Seriously, too much information

As an integrated communications major, I am all for social media.

As a matter of fact, I am simultaneously checking Facebook as I am writing this column.

But as much of an advocate  as I am for using the great trends of today’s society, I   think some people have taken it too far.

Let me paint you a picture.

The other day after lunch, my roommates and I were innocently playing around on our computers.  We were checking email, YouTube and Facebook trying to find the best way to waste time before class.

Most of what we found on Facebook was not bad.

Normal status updates about classes, football games, songs and positive things in life—you know, stuff most people would enjoy knowing about on a regular basis.

But then we came across something that disturbed us: statuses and pictures that crossed the line.

We found updates about love, sex and personal things no one would ever want to read about.

We saw pictures of people in inappropriate poses that embarrass themselves and their friends.

We saw pictures of underage drinking posted for the world to see.

To each their own, but I do not think I would ever take it that far.

Why post anything that will get you in trouble or cause problems for yourself or your friends?

Let me fill you in on something—it is not hard to find information on Facebook.  In fact, we did not even search for this information.  It came up on our news feed.

With information so easy to find on social networking sites, people should not post things they don’t want employers, friends or family to see. Please, for the sake of all of your “friends,” go tell someone in person.

It seems that Facebook is full of people who over share and do not seem to understand its implications.

Now I am not saying I am not guilty of posting too much information. Does anyone really need to know that “Jacqueline Cromleigh loves this fall weather?” Probably not. But I enjoy posting it.

I love Facebook, but I do not abuse it.  In fact many people love Facebook without publishing personal information that no one needs or wants to know.

Do these people not understand that everyone can see this information?  If their privacy controls are not set correctly, people could gain access to things like their profiles, updates and pictures.

Personally, I do not do anything online that would cause an employer to question me.

This was made more certain to me when my dad showed me openbook.org.  It’s a Web site that lets anyone search status updates of Facebook members, even those they aren’t friends with.

Though I have not found statuses of anyone I know, it made me realize how much information is actually out there.

Things can be found as quickly as they are posted and quite possibly come back to bite you.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said, “I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time.”

If that is not a scary thought, then I don’t know what is.

The article goes on to say, “Every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.”

If this is true, would it not be in our best interest to realize what we are posting could someday have harmful ramifications?

Social networking sites like Facebook do provide great benefits if used in the right way.

Not only does it allow you to express yourself, but it allows you to connect to others with a faster mode of communication.

I would never deny the positives of the Internet, but I am asking those who share too much information to consider the suffering of their friends and the implications for their futures.

An article on whoswatchingcharlottesville.org, a Web site dedicated to informing the Charlottesville community about the risks  and benefits of the Internet stated, “It’s important to recognize that once you publish something online, it is available to other people and to search engines. You can’t retract it.”

So maybe the next time you post your personal information or photographs for my roommates and I to creep on, you will realize what you’re getting yourself into.

Maybe that photo comment is not worth the “paper” trail down the road.

Well, T.M.I., I am logging out.

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