to our advantage. It is out there and available to them, and if someone is going to post something that could get them denied from college maybe that will teach them to post appropriate things.

    If you choose to post something online, that could be seen by anyone and if someone sees it they will probably judge you for it. So while it isn’t bad to have a facebook or a myspace, they can work against you. I guess the lesson is don’t post something you wouldn’t want your grandma to know about and that should pretty much be acceptable to colleges. Also don’t post anything that would be questionable, because the officers would probably assume the worst.

  9. Colleges using FB, Myspace, and other social networking sites are doing the right thing. Just because a student applying for a college looks good on paper doesn’t mean that they’re such a “good little student” when it comes to their own personal life. Using FaceBook and Myspace allows college applicants to be thoroughly examined before they’re given the green light and become accepted.

    I also agree with Student #6, although you do indeed have the right of privacy, if you have something that you don’t want the entire rest of the world to see then don’t post it online. Students that aren’t accepted into a college because of their FB or Myspace don’t have the right to become upset. It’s their own fault that caused them to be rejected and so if you don’t want someone to see something, then don’t show it!

  10. I believe this will greatly affect our lives. “Since this is such a new phenomenon, many schools are just starting to adapt their policies.” (2nd article) This tells me that by the time my grade is ready to graduate every school will be checking MySpace and Face book to examine their applicants.

    I am not particularly worried about myself because I have never had a MySpace or Face book. This weekend my friend took me on her Face book and even though there was nothing incriminating on hers, her ‘friends’ on Face book had pictures of themselves drinking and partying. What worries me is that colleges will start to look at who you hang out with and penalize you for that as well.

    Overall, I think that face books and my spaces are kind of pointless. Sure they can be entertainment when you’re bored, but if they end up negatively affecting the rest of your life is it really worth it?!?

  11. I believe colleges have EVERY right to look on prospective students myspaces, face books, or bebos. A few entries ago, I wrote about how colleges want their students to fit their ‘wants.’ This is exactly what I mean.

    Colleges don’t want to look on a perspective’s students website and see them partying, or drinking. They want a student who understands their responsibilities, and everyone out there who has a face book etc. knows of the consequences that come with having them, and everyone has access to it. If you decided to put something stupid up there that is your own fault, and if its something bad you have to deal with a college saying no to you.

    On student #10’s entry she said she sees face books and all that pointless, and to some degree I agree. But I myself have a face book and I don’t have anything up there I would be ashamed of if a college was to look at it. And if a college judged me on my friends and what their website says (which is very possible) I have no control over them so they should not penalize me, and if they do it was not meant to be.

    Overall I think this is apart of my generation, and although it is a obstacle on our path I believe people that are responsible can handle this new technology.

  12. Very true student #10. Is it worth it?

    I think a lot of times our generations get ‘caught up’ thinking that we have to have a Facebook or Myspace because that’s the ‘new thing.’ I mean, yeah, maybe you don’t get to see your friend’s pictures from their vacation, or 2nd cousin’s friend’s sister’s birthday that was a lot of fun, but life happens in the real world, too.

    I think it’s these types of articles that arouse the thought, ‘is this really me?’ Maybe this is our front we put up, and its what our friends see us as. Is what you are on Facebook the same when you’re at the dinner table with your family, or at your first college interview, or at your friend’s house right after the game? If nothing else, I think that is a message that these articles are trying to convey.

    I personally believe colleges have every right to look at students’ Facebooks. I do not think the Internet should be one of the major factors that determine a potential student’s acceptance, but it can be used as one factor. In article 2, Stanford admits they do not use Facebook or even require pictures of their candidates. I find this interesting, because the moment you place a personality and picture to a list of accomplishments, mere judgment and persecution can occur. Although everything is not a fair game, that is one way to make sure no racism, sexism, or any dislike gets in the way of a great education for a great resume and intelligent mind.

    Side note: I find it interesting that some colleges have began to block Facebook on their campus. It is ironic, because the very thing Facebook was invented for is now beginning to be banned.

    The third article was the most direct about the actual issue of using these ‘dirt’ sites. When is it far enough? What if there are mistakes with same names or practical pranks? This is a good point and I feel it proves that yes, Facebook is a public resource colleges or companies may find useful, but can definitely be an erroneous, problem-arousing object.

