Tag Archives: facebook

Don’t Judge a (Face)book By Its Cover

Welcome to the first of the Myths of Residence Life Series! This post was actually written BEFORE the idea for the series came about…but I realized it fit so well! Incoming students have the ability to see YEARS of their future classmates’ lives on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever else social media platform that’s out there.

So I might be dating myself here, but I was in college when Facebook became open to everybody. I didn’t think too much of it. The only change for me was now I could be Facebook friends with my friends that were still in high school (I mean, I wasn’t that old).

And then housing assignments were released…I was working at my good ol’ Undergrad U student employment job. I was told that typically we get slightly more phone calls after assignments go out. People are unhappy with what building they are in or what floor they are on. Somebody’s precious darling has allergies and needs air conditioning. Typical calls. The calls started coming that very day and did not stop until the school year started. My supervisor said that she had NEVER heard the phones ring that much.

Why the incredible increase in calls? Students could now look up their roommates on Facebook. That was something I honestly never thought of. Yes, Facebook existed before I left for college, but my roommate didn’t (and still doesn’t) have Facebook. For the friends I did make on Facebook, all of our profiles were NEW. While this was only the first year, that’s still a whole year’s worth of photos. We’re currently several years past this point so now my incoming students are seeing photos of their future roommate’s high school career. Ugh…I couldn’t imagine having those awkward years documented on the internet.

The point is, so many students were making assumptions about their future roommates based on what they saw on Facebook. People use their Facebooks (and before that MySpaces) to display who they want the world to view them as. Back when all these phone calls were flooding in, people didn’t think about privacy settings on their pictures or censor themselves just in case a future employer might stumble across their profiles one day. Some students were calling to complain that they didn’t want to live with their future roommates because all they saw on Facebook were party pics or offensive jokes. Others were calling because their roommate seemed “lame” or “different”. It is impossible to describe what a person is like based off of what you see on Facebook.

While my roommate and I didn’t have the anxiety-laden opportunity of stalking each other on Facebook prior to moving in together, I wonder what a stranger would think of me based off of my Facebook profile. I have my profile set to super secret, so the stranger would have to request me first but that’s beside the point.

First off, we have my cover photo and profile picture. These tend to be absolutely ridiculous. In fact, when I first arrived at college, my Facebook picture was one of my comics. Oops. Right now my current cover photo is a close up of my favorite food and my profile picture is actually a poorly photoshopped photo of one of my friends. So at the moment random stranger would probably think I’m a fat man (not that my friend is fat…just the food and all).

Next, my “about” info. My main network is Hogwarts and my relationship status lists me as being in a relationship with one of my lady friends. My quotes and “info paragraph” haven’t been changed since 2008 and are just a listing of inside jokes. The only musicians I like are my friends bands or singing groups. I don’t have any books, movies, or TV shows listed, but at the moment Facebook is recommending kids books and movies…

And last but not least, photos of me. Since that’s where 99% of my students complaints come from. There are a LOT of pictures of me with my friends’ pets. Not too many party pics…but several photo bomb pictures. And lots of sorority pictures. Of course. Sorority squat!

I don’t think any of that accurately describes me. I don’t use Facebook to list every like and dislike and chronicle every moment of my day. Sorority pictures are in there a lot because those are a lot of the big events I go to…and that’s where the cameras are. At the same time, when I think about students “cleaning up” their Facebooks before they begin their job searches (or before applying for college housing), I don’t think the “after” version of their profiles represent them either.

It’s been a few years since I heard from those angry parents at Undergrad U. I’m still hearing from angry parents. They’re checking out their kid’s roommate’s Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. “He tweeted rap lyrics, my son doesn’t like rap, MY SON CAN’T LIVE WITH HIM!” I wish I was making this up. Now that I’m no longer a student, I’ve started telling parents that we will not change a room assignment just based on something they saw on Facebook. The whole idea of college is to figure out how to live on your own. If there are major issues or lifestyle differences that cannot be worked out once the students have arrived at school and given it the ol’ college try (pun intended), then we will look into finding your precious anti-rap darling a new place to live.

Student affairs professionals of the world…what are some of your most bizarre “well I saw it on the internet” moments you’ve experienced?

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TBT – That Time I Got De-Friended (Goodbye!)

You might have been wondering what prompted me to write that rant on Facebook de-friending. Well, as a reminder, I wrote it four years ago. As I said yesterday, these stories tend to be good ones. AND! This was from back in the day, before you could just hide someone from your news feed.

