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Facebook Tips

If you’re like most college students, you have a Facebook profile. But what does your profile say about you? And who actually has access to your profile? Read on for some tips on having fun with Facebook and other communities without compromising your safety or image.

The Benefits of Facebook

Two words: social networking. Facebook is the place to go if you want to meet fellow students who may love Katy Perry or Family Guy. It provides a way to connect with friends, classmates and people in your residence hall. Many students use Facebook to keep in touch with friends from high school. Undeniably, for thousands of students, Facebook has made the transition to college easier—future roommates frequently share information before ever setting foot on campus. It’s a place to make new friends, catch up with old friends and, of course, share all those photos from your trip to London and last night’s party.

The Downside

If all of the above sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Any forum for online information sharing carries with it certain risks. Some of the annoyances and dangers associated with Facebook include:

Image is Everything

Along with safety, Facebook users should think about the image they want to project to the world. More and more, school administrators, professors and potential employers are using Facebook to learn about students and make decisions that could have long-lasting consequences for your future. Here are some issues to consider:

On the flip-side, if you’re job hunting or looking to impress your professors, you can use Facebook or MySpace to your advantage. Think about posting pictures that make you look good: that hiking trip in Costa Rica, that great catch in the football game or your performance at the orchestra concert. Also, join groups that focus on positive topics like breast cancer awareness, fighting global warming or supporting an athletic team.

Facebook Safety Tips

Luckily, you don’t need to delete your Facebook account to stay safe. A few simple steps can help protect you, your identity and your image:

To Post or Not to Post

Before putting up personal information or a new photo in Facebook, remind yourself who other than your friends can view your profile:

Note to MySpace Users
The guidelines offered here for Facebook can be applied to MySpace or any other social community as well. Realize, however, that MySpace offers even fewer personal protections than Facebook. Whereas Facebook defaults to regional privacy settings, MySpace is open to everyone.

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