Why would anyone want to climb a high peak? The famous rejoinder, of course, has long been, “Because it’s there!” Moving right along, people from all walks of life ask a similar question regarding MySpace and FaceBook: Why publish items of sometimes keen personal interest for all the world to see? Answer: because it’s there. And, by the way, we’re deep in the throes of the Information(-glut) Age.
Well, it turns out that kids applying to college who have also rambled and gamboled in FaceBook may well have their “personal” pages read by an admissions counselor. A recent Wall Street Journal article said as much, as did a spate of articles indicating that admissions people in a growing number of institutions are peeking in to gain a wider perspective of applicants. It’s not always the “red flag” item in an application that may set off the easy web search. Simply put, build a MySpace image of one sort or another, and “they will come.” It seems inevitable.
So what’s the advice here? It’s essentially what Judi Robinovitz has been saying for about two years. Tastes differ. Colleges have serious ideas about the kind of collaborative education community they want to promote. Outré ideas may be fine for some, but not for all. While anyone may make the rational claim that web censorship is wrong, the reverse argument follows: abusers of trust—or at least people who might not be able to see things your way—are out there ready to consider whatever you have to publish. To say that caution is required by high school students who use these humongously popular sites would be an understatement. Rather than decreasing, the unknowns surrounding personal revelation on the internet may be increasing. As with everything, only time will tell. What’s your strategy today?