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10 Percent of Colleges Check Applicants' Social Profiles 398

theodp writes "Confirming paranoid high-schoolers' fears, a new Kaplan survey reveals that 10% of admissions officers from prestigious schools said they had peeked at sites like Facebook and MySpace to evaluate college-bound seniors. Of those using the profiles, 38% said it had a 'negative impact' on the applicant. 'Today's application is not just what you send ... but whatever they can Google about you,' said Kaplan's Jeff Olson. At Notre Dame, assistant provost for enrollment Dan Saracino said he and his staff sometimes come across candidates portraying themselves in a less-than-flattering light. 'It's typically inappropriate photos — like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said. On the other hand, using the Internet to vet someone's character seems overly intrusive to Northwestern's Christopher Watson. 'We consider Facebook and MySpace their personal space,' the dean of undergraduate admissions said. 'It would feel somewhat like an invasion of privacy.'" We recently discussed similar practices from prospective employers.
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10 Percent of Colleges Check Applicants' Social Profiles

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:00PM (#25093471)

    If you can't figure that out, you shouldn't be getting into good schools.

    • by Yer Mum ( 570034 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:10PM (#25093559)
      What happens if you can figure it out but your friend who took the photo and uploaded it can't?
      • by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:30PM (#25093715) Journal

        take responsibility for your own actions?

        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:36PM (#25093771)

          Punch him in the face?

          • by electrictroy ( 912290 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @03:29PM (#25095679)

            I think people (meaning those rejecting college applications) need to stop being so uptight.

            I drink beer. So what?

            • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @04:29PM (#25096283) Homepage Journal
              "I think people (meaning those rejecting college applications) need to stop being so uptight."

              Nice wish, and in an ideal world it would be so.

              Unfortunately, that is NOT the world we live in.....so, get used to it. Publishing photos of your self, nekkid, with a bottle of Jack in one hand, and a skull bong in the other can keep you out of a good school. It can also keep you out of a good job later in life.

              And Lord help you if you ever wanted to get into politics later in life, that stuff will last forever, and can and will be dug up to be used against you.

              Yep, it would be great if people weren't so uptight, but, alas....that is not the world we live in.

            • by ragefan ( 267937 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @05:05PM (#25096627)

              I think people (meaning those rejecting college applications) need to stop being so uptight.

              I drink beer. So what?

              Probably because if an applicant is willing to disregard the laws in order to underage drink or perform other illegal activities and flaunt them on the internet then likely he or she have no qualms with breaking the college honor code.

              When Admissions has at least an order of magnitude more applications than open slots, they can afford to be picky about those things.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jstott ( 212041 )

              I drink beer. So what?

              Its like a job interview - if you don't care about your own application enough to clean up your public image (and Facebook is public), then why should I take you seriously?

              If your Facebook page makes you look like an idiot, then yes, I do question how seriously you intend to study here at ExampleU. A competitive college gets many more applicants than they can possibly accept, public information is a pretty good way to weed out the pile and discover who's likely a good student and who

        • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:57PM (#25093959) Homepage

          take responsibility for your own actions?

          And what exactly does that mean in practise? If everything private is free to be put on the Intarwebs by someone else, then you don't have a private life. It doesn't mean that you have to be ashamed of it or anything, but it means it's no longer private. There's a difference between "taking responsibility" by using a condom when banging your girlfriend and "taking responsibility" for the video being on porntube against your will. I think you can find many examples of socially accepted behaviour where putting it online isn't if you think about it.

        • In other words, if you ever want to do anything but be a bum, you have to live life like Ward Cleaver.

          A world were "holding up a can of beer at a party" is something that should disqualify anyone from anything is not a world I want to live in. There are several pictures of me holding a beer or a glass of wine on Facebook. They don't reflect anything remotely negative about me.

          Yes, people should use judgment (i.e. not let pictures of themselves naked, etc. onto the Internet), but I shouldn't have to be held hostage by people's crazy hangups. People don't always just sit in their houses and read the New York Times.

        • by Artraze ( 600366 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:17PM (#25094221)

          > take responsibility for your own actions?

          So are you trying to say that people shouldn't drink, have sex, or do anything else that others would consider inappropriate so as to ensure such actions could never be photographed and posted online? Or when you say "your own actions" you mean the actions of the person that's taking the picture and then posting it?