I wrote the pre-cursor to yesterday’s post in response to being de-friended. Oh, and I posted it somewhere that the “friend” would be able to easily see it. Passive aggressive? Yes. Worth it? Probably. You see, this came OUT OF NOWHERE. The person who did this was one of my best friends and her way of ending our friendship was by de-friending me on Facebook. That’s also passive aggressive. I probably would have NEVER wrote something like that had I discovered that some random classmate de-friended me. On with the story!

Flashback to Summer 2009. Neon was just sort of becoming a thing, the recession was at it’s worst, and nobody had jobs. I had a great group of friends that I had known seemingly forever. We loved hanging out and we had absolutely no problem with doing low key things, like watching TV shows or movies at someone’s house because we were all equally broke and couldn’t afford going out to dinner or shopping at the mall. One of our friends was KNOWN for being a drama queen and a major one upper. If you told her that your life was going well, hers was going SO MUCH BETTER. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you were down in the dumps, there was NO WAY things could be any worse than they were for her. While it was annoying, my friends and I tended to look past her antics because we all had the same twisted sense of humor.

We had been there through thick and thin for each other for YEARS and this summer we were ALL having a hard time. My parents weren’t working, one friend’s grandfather was on the decline, another friend worked at a camp for kids with special needs and it was really taking it’s toll on her. Our resident crazy girl (let’s call her Cray, makes it SO much easier) knew all this…so she proceeded to tell us how EVERYBODY in her family got laid off the same week and HER grandfather was sick as well….The life of Cray. The summer went on and suddenly Cray just stopped coming to things. She wouldn’t call or text in advance, she just wouldn’t show up. If we asked her where she was, she would just say that her grandfather was sick so she couldn’t make it. We didn’t want to pry too much and while we didn’t care if she missed pizza night, she started to miss some large, planned events like birthdays and holiday celebrations. At this point, we were still in contact with her and while she was willing to spill how hard it was with her family not working and her grandfather being ill, she never once asked any of us how we were doing. I’m pretty easy going so I just shrugged it off but my other two friends were getting angrier each week. The final straw for them came when she missed my birthday party without a word to any of us. I didn’t want to make waves, so I didn’t say anything, but I was really disappointed. The other two texted her asking where she was (her grandfather was sick so she couldn’t make it) and then vowed to stop speaking to her.

I’m honestly not sure if the other two said anything to Cray between my birthday party and a few days later when I posted on her Facebook wall, but she BLEW UP at me. I simply wrote a message on her wall asking how her grandfather was doing. I mean, she missed one of her “best friend’s” birthdays because he was sick, so I was worried! For some reason, this set her off but instead of calling me or texting or even privately messaging me, she wrote back on my Facebook wall saying that she couldn’t believe that I thought she was lying and that I was a terrible friend. Since I’m not a big fan of airing one’s dirty laundry on Facebook, I texted her and let her know that I was actually curious about how he was doing, but she just kept taking it the wrong way. Shortly after that, she wound up de-friending us.

I found out about this few weeks later. I figured things had cooled down and went to her Facebook just to say hi, only to find out that we were no longer friends. I let the other two know and they confirmed that she had also de-friended them. Additionally, her other “best friend” had de-friended all of us. Interesting. Anywho. I was honestly just shocked that she would do that. Looking back, I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised since she was known for being a drama queen.

Now that I’m older, I definitely have less friends but they are all people that I enjoy being around. Cray was basically the equivalent of a tornado – she sucked us into her mess and destroyed everything in her path on MULTIPLE occasions. While at the time I’m sure I thought it was the end of the world to lose her as a friend, you eventually realize that you won’t have all your friends “forever”. I also understand that you do fall out of touch with people, but occasionally you might want to reach out to them, which is why I don’t go de-friending people that I don’t talk to “anymore”. Hopefully I’ve moved out of the phase of my life where relationships are filled with “drama”. I thought it would all be over with high school, but as some people say, high school never ends.

I know it seems petty to get so upset over Facebook. It’s one thing to decide you don’t want to be friends with a person, but by deleting or blocking someone on Facebook, that’s also saying you don’t want the other person to ever know anything about your life again. I’m sure there are some people that deserve it (hi stalkers), but I tend to not defriend people I’m no longer friends with.

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You Are The Weakest Link. Goodbye.

Alright kids, gather round. Today we’re going to talk about the ultimate burn in this day and age: being de-friended on some sort of social media. I originally wrote this back in 2009 when I swear I was the only person in my friend group with Twitter and things like Instagram didn’t exist yet. So let’s focus on Facebook because being de-friended on Facebook sucks every bit as much today as it did in 2009. I’m not really sure what the pre-Facebook equivalent would be. Being picked last for the kickball team? Someone not returning your calls? Being completely ignored, kind of like the episode of South Park where Cartman thought he was dead? Anywho. Let’s get on with this.

