From freshmen to seniors, many of us can recall how important Facebook becomes once we unpack, meet our floor and gain 50 new friends overnight. Social networking is definitely a useful tool in keeping in touch with floormates, complaining about freshman seminars, getting the word out about events on campus and even planning parties. But, with great social power comes great social responsibility. The Facebook world is clearly not a perfect parallel of the real world, but here are a few topics of interest, and how to stay socially responsible while at college.
The “goods photo”
For those who don’t know what the “goods photo” is, this is a photograph, usually taken in the mirror by the individual, male or female, that shows off “the goods.” For girls, this picture displays the chest and backside. For guys, it is an abdominal and bicep showcase. Usually it’s taken in poor or altered lighting as to make things look more attractive than they actually are. Everyone checks themselves out in the mirror, but any Facebook veteran can attest to seeing at least one of these photos on many a profile.
Advice: Get rid of them. If you are as hot as you think you are, you will be turning plenty of heads in Eickhoff and the Brower Student Center anyway. Now that you are a seemingly mature collegian, these photos are unnecessary and will demean you in the eyes of potential employers, leaders of student organizations that you join, and/or your floor mates. Don’t pigeonhole yourself within your first week of college.
At home, writing “Happy Birthday” on someone’s Facebook wall is a fairly simple process. If you are good friends, you write it, and if you are just acquaintances, you generally don’t. But what happens when everyone at college is no more than an acquaintance over the first month or so? Should you write “Happy Birthday” to only those who you think will be your friends in the future, or to everyone on your floor, or somewhere in between?
Advice: If you are Facebook friends with someone on your floor, and you have spoken to them directly at some point, make the effort. You never know with whom you will bond throughout the year, and college is all about networking and being on the good side of as many people as possible. The longer you are here, the more you will realize that everyone knows almost everyone else, and a simple “Oh my god, you’re 19! Lol” can go a long way.
The relationship status
If you find that special someone during your freshman year, especially on your floor, and want to make it “Facebook official,” make sure you are in it for the long haul. Gossip spreads like wildfire on dorm floors, so if this is just a fling, keep it offline. On the other hand, making a relationship official on Facebook can dispel rumors of who likes who, who is hooking up, etc. Also, avoid “Open Relationship” and “It’s Complicated” statuses at all costs. They will only confuse people and give grounds for more whispers over ramen and Easy Mac.
Advice: If you are in a serious, committed relationship that will not be swayed by Popov and Gatorade, say you are in a relationship. If you are looking for someone, mark yourself as “Single.” If you want people to mind their own business, don’t post a relationship status at all.
Any non-frat college party worth having seems to have a Facebook event page these days. As freshmen, dorm parties are difficult to pull off, but for off-campus residents, these pages can be helpful if done correctly. First off, never make a party event page “public.” You will get far more partygoers than expected, as many at the College are often desperate for a rather scarce party scene. Only invite those that you actually want to attend. Second, the beauty of Facebook is that you can plan a party with little to no confusion as to the details. If necessary, post directions to the house, where to park or not to park, if you want money at the door and whether or not friends are welcome.
Advice: Most of us got into this school because of our academic efficiency, and Facebook can make social gatherings as efficient as desired. Use it to your advantage.
Now go, disregard all of this and enjoy your college experience.