          There are a lot of things that people can do very responsibly, like drinking and having sex, and I for one don't care (in principle) if the events are cataloged by photo or what have you. The trouble is, however, that other (such as these colleges) view such behavior as 'inappropriate'. That's why many people will not post such things on the internet. The problem here is that some people _will_ post pictures/accounts regardless of the wishes of those in the pictures/accounts. So unless your idea of taking responsibility involves a shotgun, I fail to see how it, in any way, helps the situation.

          (Of course, the real problem lies in the hypocrisy of the admissions boards. I highly doubt that they never went to parties or had sex or did something that looked stupid for laughs. But for some reason the fact that these kids doing the same means that the will make shitty students? Give me a break. I've got a lot of respect for those boards that consider these pages to be personal and don't look as to avoid biasing themselves with information they know isn't relevant.)

          • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:28PM (#25094315)
            The context here is 17-year-olds holding up a beer can and posing for the camera. There is a difference between not drinking and not drinking under-age: only one is illegal. There is also a difference between doing something illegal and doing something illegal while posing for your friend to take a photo: one is arguably a bad idea, but the other is plain stupid.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Blackknight ( 25168 )

              OMG, somebody drinking a beer! When I was 17 I did a lot of stupid/illegal stuff but I turned out to be a productive member of society.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by QuoteMstr ( 55051 )

              Legality does not define morality. Rules should flow the other way. A 17-year old drinking beer is not immoral, and therefore should not be illegal.

              As Thoreau said, we have not only a right, but a duty to disobey unjust laws.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by billcopc ( 196330 )

            Hypocrisy is how the most obnoxious nation in the world has demonized the oldest forms of entertainment, and is now whining because those demons are out of control.

            Killing is fine if it's in the name of "god", fraud is fine if you call it "banking", but nudity will not be tolerated in any form, unless you cover your nipples.

            What the fuck kind of warped mind came up with that ? The mindset is most definitely not in line with the majority of Americans I've known.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Yer Mum ( 570034 )

          Won't get you very far in a society where what's important is image not responsibility, where nobody takes responsibility until the image comes out, and even if there's a reasonable explanation for the image then responsibility must be seen to be taken (a different thing) because the image is more important than the actual facts.

    • by Kneo24 ( 688412 )

      Well, yes and no. Yes, in the fact that sites like myspace and what you post for everyone to see isn't private. It's still personal, but that's just semantics.

      In the same token, there are things we can and do privately on the internet, but I doubt you were really targeting that with your post. So this is a bit moot.

      • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:36PM (#25093783) Journal

        Actually, I don't think it's moot. The idea that semantics can be played here means that a given percentile of the populace will be confused and not understand the dangers of posting a picture of their friend on the internet passed out, with the caption including their name and the particular substance involved. So a future employer check their myspace page, and pages of all his best friends. One lost job in the making, and not through personal mistakes, but because friends talk too much.

        Personal information on the Internet is dangerous. My own family mocks my attempts to tell them not to do it, and to be very careful about what their friends post. Despite that there are pictures that are less than complimentary on line of them. I don't think that anyone can stress enough how those semantics will not protect them from a nosy prospective employer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink ( 130905 )
          Who really wants to work for an employer who won't hire you just because you've been drunk after hours? Or even just holding a mug of beer with friends doing silly but fairly harmless stuff?

          The upcoming generation seem to take a lot of pictures (often unflattering or just silly) of themselves and their friends, and post them straight to their blogs or other pages. So it seems to me the future bunch of CEOs and bosses would probably have plenty of pictures of them passed out/drunk on such sites, maybe even w
    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:14PM (#25093591) Homepage Journal

      Very true. It is also true that if you think what someone puts on Facebook and MySpace is relevant to their academic performance, then you shouldn't be in charge of admissions decisions for a good school, or any school. If you think it's relevant to job performance, you shouldn't be making hiring decisions, either.

      There. That disposes of the question of what people "shouldn't" be doing. Now, back to the real world.

      • by mgkimsal2 ( 200677 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:33PM (#25093745) Homepage

        Since when has a school been *just* about academics? Isn't it also about the 'life experience' aspect too?

        Since when has a 'job' *just* been about 'performance'? Doesn't your personality and ability to fit in with others have anything to do with how well you'll do on a job?