To de-friend someone on Facebook is basically saying “I never want to see you again. I want nothing to do with you. You are dead to me. I am cutting you out of my life completely.” Once your former lover/roommate/best friend de-friends you, your updates will no longer show up in their news feed. They won’t be forced to endure status updates, pictures posted, or Farmville notifications. But Author, what if somebody is just cleaning out their list or really doesn’t give a crap about your engagement photo shoot? Nowadays, there are ways to hide that stuff! I have plenty of people on my Facebook that post a little too frequently about their kids’ potty training that I selected to hide their updates. Also, you can hide updates from games and other things. The best part is that the other person doesn’t know you selected to hide their updates whereas if you de-friend someone and then they go to look you up for some reason, they are suddenly VERY aware of this de-friending.

Personally, I have only felt compelled to de-friend people on two occasions in my life. The first was a completely normal occurrence. Remember when Facebook was for college kids only? (Man, I’m really dating myself here.) And the best moment of your summer before freshman year was getting your college email address so you could get Facebook (or as it was known back in the day THE Facebook)? And how many random people you friended that were members of “FALL INCOMING CLASS 200X WOOOO!!” Yeah…well…after I finally arrived on campus and realized that I wasn’t actually going to be friends with all these people who I had told about my down alternative comforter and flamingo string lights, I did a little cleaning. Understandable? Yes. If you don’t know the person in real life, you can delete them. During Spring Semester, I became friends with a kid that was in one of my new classes and he actually CALLED ME OUT ON IT. He was like “Well we were Facebook friends and then you de-friended me.” Ummm…today is the first day I met you?!? But sure enough, when I checked my OLD messages, I had found out that months and months before this, we had gone back and forth about how his building was closer to the dining hall than mine. Real friendship right there. Sigh.

The other time I de-friended someone was later in my college career. I was having a bit of a stalker issue and it got to the point where I didn’t want him in my life anymore. I was doing a great job at avoiding him in person, but he would always make snarky remarks via Facebook AND he had started friending my friends to talk to them about me. I was young and at the time didn’t realize how serious the whole situation was so I simply de-friended him, thinking that MAYBE he’d take the hint. He didn’t. Instead, he re-friended me and included a little message. I don’t remember it word-for-word anymore but I’m pretty sure thought it was awfully rude of me to remove him from my friends list. I’m sorry. I didn’t like when you Facebook messaged me twenty times in one day. At this point, I had to take it one step further and block him. I had never blocked anybody on Facebook. At this point in time, my blocking knowledge was limited to AIM. I’m assuming it worked because I never heard from him (at least on Facebook) again. Also, I can’t search for him. So it does go both ways. That’s alright. I can live without his creepy/emo status updates.

So readers, what brings you to the point of having to de-friend a person? Did your break up leave you in your pajamas for a week with only your good friends Ben and Jerry for company? Did your best friend steal “yo man”? Sick of looking at somebody’s ugly mug? Or…more grown up problems…are you sick of hearing about somebody’s upcoming wedding EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.? These ridiculous situations always make for great stories, so put yours in the comments and get ready for tomorrow’s post!

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A Lilly P. Update

One of my more popular posts has been about this year’s Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale. Apparently there’s a lot of Lilly P. fans out there that I didn’t know about, including some of my friends! It seems that I have become the Lilly P./preppy expert in my group of friends and everybody constantly has questions, mostly about how I can afford these things!

Special Purchases

Lilly dresses are a big splurge for me…I either get them as gifts or purchase one for a special occasion. However, I RARELY pay full price for something. The brick-and-mortar stores do have items marked down, so definitely check them out! Also, if you do live close to a store or happen to find one in your travels, definitely pop in and try some things on, that way if you do go to purchase something online, you know what size(s) you are.

Warehouse Sale

I’ve already done a whole post on How to Warehouse, but I’ll just put a few things here. Typically, the warehouse sale happens at the beginning of June and the beginning of December BUT this year, shortly before the June sale, the company announced that it would be the ONLY warehouse sale of the year. Huge disappointment for many people out there. If you missed this year’s warehouse sale, mark your calendars for June 5 – 7 2014 for the next one!

Online Sale

I’m not a huge fan of following companies on Facebook…I just don’t need to be bombarded with updates about your products or weekly announcements about your “fabulous” deals. That being said, I make an exception for Lilly Pulitzer. The company uses their Facebook and blog to show off new prints and products and advertise upcoming events including major sales! Every so often they have this HUGE online sale with warehouse sale prices. Unfortunately, it’s not just something you can stumble upon…things tend to go fast! Since I tend to be in between sizes, I use these sales to buy shirts and accessories. I know I said at the most recent warehouse sale that I tend to stick to dresses, but I have a few printed Lilly shirts that I wear with a solid cardigan and dark pants.