  13. I read the three articles to see the different look that each of them took on the Facebook issue.

    I personally believe that college admissions offices or potential employers should be allowed to look on their applicant’s Facebook/MySpace page. The college could be looking to give scholarships, which come from the school’s own money, and they have every right to know the ‘true’ side of the person they are interested in. The same holds true for potential employers- they should see the unfiltered character of their prospect worker they are about to trust part of their company to.

    That being said, however, the Facebook pages should only be used for professional business- not to ‘check up’ on students, or bust them for “criminal trespassing”. The majority of the people who use Facebook are still young, and apt to make mistakes. They should be allowed to follow the whims of their age, and not get in trouble for it. These spontaneous acts will not be ended by the college punishment, but rather with the maturation that age brings. It is for the parents or the people themselves to punish for immature acts, and it is not the responsibility of the college security.

  14. Facebook is a great place to chat with friends, share pictures, and plan fun things. Now that schools and employers can use our personal lives against our professional aspirations, the fun of an online group is tainted.

    We now have to consider each and every post as a possibility slipping away from us.

    Employers and college administrators shouldn’t use every thing we’ve ever done against, though I do understand the desire for an insight of your future coworkers’ lives, but shouldn’t privacy matter at least a little?

    Then comes the responsibility of having an online account. A person who has a facebook has to understand that what they put up is available to anyone in the world. The internet, not the intranet is what everyone uses connect, making any information at the disposal of anyone with money or a large company, even on ‘private’ pages.

    I do think that a separate site should be used for colleges to look at, where applicants can make a profile that will help the college to understand them, if they are interested in doing so. There is a feeling that colleges only use facebook and myspace to deny applicants a fair chance. While it is good to know more about those a college chooses, everyone has at least one photo where they look silly, which a college might use against them.

    So a warning to job and college applicants must be issued by facebook and myspace, making them aware of how little privacy they really have.

  15. It does not surprise me at all that the college admissions offices check MySpace and face book to ensure that those they accept are not heavy drinkers or indulge in excessive partying because this is a great tool to maintain the dignity of their schools.

    Though I do not have a face book or a MySpace this knowledge makes me quite nervous. I dislike the fact that if there is an individual in the world with the same name as myself and they have an inappropriate MySpace or face book that I might be penalized for this. Though I’m sure the admissions offices make every effort to ensure the individual they view on line and their applicant match up there is no way they can truly be positive unless they ask the applicant. However, I doubt the admissions offices want to ask the applicant because this might bring up the issue of privacy.

    If someone has a website they are inviting multiple individuals to view their life, and so the fact that colleges look at this as well could hardly be justified as an invasion of privacy but intelligent applicants might create a different argument.

    Also the article mentioned if two students are equally qualified for their college but one has a less than satisfactory website this can determine who receives the spot. Though this appears somewhat fair I do not agree with this completely. If a college accepts one student over the other due to information on the internet then the colleges are basically saying that all internet information is valid, and this is completely false. Perhaps this individual didn’t create the website but a rude friend did so as a joke or maybe the applicant did create the website years ago and now realizes the error of their ways. Colleges cannot put so much faith into these websites because though the internet forgets nothing that does not mean it is all legitimate information.

    This new found tool of collages will definitely cause problems for my generation because if you have a MySpace or a face book it is completely normal and cool. I think that these websites are great, if used with caution and appropriately and I don’t have one personally because the power of the internet is frightening to me. However, this does not exempt me from these Google searches because other individuals in the world have the same name as me and I am present on other people’s websites whether in pictures or in words, but hopefully this will not affect my application process.

    I applaud colleges for attempting to accept the best applicants but I feel as though a Google search should not confirm their decision. I also feel that these colleges do this in order to preserve their institution due to the scandals which have taken place in the previous years.

    I am not against trying to preserve a respectable institution but simply a weary individual when it comes to the internet and colleges should be too. If information on a website is to be used against an applicant then the applicant should be asked about this information to confirm or deny the accusations placed in the minds of the college admissions officers. Applying to college is a nerve racking and difficult process and I would hope that colleges would not attempt to increase the difficulty of the situation by making false assumptions and loosing a qualified applicant due to invalid information.