        • by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:56PM (#25093949)

          I don't go to college for the "life experience." I go for the degree. If socialization was the goal, I'd do it without spending thousands of dollars a semester.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Yetihehe ( 971185 )

          Doesn't your personality and ability to fit in with others have anything to do with how well you'll do on a job?

          Yes. If someone does not have photos at party, it means he doesn't fit with others well.

      • by discontinuity ( 792010 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:06PM (#25094067)

        Very true. It is also true that if you think what someone puts on Facebook and MySpace is relevant to their academic performance, then you shouldn't be in charge of admissions decisions for a good school, or any school. If you think it's relevant to job performance, you shouldn't be making hiring decisions, either.

        I'll play devil's advocate here. I happen to agree that this kind of thing shouldn't matter, but I think I understand the admissions perspective:

        For the college admissions people this is an odds game. The number of applicants who are qualified based on test scores, grades and all the normal junk is larger than the number of spaces they have. Given this, how do they pare it down? Perhaps Googling or checking out the Facebook/MySpace pages for some of the "borderline" students is more practical than throwing darts? I'm guessing their belief is that a student who gave in to peer pressure and the like in high school has worse odds of being successful in college where such pressures go unchecked by parents, etc. I'm not saying it's right, but I think I see where they're coming from.

        Now, all of that being said, I think students who are somewhat sheltered in high school are just as likely, and perhaps even more likely, to succumb to the temptations and pressures of college life. I've seen more than a couple people who were honors students in high school simply go off the deep end upon arriving at college. Conversely, I've known several who were "party types" in high school who decided that it was time to get serious about life when they got to college and have been very successful since then. It's just really hard to know how people will react until you do the experiment.

        I for one am glad that MySpace and camera phones weren't around when I was a teenager!

    • by Nursie ( 632944 )

      I would question whether a college has any business judging people to such an extent on somethng as trivial as a can of beer.

      OTOH, this is the good 'ol US of A we're talking about. Weirdos.

  • Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haluness ( 219661 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:01PM (#25093473)

    Don't put up what you don't want other people to see - I hear all about the new generation growing up with the Internet and Facebook being a part of their life.

    But what about simple commonsense rules (either derived on their own or imbibed from parents)?

    Would you make a fool of yourself in the street (OK, some people would)?

    • Re:Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Revolver4ever ( 860659 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:23PM (#25093665)
      It's easy to do that. And while I'm sure lots of people post pictures of themselves doing stupid things, I would be more worried about my friends, enemies, girlfriends, ex's, bystanders, even family posting pictures or writing blog posts about me without my knowledge or consent. If a university finds a blog post that mentions my name and how kinky I am in bed especially after drinking and smoking and getting a tattoo written by my ex who wants to get back at me..what do you do?
    • Re:Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:30PM (#25093711)

      It's funny how most parents spend a considerable amount of time telling their kids "it doesn't matter what other people think" when it comes to things like peer pressure or social interaction, and then we go right back around and tell them it's important what other people think and your life is ruined if you make a fool out of yourself, whether on the street or online.

      It's either one or the other, people. Either it doesn't matter what people think, and you can wear a toga when you're sweeping your lawn with a vacuum cleaner, or it matters what people think and you should be devastated that Kristen thinks you're a retard because you won't spend 150$ on a pair of jeans.

      Or maybe, just maybe, parents should be telling their kids the truth: "it always matters what important people think, but determining importance is an exercise in good judgment. Since you're a teenager, your judgment sucks, so I'll decide for you who should be important to you."

      I'm sure this wouldn't come over so well stated precisely like that, but I'm sure someone could come up with a better way of saying it.

    • Re:Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:33PM (#25093751)

      Fair enough. People should be careful what they post (I know I am).

      But in another sense, this issues is shining a light on a fundamental hypocrisy in our society. Were teens before the Internet angels? I think not. They vandalized, they drank, they did drugs, they pushed boundaries... just like the teens of today. But, their actions were easier to keep private. Now with SMS, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Google, etc., all these kinds of things are more consistently cataloged and disseminated. Even if you don't post it yourself, a friend (or enemy) might post it. And it will be indexed.

      The hypocrisy comes in from the social elders who now judge these teens. They see a teen holding a can of beer, and deem them irresponsible. Yet, the vast majority of those judging did the exact same thing when they were a teen. Holding this next generation to a higher standard is hypocritical. How many of the great men and women in society did the same kinds of things? (According to statistics: most of them.) And what does it accomplish? Does it actually reduce the activitie(s), or just teach teens how to hide and lie?