Re-Lilly

Some brilliant woman on Facebook came up with the idea to start Re-Lilly, a group that you can buy and sell gently used Lilly Pulitzer clothing. Many times the items haven’t been used at all! One thing to warn you…it CAN overwhelm your news feed if the group owner is posting a lot of items at once. Also, you will be buying directly from the seller. I haven’t purchased anything yet, but one of my friends did try to buy a bag. I think it had already been snatched up by the time she emailed the owner.

Ebay

If there is a particular item you are looking for, check Ebay. This can really be said about any designer/brand. While I haven’t bought anything Lilly off of Ebay, I went through a phase five years ago where I bought designer handbags off of Ebay. My bank account does NOT miss that phase!

It doesn’t HAVE to be Lilly…

You don’t need to wear Lilly Pulitzer clothes to get the Lilly-vibe down. You can head to Target and pick up the basics…classic shorts and skirts, bright colored-ts and cardigans, scarves, flats. (Side note: I bought THE most comfortable flats there the other day…) I wind up pairing my Lilly items with non-Lilly items all the time.

What’s your favorite way to get designer items without spending all your money? Leave your suggestions in the comments! Happy Shopping!

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Social Media Concerns

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have my job before the days of social media. While I enjoy it for personal use, it honestly can make some days turn into a major headache once I get complaints of students using Facebook or Twitter to bully one another or to post pictures of things that they shouldn’t have in their rooms or apartments (yes, we do see your party pictures). I imagine that before Facebook, students shared pictures the same way they shared them when I was in middle school – getting them developed and passing the envelope around. Also, I know that before I had a digital camera, I took WAYYYY less pictures because it was so expensive!

I already mentioned that students posting pictures of inappropriate activities can get them in trouble. I had friends get in trouble for this my first year at Undergrad U. They had been drinking one night in their room with a few friends and took some pictures and of course posted them on Facebook and I believe somebody reported them to a Residence Life Professional so then of course they got in trouble. I’ve had other instances of students or friends posting about things in their room (street signs, pets) and get in trouble for that as well.

A more recent phenomenon has been these “Confessions” pages. Undergrad U has had a pretty active page for a month or two now, usually filled with things like “I think my RA is hot” or “I had sex in the library/locker room/bathroom/etc”. Most of the time these are harmless, but other times students talk about hurting themselves or others and we have no way to find out who posted it.

Students definitely don’t understand the consequences of posting certain things online. With Facebook, the things you posted are most certainly linked with your real name. Trust me, it’s not fun to have to go through years of pictures and un-tag or delete inappropriate photos. It’s even worse when you have message people you haven’t talked to in ages asking them to take down their photos they may have posted of you. I didn’t have a Facebook until I was in college, but some of these students have had Facebook since they were thirteen…that’s going to be a LOT of Facebook digging their senior year!

Now, it’s not like I go creeping on the internet looking for my students’ Facebook and Twitter accounts trying to get them in trouble. Trust me, I don’t want to see this stuff. The less I know, the better! But if we are made aware of something, we have to chat with the student about it. I usually hear a lot of, “I had no idea you could see that!”

Another issue that has been happening with Residence Life (and it’s something that started happening while I was still a student) is that after receiving their roommate assignment, a student will go look up his or her new roomie on Facebook. Sometimes, the parent does this. And then all hell breaks loose. “My child cannot live with this heathen! They have PARTY pictures on Facebook!” While Facebook can be great for roommates and other incoming students to get to know each other, it becomes a problem when a student uses Facebook to “play up” one aspect of his or her life.

What are some issues that social media has created at your job? How do you work with students on addressing social media concerns?

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Facebook

To be honest, I’m writing this real late at night but will most likely schedule it to post during “normal” working hours. Author, why are you up so late? Are students being jerks? No, no, nobody forgot that water is a required ingredient for Easy Mac or anything.  But my work phone did wake me up with two alerts. Email AND Facebook. Facebook on your work phone! How dare you! No, no, it’s okay. It’s my work Facebook.

See, in addition to having two phones, I have two Facebook accounts. My original Facebook has more unflattering tagged pictures than Britney Spears circa 2007 being followed by the paparazzi. It’s also gotten to the point where Facebook’s privacy settings just plain confuse me. So yes, I could have one Facebook and be friends with whoever and just have them not see all the stupid crap my friends post on my wall or terrible statuses from years past, but it was easier to do it this way. I started fresh just like I did with my job.

