Your Digital Identity

Recently, a professor shared the following story.  They are ‘friends’ with one of their graduate students on Facebook.  This professor had a good relationship with the student and felt that they had promise to go on to a doctoral program.  The student had asked the professor for a letter of recommendation and the prof was willing to do so.

Upon checking their Facebook account, the prof discovered that the student in question had posted a profanity laced rant about something regarding the department.  You can come to your own conclusions as to the professor’s next step.

People do not consider the implications that Facebook posts can have on their professional career.  Many academic organizations have a presence on Facebook, where members can acknowledge their association.  It is important that students be made aware how important it is to have an appropriate profile/page on Facebook if they are going to share that information with their professional relationships.  This is a conversation that advisors need to have with students.

Personally, I am not sure how I feel about Facebook.  After having an account for several years I decided to close the account, only to reopen a year later.  The account exists so that I may define myself and make it clear who I am since, oddly, there are several people with my exact name on Facebook, some of whom have questionable profiles.

Disclaimer: the story recounted above is not from any of the academic departments that I liaison to at WSU.

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About Nicholas Wyant

I am the Head of Social Sciences at Indiana University Wells Library. I am responsible for Political Science, Criminal Justice & Social Work. In addition to my subject areas I also study student's interaction with technology. Recently, I have altered my methods from a sociological perspective to an anthropological one.
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