      I think it's time that society in general got a little more honest and realistic about what teens are up to. They drink, they have sex, they do all kinds of crazy things. I'm not saying that we give them free reign to do whatever they want without consequences. But I'm sick of holding them to unrealistic expectations, and teaching them habits that amount to "hide the truth" rather than "enjoy life in a balanced and responsible way."

      • Precisely. I wish I hadn't already posted -- a mod up of your post would have done more good.

        If someone posted a picture of himself having sex on the Internet, that may reflect on his judgment. If someone posted a picture of himself and his buddies at a party with beers, that just means he's like every other human, teenage or otherwise, on the planet.

        Hypersensitive moralists of any stripe need to get over themselves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Arterion ( 941661 )

      Almost all kids do things that others would frown on. Just because you find nothing about someone online doesn't mean they don't do it -- only that there is no indication of them doing it online.

      It leads to the fallacious reasoning "Oh, student xxxx doesn't have any online profiles of him drinking and having sex, and student yyyyy does. That must mean student xxxxx doesn't do those things and student yyyyy does. Therefore, student xxxxx is a better choice."

      It sounds like that's the argument, and, even if

  • by Cheza ( 1242376 )
    In other news... The earth is still round.
  • by Puff of Logic ( 895805 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:02PM (#25093487)
    This is a completely legitimate practice. After all, if we don't catch people holding up cans of beer at a party before they are admitted, why, they'll be doing it at colleges around the country next before you know it!
    • That would make an excellent "the onion" article :)

      In other news: If I apply for a position and get a reply for a prospective boss or coworker, I check to see what kind of person it is. Before applying I look on the companies website to see if they have pages with current employees. These are put there for a reason. Working is all about having a good fit between you and your colleagues. If you are a more conservative tie-and-suit person, and you find that your prospective boss is a pot-smoking hippie acco

  • 'It's typically inappropriate photos -- like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said.

    HOLY S***!!!! Someone is holding up a beer can in a picture and smiling. No self respecting person would ever do that!

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#25093507)
    'It's typically inappropriate photos â" like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said

    Riiiight. Because nobody who has had a picture taken holding a can of beer could possibly benefit from a higher education, or be a net positive for society.

    Cripes. Makes me glad I'm decades past my college days.
    • "Riiiight. Because nobody who has had a picture taken holding a can of beer could possibly benefit from a higher education, or be a net positive for society."

      Point taken, but such a student may indeed be far less likely to contribute to that university's Nobel Prize count. However, of course, that doesn't seem to have an effect on the count of US Presidents that come from a student body, although I'm thinking that Yale might be a little ashamed of #43.

      • by gnarled ( 411192 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:35PM (#25093765) Homepage

        Point taken, but such a student may indeed be far less likely to contribute to that university's Nobel Prize count.

        Are you sure? I bet if Richard Feynman had had a Facebook profile it would have been pretty scandalous.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Feynman was a pain in the ass to administrators and bureaucrats, I can certainly imagine petty bureaucrats passing up a student potential-Feynman in order to make their own lives easier. (Before Nobel-worthiness is proven, of course. Once you're a proven genius then you can be as eccentric as you want and people will make allowances. They couldn't kick Feynman out of Los Alamos for safe-cracking, but a non-famous student picking the lock on the Dean's office...?)

    • by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:23PM (#25093663) Homepage Journal
      Maybe it's just my read but I do believe that "holding up a beer can at a party" is really just a placeholder phrase for all the jackass things people post of themselves on the internet. In the US it has become apparent to me that mostly what counts is image. From products to politics it is not necessarily a good product (only) that wins out, it is a product that has a good image with the public.

      As my mother-in-law says, if you're alive you're in business. So don't be a dolt and publicly post stuff that could have a deleterious effect on your image.
    • Riiiight. Because nobody who has had a picture taken holding a can of beer could possibly benefit from a higher education, or be a net positive for society.

      The problem isn't that you are holding a single can of beer.

      The problem is that you are totally sloshed and barely able to stand.

      The problem is that you are an exhibitionist drunk - lewd and obnoxious. The problem is that this isn't your first such performance on YouTube.

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      'It's typically inappropriate photos -- like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said
      Riiiight. Because nobody who has had a picture taken holding a can of beer could possibly benefit from a higher education, or be a net positive for society.

      Cripes. Makes me glad I'm decades past my college days.

