Sunday, February 11, 2007

Facebook: Does it Help or Hinder Hiring?

College graduates are beginning to face a brand new dilemma. While months ago they were being told to increase the privacy of online profiles, now Facebook, pictured on the right, is becoming a networking and job-hunting asset. This has inspired me to take a new approach to my post by commenting on two other blogs recently discussing Facebook and hiring practices. My comments can be seen in the following two paragraphs. The first post I chose to comment on is from the blog Unit Structures by Fred Stutzman, a Ph.D. student and established businessman. In his recent blog post entitled “You're not my Friend: A new look at Privacy on Facebook,” Stutzman researches how many undergraduate students use available privacy options for the site. The second post I commented on is by Katie Fehrenbacher, a reporter for GigaOM, who focuses on technology and companies. Her blog, “Jobster Gets a Facebook Lift,” comments on the recent agreement between the job posting site and Facebook.

“You're not my Friend: A new look at Privacy on Facebook”
First, I would like to say that I found your post and research interesting. However, I would like to disagree with, and expand on, some of your points. While you seemed surprised by the number of undergrads using privacy controls, stating, “We're no longer in a paradigm where privacy isn't important to students; they are mindful of their privacy and are acting to protect their interests,” your findings show that fewer than thirty percent of students were using these controls. Considering some of the content on many Facebook pages, such as addresses, telephone numbers, and explicit and personal pictures, this seems like far too small of a percentage. Additionally, you focused on how many students blocked other campus-affiliated parties from their profiles- is this really the issue? Since Facebook has expanded to allow just about anyone to join, it seems that the real concern is how many undergraduates are restricting those from outside of their college or university. More specifically, problems have occurred when employers or hiring managers have found a way to access student profiles to view their information.

“Jobster Gets a Facebook Lift”
Your post brings up many interesting questions about the direction Facebook is taking and how this will affect undergraduates currently utilizing the service. As “Jobster is adding a ’share on Facebook’ button on Thursday that will pull in aspects of the Jobster profile onto your Facebook page,” profiles on the site will now transform from a personal to a professional networking service. I wonder if this will create as much of an outcry from enraged Facebook users as the new “News Feed” option did, which gave the site much less of a private feel. In a way, linking Facebook to job searching takes the fun out of Facebook, which was originally created as a way to let college students network and share with their friends. College students have already been warned about having to try and hide their profiles from potential and current employers by raising privacy settings and taking off content that would seem inappropriate to such parties. Are they taking the fun out of Facebook, or was Facebook only a business venture in the first place?

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