News from today’s Inside Higher Ed indicates that campuses are considering scouring students’ Facebook and MySpace pages for potentially harmful material, including drug references, foul language, and anything else that may hurt a college’s reputation.
Of course, the new technologies (including a product called YouDiligence, which is described in this story) that colleges may acquire to do this monitoring are raising questions among freedom of speech advocates, as well as the specter that “Big Brother” really is watching.
But in my experience, students are way too blasÃ© about the content of their personal pages. References to drinking and drugs abound, foul language is common, and students routinely add widgets and applications without a thought as to how their personal information could be used by marketers or more nefarious individuals.
Further, students do not realize that technologically hip admissions officers are routinely looking at your Facebook and MySpace pages to see if there is anything that raises red flags about a particular applicant. Better safe than sorry: if you wouldn’t want your mom to see what you’re posting on those pages, better not to put it up there.