In an article written by Victor Luckerson in the November 15 issue of Time entitled "When Colleges Look Up Applicants on Facebook: The Unspoken New Admissions Test," Luckerson reported that your Facebook information can show up in unlikely places such as the college application process. Mr. Luckerson goes on to say that while 25 percent of school officials admit to looking up students on Facebook, most administrators remain silent as to how they use the information. It is no wonder that high school students counteract by changing their profile names as a safeguard "from the prying eyes of college admissions officers," as Luckerson puts it.
My question is: Does this new admissions test feed into the existing insidious behavior in the high-tech world? Has the 21st century positioned eyes on every move we make? Moreover, where do we find places to be ourselves without being reduced to a disguise? When the resolutions for applicants are to create phony accounts or only post those things that make them appear the perfect candidate for college admission officers, we have entered a world where a fashioned public image has deleted the core self.
We already know there is a quandary associated with social media. Most Facebook users are guilty of posting fabrications at some point in time. Like when someone gets fired from a job in the real world, but continues to post about how much they love their job even though they are not working there anymore. And those who have posted the excitement of applying to a college, but never share that they did not get accepted. Or how about when someone is trying to attract a potential mate by posting the sexiest photograph they have, only to disappoint when they meet for coffee? One could say that these examples are harmless and would most likely be perceived as trivial by college admission officers.
On a more serious note, people who use Facebook quite often share their political, social, and religious views; yet the society's division on these topics makes true sentiments open to unfair scrutiny. In the world of Facebook, the sticky situations we find ourselves were never meant to become a barometer for any kind of important future endeavor. Let us keep in mind that when applicants present themselves to higher educational institutions, they show the idyllic sides of themselves. The person they aspire to be, their best academic self.
For the most part, the honesty level exhibited outside the private realm is far from the real self. The truth is no one is perfect, but entering the biggest identity registry of the world reduces our lives to a form, and, at that, a superlative form of the self. A standard that is hard to live up to and, in essence, encourages role-play. Facebook is a place where faces change, it is inconsistent and not a reliable source for the decisions that higher education officers have to make. Using Facebook as a measurement of one's ability to succeed in an educational institution is more than just a violation of one's privacy. The practice furthers the facade most Facebook users create in the first place. No question, Facebook broadens our network, but the drawback of this type of exchange makes us more self-conscious, which results in pretensions. No matter how benign or malevolent the status updates are, the admissions officer would have a difficult job determining myth from truth.