I’ve decided to shut down my Facebook page sometime before the end of the year. I don’t feel comfortable there. Never did.
So, if you want to catch the photos of my summer trip to Lake Superior, do it before January 1st. And for posterity, here is my latest Facebook profile picture, taken at our home at Sandy Lake near good ole Kent, Ohio.
My students love Facebook. It’s a wonderful way for them to stay connected to friends and to expand their social network. And Facebook has the public relations and marketing types licking their chops with 10 million students as perfect targets for their viral campaigns.
As everyone knows by now, Facebook is the online social network that took college campuses by storm the past two years. And it may soon make Mark Zuckerburg a billionaire if Yahoo makes the long-rumored deal. My younger son, now a senior at Miami University, introduced me to Facebook. And because I have an “edu” email address and an abiding interest in Web 2.0 media, I had to jump in and test it.
Right after I published my page, I asked, “What kind of exhibitionist puts this kind of personal data out there for all to see.” And yeah, I ask the same question every time I post to this blog. But that’s another story.
Why leave Facebook now? Simply put, Facebook makes me feel like a voyeur standing outside the girls’ locker room. I guess that’s partly because 75% of my Facebook “friends” are women, most of them young enough to be my daughters. Hey, can I help it if I teach in a major that’s 90% female?
It’s gotten better in recent months, but I still see way too many messages and way too many photos that make this old professor blush. And believe me when I tell you, I’m no prude.
During my first months on Facebook, I couldn’t resist telling my students to clean up their acts. “Do you really want a future employer to see that photograph? How do you think that outfit reflects on your professionalism? When did you start smoking? Oh, only when you pound shots of Grey Goose! I see.”
Students now know that employers aren’t at all shy about checking their Facebook images. And many have really toned down their online images — several at my prompting. But others remain unfazed. I stopped offering advice to my “friends” months ago, and I don’t check out their profiles much any more. They resent it when I do. So I’ve gotta go.
Now that you know my rationale for signing off of Facebook, let me know what you think. Should I stay or should I go (with apologies to the Clash)? And since I almost certainly will leave Facebook no matter what you say, should I bother migrating to My Space? Or is that SSDD?
I don’t like to make hasty decisions, so I’m giving this one ’til January 1st. Meantime, I plan to spend a little less time on Facebook and a little more time helping the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with its deer population problem. It’s that time of year.