Facebook Fury

Did you know that Diana and Nicole just became friends? How about that Robert just added new photos? And what a shame, Brian and Jen just ended their relationship.

Welcome to the new Facebook.com. Everyone is complaining about it, and many have joined groups like “Stop Stalking Me, Facebook.”

But maybe this “News Feed” is a blessing in disguise. It may finally convince people that the negatives of Facebook and other social networking sites outweigh the positives. College students often live their lives like they are in a bubble, a place where the real world does not apply. However, do not forget that people in the real world can look at everything you post about yourself online. Let’s be honest – the News Feed doesn’t mean people are going to start stalking; it just makes the stalking that has already been going on even easier to do.

It has become too simple to learn a bit too much about almost anyone. Your friends may be looking at all your recent activity, but what about those whom you may not want to be looking? For example, you don’t want the overly jealous ex looking at photos of you and that girl/guy you hooked up with at the party. Furthermore, remember that there are creepy people out there who may enjoy those bikini pictures way too much.

Facebook may haunt you once you leave college as well. According to a Jan. 12 article from careerjournal.com, a career advice Web site maintained by The Wall Street Journal, “75 percent of recruiters use search engines to uncover information about candidates, and 26 percent of recruiters have eliminated candidates because of information found online.” You may have felt cool when you posted pictures from the night you did a keg stand, but you won’t feel as proud if it costs you a job in the future.

In addition, networking Web sites are slowly ruining us socially. Between AIM, Facebook and MySpace, it’s getting way too easy to have a buzzing social life without actually having to communicate with anyone. Is it better to get 30 “Happy Birthday” messages on your wall or three phone calls? How many of your 327 Facebook buddies are your actual friends away from the computer screen?

This is not meant to get you to rush to your computer and delete your Facebook and MySpace accounts. However, before you join a group protesting the News Feed, think about how the possible harm caused by this new feature is miniscule compared to the information we knowingly and willingly put up all the time.

Keep all this in mind, and then remember to friend me – I’m looking for at least another hundred.