I found Facebook to be an interesting online community. But I need to experiment further before I decide to become part of the community. I have handled the privacy issues Facebook raises by entering only the required profile information for myself and narrowing the search criteria people are allowed to look for in my contact information as I indicate in the next paragraph. I am not paranoid, I am very security conscious and I don’t want to populate my Facebook profile with private information until I have evaluated Facebook’s worth vs. the information I may decide to share. I think that this is the balance we need to be constantly aware of when sharing private information on the internet.
I modified my Facebook ‘My Privacy’ settings for Profile for all of the default settings for my Contact Information from ‘all my networks and all my friends’ to ‘only my friends’. I also modified all of the default settings for Profile Features from ‘all my networks and all my friends’ to ‘only me’. I further modified My Privacy settings for Search to ‘only my fiends’ in college networks to narrow the search scope for this course. Of course Facebook has no responsibility to observe my privacy configurations as Facebook reserves the right to change their policy at any time (Schneier, B., Lessons from the Facebook Riots, p. 3).
I certainly can understand how students have run into serious issues regarding their postings on Facebook. An example of this was the male student posting intimate details about himself and later discovering he had not gotten a job because the potential employee discovered his postings (Tracy Mitrano, T., Cornell University, Thoughts on Facebook, p. 2).
I do not think schools have an obligation to concern themselves with a students Facebook pages or need to develop guidelines for their use. However, having read the two guidelines for this weeks reading from Cornell (Mitrano) and the University of Minnesota (Regents of the University of Minnesota, Living in Online Communities: A User's Guide), in my opinion it certainly is the responsible thing to do. Schools are institutions of learning and educating students about the responsible use of online communities is important. After all, not all students will be fortunate enough to take Rhet 3401.