If you can't keep bosses out of your Facebook, hide the book

Candidates violated by bosses and colleges need ways to hide what they can no longer protect

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Rather than John Smith, the account can be renamed J04n Sm111th__123. Not aesthetically pleasing, but far less likely to get Jack bounced out of line at his 10 colleges of choice than the ineradicable links to that naked after-prom party to which police, DHS and the animal control were forced to respond.

It's not a good option. Changing the account makes it harder for John's friends or Friends to find him. And it's no guarantee college censors won't figure out his new name the way they have plenty of other Facebook accounts hidden by changing Jane Doe to Jan_Doe1.

The right not to be violated in your most personal space

To a certain extent, hiding your Facebook profile is also not honest. It means you're hoping to be chosen for something you might not deserve by concealing the kind of weaknesses that might be most relevant to the decision.

It's not quite cheating, but it's close.

It's also perfectly justifiable, especially if you can't avoid demands by a college or prospective employer that you turn over your password.

Neither one has any right to demand access to your private social-networking accounts any more than they could demand to rifle through your purse or tell you to strip to your boxers for a quick, harmless strip search.

Priorities out of balance, sense of entitlement out of whack

It's bad enough that colleges or anyone else would routinely search Facebook to discover things about candidates the candidates prefer not to disclose. At least in that case they're doing the equivalent of walking through a public place, taking note of how a candidate they're considering behaves then they're not watching. That's a little creepy, but not criminally invasive.

Forcing your way into someone else's account is like forcing your way into their house; there's no question you're violating the law and violating the person you're considering, and ruining any possible relationship with them in the future.

People have the right to not disclose every fact about themselves or narrate every second of their history, no matter what the stakes. They resent being forced to do so, whether it's a manager, a college or even a member of the family. "None of your business" is the last line of defense between the unspeaking, unique personality that lives only within the head and probing from strangers not satisfied with the paler imitation of our inner selves that form the personae we use to interact with the world.

Colleges and employers have a right to know something about you, too, of course, and to know the information you give them is accurate.

The relationship between an applicant and a decisionmaker is not a level one, however. The one making the decisions has all the power and can abuse it, in most cases, however much he or she likes.

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