Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are as innovative as
they are popular! These sites give students a tremendous opportunity
to socialize and market themselves. But remember that with this
opportunity to express yourself comes an equal obligation. The
following are 10 points to keep in mind when you use Facebook, or
MySpace, or other online communities.
of the information used in this resource is used with permission from
Cornell University. The original document can be found at: www.cit.cornell.edu/policy/memos/facebook.html and was authored by Tracy Mitrano, Director of IT Policy & Law Program, Cornell University, April 2006.
- You are not invincible.
Posting personal information such as class schedules, cell phone
numbers and addresses opens your personal life to anyone who has access
to viewing your profile. Very likely you would not place a placard in
the front of your house or door of your room describing intimate
details, contact information, private sexual matters, detailed comings
and goings or anything else that someone less careful and competent
than you might construe as an invitation for communication or even
harassment and stalking that could prove dangerous.
- You have no expectation of privacy.
No one is going to limit those people who are authorized to use the
Internet or view Facebook or MySpace postings from seeing what you post
on-line. The Internet is an open, unlimited international community.
Facebook is open generally to .edu addresses and specifically to anyone
with a ut.edu address. Anyone can join MySpace with the click of a few
buttons and see your postings.
- Your profiles ARE being searched by possible employers.
UT’s Office of Career Services works with hundreds of employers that
are on MySpace, and even hire students with the purpose of checking
applicants’ Facebook profiles. Do you want these employers to know that
your personal interests include beer pong tournaments and you’re a
member of a group called I was arrested at Gasparilla?
- Your profile NEVER really goes away.
Internet search engines engage in a practice called caching, which
means that if you post something on Facebook or MySpace, let’s say for
a day or two just to be funny or to make a point, even if you take it
down or change it, it remains accessible to the rest of the world
anyway. The process to have this information removed is very
burdensome, time consuming and not always effective.
- You are creating a brand for yourself.
Almost everyone is more complex of a person than a single label can
explain, but for most people it takes time and effort, if not real
friendship, to get to know people’s complexities. Don’t give people an
excuse to think of you in a single dimensional way. What you put out on
Facebook or MySpace about yourself should be an invitation to the rest
of the world to get to know you better.
- You are responsible for what you say.
A threatening or harassing statement is personal abuse whether it is
uttered in person, or posted on someone’s profile. No official at UT
will spend hours pouring over Facebook postings, but if someone files a
complaint against threatening or harassing use of your site or the site
of others, it will be addressed through the conduct process. If an
administrator does come across a questionable posting, it is common for
that administrator to meet with that student to discuss their concerns.
- You will be judged by your profile. I will make a judgment about you based on the information you give me. Everyone will.
- You can cross the legal line.
Untrue statements about others can be libel or defamation. Posting
embarrassing pictures of others can be an invasion of privacy. Use of
organization names or insignia on your site can be a copyright
- You can protect yourself.
Use your privacy setting to help control who can access your site. Do
not post anything on your site that you would not post on your front
door. Do not post personal contact information!
- You are a Spartan!
This resource offers some things to contemplate when using Facebook or
MySpace, all of which can be summed up in the five values of the
Spartan Code: honesty, citizenship, trust, respect and responsibility.
As a Spartan, you have committed to upholding these values, which
translate into productive, fun and safe use of these technological