Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? If you’re applying to college, you might be. While it is still unknown how many admissions officers check applicants’ facebook profiles, students are starting to get a bit nervous. They’re looking over their shoulder (virtually) and getting a bit more savvy about what they post online. The New York Times has an article out today that details the lengths students are going to keep the prying eyes of admissions officers from seeing their ‘private’ online activities.
Many students are changing their names on Facebook and other social networks to less obvious names. This is possible because a student’s friends already are friends with the student so a name change on Facebook will not force the account to re-friend everyone. However, changing the account name makes it nearly impossible for someone to do a quick facebook search and come across an applicant. So what are some students doing? Here’s some great examples:
New spellings are standard: Amy is now Aim E, and Ms. Kaye became Charlotte K. A nickname will also do. At the Ramaz School in Manhattan, Amanda Uziel changed her Facebook name to Uzi Shmuzi. Puns and wordplay are held in higher esteem.
At the Collegiate School in Manhattan, Al Isin Wonderland is also known as Albert F. Mendia, a senior; at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, Audri Augenbraum, a senior, is Audri Eyebrows, the translation of her German surname. And at the Spence School in Manhattan, Haley Markbreiter, a senior, is Haley Go Lightly.
This EduDemic article is not just a simple recap of the NYT piece. I sincerely want to know if YOU would change your online persona. Be it for college admissions, parents, or for another reason. I personally try to act as responsible as possible without sharing anything too private. For example, I’m more than happy to share silly pictures, news about stuff that interests me, and other pleasant things. I never write vitriolic statements with the intent to upset someone nor do I post anything potentially compromising (not that there’s much that I could post on this front).
So would you think twice about posting something because you’re applying to college? I think the future of online behavior is one of common respect and maturity (except on YouTube comments, hoo boy). While this is a hopeful prediction, I think everyone could benefit from remembering that whatever you post online can likely be seen by your friends, family, grandmother, son, daughter, spouse, teacher, and enemies. With that happy thought, have a great Saturday night (and don’t post too many compromising photos if you’re going out partying tonight!)