By Melissa Pileiro
At CCC and other college campuses around the country, it’s extremely rare to enter the library or computer labs and not find someone browsing Facebook.com.
Founded in 2004 at Harvard University, the social networking site was originally open to Harvard students only, and then to the greater Ivy League. Soon it was available to all colleges, and all high schools shortly after that. Today, anyone over the age of 13 can create a Facebook, and the inclusive strategy seems to be working: the website now reports that over 175 million people are active worldwide.
What exactly is it that has people so engrossed in Facebook? For many, the website is a tool for keeping in touch with old friends, especially those from high school. The fastest growing demographic on the site is not college students as would be expected, but actually those in their 30s and up. While those from Generation Y typically use the website to update old friends on their lives, it is also extremely popular for work-related business and networking.
The role that social websites play in the current job market is a crucial one. Employers can easily run a Google search on a prospective employee, and because most users are listed under their full name, their Facebook page is usually one of the first listings to appear. With the right tools, the employer can then view details about the applicant’s educational history, past careers, and even photos.The ability to post photos and videos is a favorite feature for many Facebook users, particularly those who express an interest in photography or modeling. CCC sophomore Kristina Kanakis had been using the site for several years when she decided to promote her own photography through an on-site group. One year later, the group has over 100 members, and Kanakis is looking forward to shooting her first wedding this summer. “I’ve been taking pictures since I was old enough to hold a camera,” she said, adding that she’s thrilled to be gaining opportunities—and potential models—through the website.
Ashley Sorantino, a CCC sophomore, uses her Facebook to network with photographers and other models like herself. Modeling off and on for the past three years has given her ample wisdom about working under different conditions, not all of them ideal. Today, Sorantino doesn’t pull punches: her profile lays out clearly what she will and will not do during a photo shoot. This usually helps to ensure that only the people that respect her wishes will contact her for work.
Unfortunately, not everyone employs the same wisdom that Ashley does in promoting a positive self-image. It is becoming increasingly more common to hear stories on the news or radio of a college student fired from his or her workplace because of their Facebook’s content. Wild images of partying or drinking, as well as presenting the employer in a bad light, are often to blame for these terminations. Many people don’t realize that everything they do online leaves a virtual footprint of sorts, even if the profile is set to “private.” The best solution to avoid trouble is a simple one: never post anything to your Facebook page, be it images or text, that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read. Considering the rapid growth of the website expected in the coming years, she may be doing just that.