I routinely tell myself that if Britney Spears can survive 2007, then I can get through RA Training/Formal Recruitment/Greek Week.

I routinely tell myself that if Britney Spears can survive 2007, then I can get through RA Training/Formal Recruitment/Greek Week.

Even with this brand new work-appropriate Facebook, I have certain rules. I guess the biggest rule I follow is that I don’t friend students. They can friend me, but I’m not going to make them feel weird and awkward by friending them. I’ve also been in the awkward situation of seeing pictures of things I shouldn’t have seen – namely my underage residents clearly drinking in their residence halls. I’ve spoken with my boss about this and unless it’s a matter of health and safety, we are not going after these kids. I’ve worked at schools with different policies, so it was good to have this chat with my boss early on. If I see a picture of a kid drinking in one of my buildings, at the most it’s going to be a chat about making good life decisions regarding what you put on the internet.

How do you navigate using Facebook as a professional? Do you have multiple accounts or do you have everything on lock down? Who do you accept as friends? What do you do if you find something “unbecoming” on Facebook? Tell me that and more in the comments!

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Keeping in Touch

So since season seven of How I Met Your Mother was just added to Netflix, I’ve been re-watching the entire season. Great use of my time. In one of the episodes, Ted talks about how life was different before the internet. The show went as far as to show all the characters at their bar sitting at their booth just all on their phones. How many times have we seen that exact scenario? I frequently think how different my college experience would have been if cell phones, texting, and Facebook didn’t exist.

Recently, I logged onto Facebook to see a long status from one of my childhood friends with lots of likes and comments. Now, this was around the time of the election so I almost just scrolled past it thinking it was some political rant, but a few key words caught my eye. My friend had been diagnosed with cancer. She was about about to go under the knife for some MAJOR surgery. It was at that moment I both loved and hated Facebook.

Since moving away from the town I went to high school in, I’ve come to the realization that I suck at keeping in touch. There are so many people that I was so close to that I don’t even talk to anymore. I understand that this is a normal part of growing up, but I sometimes wonder if I would do a better job at keeping in touch if I had to make more of an effort. Instead of calling a friend to see what’s new, I can easily go on Facebook. Still dating so-and-so? Yep. Oh look, they moved to a new apartment! If Facebook didn’t exist, would I call these people to get their life updates?

To be fair, I’m not the only one that sucks at this. I rarely call my friends, they rarely call me. If I have a long car ride and remember my trusty headset, I try to catch up with my closest friends then, but sometimes they just don’t have the time for it. We’re the generation that grew up instant messaging each other while doing homework. Texting through class. We can multitask in so many ways…but we are unable to hold a phone conversation.

I also have this whole other rant that thanks to cell phones and text messaging everybody sucks at making plans, but I can save that for another post.

What’s your preferred method of communication in this day and age?

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TBT: That Time I Went On A Blind Date

One day during my freshman year, I noticed an advertisement for a dance. Being a freshman, I thought that a school dance was a big deal and everybody and their mother would be in attendance. Eventually somebody clued me in that these things didn’t happen, but for some reason I became very focused on the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend. This led to me and my roommate doing two things.

The first thing we did was to create a flyer stating that I was looking for a man and hung it all over campus. Now, we’re not idiots, so we didn’t actually say who I was or anything and we made a fake email address. I’m pretty sure the only response it got was my college’s resident creepy kid.

The second thing we did was Facebook stalk the entire male undergraduate population of our college. This was back in Facebook’s infant days and for some reason this seemed like a totally acceptable way to find a date. We started looking at friends of friends and it just went out from there. Eventually, I found this kid that I thought was cute and decided to friend him or message him or poke him or something. I don’t exactly remember. The important thing is, this led to us hanging out.

I think eighteen-year-old-me believed this was a date. I remember getting ready for it. I can even remember the shirt I chose to wear. Girls that I really didn’t hang out with came over to help me get ready and came and waited with me in the lobby. I don’t know exactly what happened on the date…I think I went to this kid’s house and met his roommates and we ate food and watched MTVu. Looking back, I wonder how that conversation went…”Hey guys, so this girl messaged me on Facebook and she’s coming over tonight.” I hung out with this kid a few more times and became friends with his group of friends. I still talk to a few of them every so often even though things fizzled out.

The ironic thing about this whole story is, I would NEVER be that confident now. I know some of my friends are signing themselves up for online dating sites and the premise basically sounds the same as mine and my roommate’s stalking and messaging, but I could not imagine myself going on a date with a person based off of that.

I know that there are many things that we did as college students that we no longer do, but what is something that you are honestly surprised that college-you did?

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