      It makes me glad I'm not in the USA for college. The university I attended in London had several bars on campus (some run by the students, some run by the university). The first thing on my timetable was something like "Computing department new students party" where the head of department told us if we drank all the wine they'd provided she'd see to it that there was more next time.

    • by Indagator ( 1266958 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @03:05PM (#25095409)

      Riiiight. Because nobody who has had a picture taken holding a can of beer could possibly benefit from a higher education, or be a net positive for society.

      I would say that it betrays a serious lack of judgement.

      Specifically, everyone knows that American beers that come in cans are shit. If the prospective student can't even discern that, how can you expect them to perform in rigorous courses?

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#25093517) Homepage Journal
    for accuracy. First its really easy to blackmail someone by creating an account with their bio, and probably next to impossible to get it down. Secondly, esp. with more common names, its really easy to find someone with the same name who is totally unrelated to the applicant. Should you be judged based on what that person does? Finally, how many people actually take the time to really interpret what a quick google search reveals? A search for my real name without quotes, esp. my full name, reveals tons of porn. I guess I just better hope that nobody tries to search for me on the internet without taking the time to do a proper query(and even then all they will find is my embarrassing performance in the one and only sanctioned chess tournament I ever participated in....)
    • by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:24PM (#25093673)

      Hell, I have a surname I have to spell for people, and a quick Google leads to the conclusion that I have my own band, regularly do shows of my art, and hold degrees in Computer Science and Medicine. Suffice to say, most of that isn't accurate.

      Sooner or later someone (university admissions, potentional employer, whatever) is going to get themselves badly sued over this, and frankly it serves them right for making snap judgments based on what amounts to unproven rumours.

      • Sadly, when college admissions are as hypercompetitive as they are now, it will be very easy for the university to defend against that lawsuit by claiming myriad other small reasons the candidate was not accepted.

        The real loss for the universities is that admissions decisions are being made based on irrelevant bullshit (if "holding a beer" and not "making a total drunken idiot of yourself" is really the criterion), not the wealth of actual useful information the candidates provide.

    • Don't forget to mention how easy it is to photo-shop a picture. Stick a person's face on a something inappropriate and you have that 'bad shot'.

      For those people who say, it is easy to distinguish a photo-shop picture, remember we are talking about some administrative worker who is focused upon paperwork. They may examine the picture all of 5 seconds. It is not going to be examined closely like a fake ID to get beer or a Passport to get in and out the country.

      • Not to mention you can do all sorts of tricks, make it a low res shot, make it "blurry" etc to aid the illusion. Esp. with the camera phone craze, someone will just think it was shot with a terrible camera, not think that it was photoshopped.
    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      I doubt they look twice.

      Just like employers that do the same sort of 'background checks', they don't bother and just move on to the next while you never knew what happened.

      Even if its your face, who is to say it wasn't grafted on?

  • Beer (Score:5, Funny)

    by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:06PM (#25093521) Journal

    'It's typically inappropriate photos -- like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said.

    ... "Because," Saracino continues, "Beer is not the sort of thing people drink at college."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CodeBuster ( 516420 )

      Beer is not the sort of thing people drink at college.

      Says the college administrator while he pours himself a scotch from the bottle on the bookshelf...

  • Honestly. It's no news that high school kids drink, do drugs, and fuck each others brains out. So what? You expect them to not do that when they need to wind down?

    I think a reality check is in order. I can understand checking for a long history of a criminal background and seeing that they've done nothing to curb it, sure. They're probably a liability; but some kid who parties with his friends? No more or less a liability than the next person, given the odds.

  • Scariest here... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:09PM (#25093551)

    Their reliance on the fact that the profiles are "real"

    Of those using the profiles, 38% said it had a 'negative impact' on the applicant. 'Today's application is not just what you send ... but whatever they can Google about you,'

    Suppose a person has a grudge against you. They know you are applying for admission to a certain school. They know the school searches for myspace profiles or other profiles on social networking sites.

    The person anonymizes themselves using proxies and creates a fake facebook or myspace profile. They use your name and general location: they include some nasty message/text that would be seen as highly negative.

    The admissions office searches for your name. They find this page. They have no real way to verify whether or not you posted the page.

    Their decision otherwise would be to admit you to their school, but they assume you posted this horrible page: it has your name, location, and a few other details that match their records, after all. Their assumption leads to a negative conclusion which prevents you from being admitted.