  16. The impact that Facebook and Myspace will have on me and my classmates is not going to be small. The more we post about ourselves online with these sites, the more at risk we are and the more privacy we lose. Since most colleges and universities have been looking at applicants’ Myspace and Facebook pages it is becoming a liability to have one, but most things that have a liability also have a perk. Instead of using these websites solely as a way to talk about our social lives and wild experiences, we can also talk about our careers as I read in the first article. This is a great way to present ourselves in a positive way, especially if our interviews were a bit shaky. If most of what college admissions offices find on Myspace and Facebook have a negative effect then a positive will definitely stand out. I see the use of these two websites becoming very popular as an ‘advertisement’ of a student towards a college in the future.

  17. After reading two of the three articles I have come to understand why college admission officers are looking at student’s myspace/facebook pages. Colleges not only want smart students but they want students who make smart desicions.

    I understand how people think this is unfair and that they need to stay out of their “personal” life, but why would a college want to accept a student who has pictures on her/his myspace/facebook page of them drinking and partying. I think this would show the colleges you don’t really care if you make a bad descion or you aren’t the “profesional” type. I think the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” fits this article. One bad picture you have on your website can show a college administrator your whole outlook on life.

  18. I agree 100% with student #17 “a picture is worth a thousand words”. That is completely true.

    I believe everything has a meaning behind it, everything happens for a reason. If the college recruiters find your FB or myspace and see some “bad” pictures or something written that is inappropriate, then they have a right to reject you. Its your choice to put what you want on the internet where anybody and everybody will be able to see it.

    If something is posted on the internet no matter if you set it to be private where no one else can read it, its on the internet. There is going to be somebody who can hack into the system and figure out a way to see it. We have no privacy on the internet, so we might as well learn now while we still can before the time comes where the colleges will actually reject us for our mistakes.

  19. I have read student 1 and 2’s argument, and I agree with both 1 and 2.

    I do believe that colleges should focus mainly on the grades that we get. However, I also think that they should look at how we are as people, not only as students.

    They should look at what we could bring to their learning facility, something that’s unique, and could greatly benefit them. But, I also think that they shouldn’t go through are “other identities” on the web to look for that special something. They should ask our old teachers, schools, friends, family, or our work. Of course, I do see the point in checking our Facebooks or MySpace’s. It’s to see if one person is responsible, and a good person, or if that person is a binge drinking partier, who could care less about school. I think that looking at our personal profiles is a good resource for finding info. of a future student, or employee.

    But, we need to make sure that the profile looks professional, and certain to not let the looker think that we are no good people.

  20. On one hand, I do not think that colleges should look at people’s MySpace or Facebook because they might have mistaken you for someone else or read something false about you. After doing the same job over and over, they might have typed your name wrong without realizing it and start looking at someone else’s blog. There may also be someone who has the same name as you who smokes, takes drugs, drinks, and other certain pictures that will probably cause the college admission officers to immediately tear up your application and throw it in the trash. Someone, who is angry at the time or just does not like you for whatever reason, might say false things about you. You may also not want the public to know the real you, so you put false things about yourself. Or perhaps you were doing some sort of experiment that required you to have a completely different personality. These little misunderstanding could cause a college to loose a very potential and wonderful student.

    Other than that, people should not do stupid things in public in the first place. People who use MySpace or Facebook should know that what they put on there is open for the public to see including college officials. People should be careful of what they do and what they put or say in public. Colleges do not want people who do bad things to go to their school even if they have a good GPA. After all they have plenty of other applicants who have a good GPA and make smart decisions. I have been warned not to put anything private on the internet by my parents and teachers. At the time though, they were mainly talking about putting information that will tell people where I live not putting embarrassing pictures on MySpace. Interesting how in just a short period of time that something could have changed and suddenly put your private information out in public if you are not careful. I do not think I have done anything to make the colleges immediately not want me.

    Since I have not been to any public schools, I cannot say that every student has been warned not to put private information on the internet. I do not know what all private schools teach either but I would imagine that all or the majority of private schools warns student not to put everything about themselves on the web unless a parent or a teacher says it is okay to do so.

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