The parameters for what is acceptable and unacceptable for Facebook usage have drastically changed since the creation of Facebook. In Facebook’s early development, it was used as a tool for fun. Users kept in touch with their friends and family. As Facebook became more popular, the ultimate goals of using Facebook stayed the same, but the way that people utilize this social media has changed due to generational differences as well as advancements in a person’s life.
Facebook has evolved into something now that is between fun and professional. Facebook is so popular now, that students are censoring and worrying about the content they post. I know a peer who even lost her job at Oswego State as a recycling technician because the supervisor found a photo of her with a bottle of liquor sitting on a table in the background. She didn’t notice the bottle lingering in the picture until it was too late. Her job was already given to someone else. Even people that want to spend three hours a day sitting with garbage can’t seem to catch a break when enjoying some spirits on the weekends.
Is it that the expectations of Facebook are transforming, or are we growing and maturing into a different time period where we need to alter the way we use social media?
My sister is 11 years old. She posts on Facebook carelessly. Of course she is not swearing or posting anything obscene, but her posts are less weighty than if I posted, because I have more people watching me on social media that I need to be wary of. No one is bothering to screen my sisters’ Facebook, as she is not preparing herself to break into a professional industry.
Dillon McCauley, sophomore at Oswego State, says that in high school, it was very important that members of sport teams (he was a member of one) behave, and this meant keeping risky photos off Facebook. Coaches viewed athletes’ Facebooks, and contrary to my views, McCauley feels that posting pictures of drinking and weekend partying is not as big of a deal in college, as it was for him in high school. McCauley did contribute, though, that his cousin deleted his Facebook entirely after college, so that Facebook would not be an obstacle for professional opportunities.
“Back then I was reckless with it,” said Sherrod Spencer, sophomore at Oswego State. “Now I will be more careful. The only thing I post is about sport teams.”
When it comes to friending people on Facebook, I also find that there is a discrepancy between the days I began using Facebook until now. Now that I am mindful of who is viewing my posts, pictures and information, I am more careful in regard to who I accept as a friend, and even who has current access to my profile for professional reasons as well as security reasons! When I first started using Facebook, I friended nearly everyone in my graduating class, plus other people in my high school. McCauley says that his friends from high school no longer post on the social media site. However, I think that since McCauley has removed himself from that high school circle, friends from high school do not appear in his newsfeed. McCauley says he doesn’t worry about who can view his profile, because he never added a large group on Facebook from the start. I personally have been weeding through my friend list, deleting people I dislike, deleting people who post ignorant political jests in statuses, and even deleting people who come up in my birthday wish section that I don’t recognize. Get these people off my profile! They do not need to have access to my Facebook and my life. I would never have been concerned about this in ninth grade.
When it comes to accepting people on Facebook, I myself have become very strict on who I accept, which is rarely anyone. I only accept requests from people I personally know and on rare occasions, I will accept a request from a good-looking fellow. When asking Spencer about who he accepts on Facebook, he said his criteria is to only accept people who have a minimum of three mutual friends with him.
Sophomore Becca Kave brings up an interesting point about Facebook, which is that the components that made Facebook relevant now have their own forms of media. For example, posting a status on Facebook is still popular, but not as popular as tweeting and Twitter is a social media site particularly created for text. Instagram is a social media app for posting pictures, another component of Facebook. While posting statuses and photos on Facebook is still done, it is way more acceptable to post text and selfies on Twitter and Instagram several times a day, whereas it may be deemed as overkill on Facebook.
Consequently, Facebook is a social media that is constantly changing. As we grow and become professional adults, we must alter our profiles to reflect that change. It seems that Facebook is an extension of us, and as we update ourselves, we also update our Facebooks.