    The person who posted the info is completely anonymous, and there is no means to locate the person.

    What is your recourse? You will never actually be told the underlying reason for the rejection.

    This is a reason universities should not be "searching" social network sites: until such time as the identity of the site's creator can be proven. They are creating a DoS opportunity for anonymous people to prevent other people from being admitted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kneo24 ( 688412 )

      There's always someone posting what you wrote, and I always laugh. Not because it couldn't happen, but because the chances of it happening to any given person is unlikely.

      I don't disagree that universities shouldn't be using this information to make their decisions, but not for the reasons you've given.

  • Personal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:10PM (#25093561)
    'We consider Facebook and MySpace their personal space,' the dean of undergraduate admissions said. 'It would feel somewhat like an invasion of privacy.'"

    They're being overly sensitive. MySpace isn't private. Information put on the internet, publicly available without a password or other security, should be considered as public as anything on a community bulletin board.

    That's why deeplinking is legal, to refer to the discussion from a few days ago.

    Also, a simple MySpace check can probably tell the college a vast amount of detail about the student... and their level of stupidity. Responsibility and Judgment should be rewarded.
    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      Responsibility and Judgment should be rewarded.

      You can be responsible and have good judgement and still hold a can of beer at a party.

  • That's news to me. Even though I am not in any of the social networking sites (can you believe it?), I was always under the impression that the profiles you create there are, you know, publicly accessible.

    If you don't want information about you to be viewed, it could be a good idea not to publish it online.

  • ..including the internet.

    Arguably the universities should restrict themselves to the application documents and interviews, in the spirit of fair play.

    However, these kids have created publicly viewable profiles for themselves and chosen to leave the privacy settings off so anyone with a net connection can view them. They've then loaded up these profiles with photos and information that make them look bad, and still decided to leave it all open to public view.

    There's no way someone who's done all this could p

  • Any college using this sort of highly dubious character assessment technique would not be a place I would want to study or work.

    Its stupid anyway, hell, If I'd been judged by the things I got up to outside the classroom I'd never have made it past my first year at uni.

  • by compumike ( 454538 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:15PM (#25093597) Homepage

    It doesn't have to be a photo you posted... but someone else could have posted it and tagged you! You essentially have to start assuming that any digital photo taken of you will end up online with your name. Quite scary. Would be nice if there sere some sort of consent-based tagging, requiring your approval, but that's probably too complicated for Facebook to think about.

    Hey code monkey... learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]

    • by Ma8thew ( 861741 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:47PM (#25093873)
      You are alerted when you are tagged. You can remove your tag from other people's photos, and they will not be able to add it again.
    • by jmpeax ( 936370 ) *
      Mod parent up.

      This is what people should be worried about. Social networking sites have privacy settings that essentially allow you to restrict access to your profile to a whitelist of other users. This makes it trivial to ensure that information you publish about yourself is not publicly available.

      However, the problem is that other users can "tag" you (indicate if you are in a certain photo and where your face is) in their own photos. This means that you can't control whether these photos are p
  • Pimp your profile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:24PM (#25093675) Homepage

    The obvious next step is to make your profile a promotional tool. The "high achiever profile" may be the next big thing. You addressing the Junior Chamber of Commerce. You working on a political campaign. You being interviewed on TV.

    Soon, this will be a routine part of getting into college, and there will be services to do this for you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 77Punker ( 673758 )

      I doubt it's necessary. There's hundreds of great colleges all across America; anyone can get accepted to a decent school somewhere here. It might not be Harvard, but that doesn't matter. I went to a fairly unknown university, learned many things, expanded my thinking, gained new perspectives, and did all of the things anyone should do in college.

      I remember from high school that many people are worried about getting in at all or about going to someplace famous. Getting accepted someplace that's decent isn't

    • by D Ninja ( 825055 )

      This already exists. I'm blanking on the name of the company right now, but there is one out there that will do one of two things:

      1. Find crap about you on the internet and clean up your image a bit.


      2. Put some stuff out on the internet about you to make you look better than you really are.

  • If these people think holding up a can of beer at a party is a mark of unintelligence, they can keep their worthless degree. Of what value could their opinion on academic worthiness possibly be if they make such a superficial judgment?
  • The danger here is that these social networking sights have no inherent credibility at all. How does anyone know a facebook page is the student they searched for? It could be a fake page put up by some douche-bag, it could be someone else entirely, or it could be simply an inside joke that the school miss-interpreted.

