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In Facebook I trust

I trust in the current privacy guidelines set up by Facebook and understand that I am responsible for the amount and degree of information I post.

I thought the readings chosen for this week were very applicable to the discussion of privacy and Facebook. In which case I have organized my blog into four sections covering various points from the articles.

1. Social Networkig Sites and Teens (Lenhart & Madden)

The article states that their study shows girls are using online social networks to reinforce friendships and boys in addition are using the networkd to flirt and meet new friends. The statistic is that 70% of girls are using these networks vs. 54% of boys. My personal response to this is that older girls are at an age of insecurity. I think places such as Myspace and Facebook can boost a girls self esteem and provide a sense of community during these interesting yet challenging years. Teenage boys using networks to flirt and meet new "friends" is understandable based on there curiousity in the other sex and sexual exploration at this age. This is a random arguement but sums up my thoughts of the reasons teens may seek to use online social networks.

2. Living in Online Communities
I believe it is great that the U of M is responding to the need to educate students about posting information on online communities. My favorite piece of advice was when posting items online consider if you have your friends permission to post pictures or stories of them online. This applies to me and my facebook community in a way that I do not appreciate friends putting certain pictures of myself online. I want to chose the pictures and stories I am apart of online, period. I don't appreicate the ability of others to paint the way others may perceive me through these social networks.

3. Thoughts on Facebook (Mitrano, 2006)
II. Caching
Under this section was my favorite quote from all of the readings:

"Don't give people an excuse to think of you in a single dimensional way. Instead of trying just to fit into a single group, think about yourself as an interesting person with depth of personality and character. What you put out on Facebook about yourself should be an invitation to the rest of the world to get to know you better." (Mitrano, 2006)

Perhaps these online communities are challenging students to perceive how others see them which I think represents a strong validation for such networking.

4. Lessons from Facebook Riots (Schneider, 2006)

This article was most useful when reviewing my personal thoughts of privacy and Facebook.

For example it begins the article discussing the implementation of "News Feeds" and the follow-up of privacy options. I was a member of Facebook previous to the News Feeds and upon implementation of this so-called tool I was upset that I did not have control of other people tracking my new adds, profile adjustments, etc. I found myself using Facebook less and feeling less confident in my online privacy. Upon implementation of the privacy options I strengthened my privacy and have since felt more comfortable about my Facebook participation.

The only personal policy I have implemented is to not become obsessive of checking my Facebook. I admit that it at times serves as a distraction but am not concerned about an overuse of time spent networking through this community.

Upon proposing the question if schools should concern themselves with Facebook pages and develop guidelines I referred back to the study of Social Networking Sites and Teens by Lenhart and Madden. They stated that 42% of students are spending time at school on their online social networks. This had proposed a concern to me and in response I believe that schools should not allow this participation during school hours. Students are not using these networks to improve their education or professional skills so in the case of highschool students it is best if this participation takes place at home.

The final question is what responsibility Facebook has to respecting my privacy?

This question will require some additional pondering. I will address this question in a later blog.