By Jorie Scholnik, Intern, The Protocol School of Palm Beach
I am one of the 500 million Facebook users who contributes to the 500 billion minutes people spend on Facebook per month, according to the site’s published statistics. Every day, I sign into my account, read my news feed (which is a series of short updates about my friends), and learn what’s going on in my friends’ lives. This month alone, I learned that one friend had a new baby – umbilical cord and all. One friend announced she had a miscarriage, while another confessed she got cheated on the night before. I also learned that some of my friends in my graduate program went out to dinner and didn’t invite me.
I discover a lot by reading my friends’ posts – maybe too much. So how far is too far? I’ve learned that when applying for a job, I shouldn’t have any risqué pictures on my page or any rants about my former bosses and co-workers. Even if I have high privacy settings and just use Facebook for personal use, the guidelines shouldn’t change.
If you’re a Facebook user, it’s best to be aware of what you post. Before you decide to air your dirty laundry for all the world to see, here are some questions to ask yourself.
Would I be okay with this if it were on the front page of the newspaper? Keep in mind that unless your privacy settings are extremely customized, many people including prospective employers will be able to view your information. Some people may even copy and paste your posts to others.
Does this hurt anyone’s feelings? As a golden rule, if you get invited to a private event and know other friends were excluded, don’t post pictures or write about it on Facebook. Your excluded friends may see this and get offended because they didn’t make the guest list.
Is there a way professionals can see this? Even if you have strict privacy settings, it’s still a small world out there. Professionals may have a mutual friend or have other means of reading your content.
Is this just too much information? Post only what you would want to know about others. Content that relates to your medical or financial situation should be kept between you and your closest friends.
What is the purpose of posting this? Don’t be surprised if you lose friends if you post your negative opinions or hurt someone’s feelings. Facebook is all about building a network and maintaining relationships.
Jorie Scholnik graduated from the University of Florida in May 2010 with her master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and mental health counseling. She also has a specialist’s degree in education. Jorie has been interning seasonally at the Protocol School of Palm Beach since June 2006.