It turns out that college admissions officers use Facebook to police the language prospective students use on their social networks:
Twelve percent of admissions counselors told Kaplan that what they found on social networks hurt an applicant’s admissions prospects—particularly when it involved vulgarity, evidence of alcohol consumption or essay plagiarism, or proof of illegal activity.
This, of course, is ridiculous. How long do you think it will take students to realize that this is going on and create official “good girl / boy” persona and hide their true selves behind it? Who will benefit except the most hypocritical? People who can’t even relax on their own social network and who use it to present a fake persona of a spotless, “moral” creature whose status update is stuck at “Studying hard and working to succeed in life” will end up attracting the stupid admissions counselors who think that lack of profanity on one’s Facebook page is some kind of evidence that one will be a good student.
State universities explicitly prohibit search committees from doing any online searches on the candidates precisely because a job search process for a new faculty member should not be reduced to an exchange of gossip about who said what on their blog or Facebook page. I think the same courtesy should be extended to students, as well.
A few chance readers of this blog have asked me a very bizarre question. “You just accused me of being a troll,” an irate reader of this kind would say. “Is this how you treat your students? You just call them trolls when they ask you questions?”
I always thought that people who don’t understand a difference between interacting with students and with anonymous online trolls must suffer from grave intellectual limitations. It’s not very encouraging to see that these limitations also characterize a significant percentage of admissions officers who don’t understand that their job is to evaluate admissions packages that have been submitted to them and not to troll other people’s online resources.
P.S. My gratitude goes to blogger Miriam whose insightful post alerted me to this phenomenon.