Facebook Logo (From Wikimedia Commons)

BY BEATRIZ PREECE

Social networking sites are at the hub of college students’ daily routine. It seems hard to believe that less than a decade ago they were the latest luxury in web based communications, they are now indispensable and practically a necessity around the UM-Dearborn campus.

Out of all the social networks, Facebook has impacted the way the students live and communicate with each other the most. Many students admit that Facebook enables them to have quick communication exchanges with people in their classes, others have friends and relatives who live all over the country with whom they share a lot of information, such as written communication, pictures and videos.

Facebook allows Ashely Levin, junior majoring in urban and regional studies, to track companies doing urban design programs, and Ashley Sword, a senior majoring in communications, mentions that it is absolutely necessary for her to be on Facebook, because it is a good way for her to communicate with classmates, friend, family, and colleagues.

Michael Parr, a senior UM-D Difference Maker majoring in Political Science, says that he gets a lot of benefits from being on Facebook because it allows him to connect and reconnect with friends, family, and classmates.

“I am always checking to see what new content has been posted by my friends,” said Parr. “I often times will read an article or important information that someone posts on their page.”

The rapid growth of Facebook, however, has coincided with an increasing unease over personal privacy. College students habitually provide personal information on their Facebook profiles, which can be viewed by large numbers of unknown people and potentially used by businesses, and could be detrimental to the image of the person disclosing private information.

Regarding the Facebook privacy issues, Sword says “I am friends with my boss, so I have to be mindful of what I post on Facebook and watchful of what others are posting about me. In addition, people have to watch about posting information regarding their job, because they may not be friends with their boss, but someone else in their profile may be and this may spell trouble.” Parr, who is also a public official at the City of Lincoln Park, says that even though he has over 1,400 Facebook friends, his profile is set to ‘private.’ He continued, “I am very mindful of what I post on Facebook, so I never post information about what I am doing or what I am thinking. I realize that people in the community I serve look up to me and I have a public image to maintain.”

Even though the press has published all kinds of unflattering information regarding Facebook privacy, in addition to the fact that there are known problems experienced by students who are using this social networking site, these people are not particularly concerned with the limitations of Facebook as long as it allows them to maintain contact with their social capital. Ultimately, the ability to stay connected and “in the social know” provided by Facebook outweighs many risks.

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