The Do’s and Do Not’s of Facebook for College Freshman

Posted by on Dec 1st, 2009 and filed under Campus Updates, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

facebook homepage Today, when you enter school as a college freshman you’ll be meeting people on two fronts: in person and on Facebook. College freshmen ofen “friend” their new classmates before ever stepping foot on campus. This gives you one measely profile page to make a fantastic first impression. While you probably consider yourself a Facebook pro after years of use, you may be surprised by what your profile choices say about you to casual observers. Check out the following list and try to implement some of these changes in order to make the best possible first impression to your peers.

Do: Fill out your profile.
There’s a reason Facebook asks for your favorite books, music and movies, among other things, on your profile. These interests tell people—especially those who have never met you, like your future classmates and friends—who you are and what you’re about, so don’t neglect it. If your profile is empty, you might come across as inaccessible or standoffish. But it’s your space to be yourself, so have fun with it, and give as much or little detail as you feel comfortable with. And don’t forget to spell-check, lest you invite public shaming from the English major sect. At the very least, be sure to use a real photo of yourself so new and old friends know it’s really you when they seek you out online.
Don’t: Go overboard.
As with all things in life, it’s vital to find a balance. Fill out those details, but fill out too much and you’ve just given your new friends their first homework assignment: reading your profile. No one needs to know every movie you’ve ever enjoyed; nor do they care to. A few key examples will make you more memorable, and more likable.
Do: Make new friends while staying in touch with old ones.
Before Facebook came along, college students were forced to wait until they physically met each other to begin forging relationships. Like the horse-drawn buggy or dial-up Internet, this ancient custom was slow and frustrating to those of us who demand instant gratification. Many new students use Facebook to find fellow incoming classmates and talk to them about their plans, hopes and worries about life at college, so be tolerant of friend requests from people you might not know yet, even if you eventually choose to ignore contact from strangers as you make real friends at school. And don’t forget to connect with your high school friends at other, far-off colleges. As you both get busy adjusting to your new environments, Facebook is a quick and easy way to stay in touch. You can even form groups to tell your old friends about your new life all at once.

Don’t: Become “The Facebook Guy/Girl”
Don’t be “that guy” who friended all incoming students before meeting any of them, or “that girl” who wrote the same “nice to virtually meet you” message on everyone’s wall. You might be eager to make connections, but “the Facebook weirdo” is not the first impression you want to make. Facebook is meant to be a resource, not a crutch or an alternative to real relationships, and the beginning of college is your crucial time to get out there in person and get involved. Facebook-overuse isn’t just a social danger: study-time should also be Facebook-free time, or you risk wasting hours that could be spent meeting people at real-life campus activities and parties.
Do: Use good judgment with what you put online.
You’ve probably gotten the lecture before, but it bears repeating, especially because college presents a whole new slew of opportunities… both to have fun, and to get yourself in trouble. Don’t post inappropriate photos of yourself or others, as these can both give people the wrong idea about your activities at college, and come back to haunt you when you apply for graduate school or jobs. Don’t post photos or information about your friends without their permission, for the same reasons. Administrators, faculty, potential employers, and even your parents could be logging on and looking at your Facebook feed, so don’t post anything you wouldn’t want Grandma to see. Or see go public on the Internet. Forever.
Don’t: Keep your log-in information saved to your computer.
Unless, of course, you welcome the very real possibility of your college friends taking liberties with your profile (and your crush’s Facebook wall) as their idea of a clever prank.
Do: Make use of your privacy settings.
Even if your profile is squeaky clean, it’s worth your time to take a look at Facebook’s very extensive, very customizable privacy settings, and align them to your specific needs. Don’t be afraid to put acquaintances, former bosses, kids you counseled at summer camp, your friend’s mom or anyone else on a limited profile. Keep your photos all to yourself and a select group of close friends if you want. Block non-students from being able to search for you, or keep non-friends from seeing your videos and phone number. The possibilities are endless, but there’s one possibility you don’t want to use: leaving your information completely unprotected.
And finally…

Don’t: Poke people.
It’s annoying, and no one can seem to agree what it means, exactly. Why risk being misinterpreted? If you want someone’s attention, it’s best to just write a friendly message. Or poke them in person, if that’s the only message you want to send.

Meghan Carlson is a graduate of Whitman College with a degree in English. She currently lives in Seattle working as a professional writer. In her spare time, she freelances for Guide to Online Schools, an online education website.

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2 Responses for “The Do’s and Do Not’s of Facebook for College Freshman”

  1. [...] Facebook was established roughly 5 years ago by then student Mark Zuckerberg. Today, Facebook users shatter cultural and religious barriers inviting more than 300 million users globally. A big issue over the ever growing Facebook population is its security. Numerous scams, hacks, malwares and privacy issue complaints from several Facebook users were sent to the table. Facebook administrators implemented privacy patches over these years but it seems a remodelling of its system prove to be a better solution. [...]

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