    I don't buy the argument that going into Facebook or Myspace is some kind of "invasion of privacy". That idea is artificial and created by an insular view of these spaces because parents are

  • by call -151 ( 230520 ) * on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:35PM (#25093767) Homepage

    There was a recent post [cosmicvariance.com] on the physics group blog Cosmic Variance about potential job applicants having webpages and getting Googled during the course of hiring for academic positions- postdocs and faculty. So it's not just the students, it's faculty as well.

    There are lots of questions you can't have on a job application (sexual orientation, religion, etc.) but if an applicant volunteers that information, that is permitted. And the attitude seems to be that if information is on a webpage, it is "volunteered" to the world.

  • Holding a beer at a party is inappropriate? Better cancel several hundred beer commercials then.

  • I worked for a company that had a ton of custom robots crawl Google, Usenet, The Internet Archive and a laundry list of other places your name or moniker might of left a mark. People often use an email address that goes "clevernicknameonlyIwilleveruse789@blah.com" what these things spider for is that clevernickname... part. It was mostly to embarrass people with their sophomoric attempts at debate in newsgroups or to dig up personal websites from their teen years but HR used it too. It discovered one of
  • No sympathy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EWAdams ( 953502 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:43PM (#25093841) Homepage
    If you post stuff about yourself that reflects badly on you, you have no grounds for complaint. Live with the consequences of your actions or don't post. Underage drinking may or may not be a bad idea; telling the world about it definitely is. Why should a college want to admit a moron with no judgment?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 )

      If the stuff you post has no bearing on your ability to be a good student, you do have grounds for complaint. Life shouldn't be limited to whatever is acceptable to admissions officers with an overinflated sense of their ability to judge other people's character. Perhaps you're happy fitting into other people's molds of what people should be, but many people are not. Their personal lives -- even when discussed in public -- should generally have no bearing on your ability to attend college and improve yourse

  • You don't show up for the job interview stoned and wearing a tie dye either. And, "We consider Facebook and MySpace their personal space,' the dean of undergraduate admissions said. 'It would feel somewhat like an invasion of privacy." is just so incredibly stupid. It is a PUBLIC site you morons. If you don't want to be known as a loadie, don't post it. Kids today, (as I sound just like my dad).
  • Surely you're joking, would they have turned away someone like Richard Feynman? [myspace.com] for things like this:

    I went to a beer party in the Nassau Tavern in Princeton. There was a gentleman, newly arrived from Europe (Herbert Jehle) who came and sat next to me. Europeans are much more serious than we are in America because they think that a good place to discuss intellectual matters is a beer party. So, he sat by me and asked, "what are you doing" and so on, and I said, "I'm drinking beer." -- Nobel Prize lecture, 1

  • Ok, so I can understand how people can search MySpace for pics, etc, since that is published to all. That's the point and utility of MySpace, so that you can promote yourself. If you are an artist or a band this is extremely useful.

    However, I don't understand how people can search Facebook. I don't have a Facebook account as it seems useless unless you are part of an organization that uses it widely. The whole point of it is that it seems to be closed (and thus is useless for promoting your work).

  • by zermous ( 1196831 ) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @02:00PM (#25094653)

    It is going to be rough for a while, but I hope that we can watch a new norm get created as a generation who puts their frontstage and backstage personalities waaay too close together online grows up and becomes dominant.

    Pop quiz: you are at a co-worker's desk looking at the monitor and working on something. An IM pops up. Do you avert your eyes? It is dreadfully hard, but we have to try. Folks conduct personal business at work. The internet makes that easy. We need to respect that and avert our eyes when they do it.

    Myspace profiles are a microcosm of the internet: the good and the terrible are side by side in the same place. You have to learn the skill of knowing when not to look, because the only thing stopping you is you. Just because you CAN look at EVERYTHING doesn't mean you should. Just because it is information on the 'public' internet doesn't mean you should look at it. You should treat it as private just as soon as you realize it is something that the individual in question thinks is private.

    Even if you don't follow these rules yourself, I bet you still implicitly follow them a little better than the college admissions boards who really have no clue and no experience with trying to keep public and private personas online. Things will change, if we give it time.

This restaurant was advertising breakfast any time. So I ordered french toast in the renaissance. - Steven Wright, comedian