Oct 142010
 
Authors: Robyn Scherer

I know you have all been there. You meet someone new, think you can hit it off and maybe you have the guts to ask for a phone number. But there is an even newer method of communicating if you don’t get the digits.

Welcome to Facebook. If you don’t know what this is, I suggest you crawl out from whatever rock you have been sitting under. With so many people using smartphones these days, Facebook is now a mobile machine used to, well, let’s be honest, stalk people.

I’ve seen this happen first hand. You meet someone new, and instead of getting a phone number you just say, “I’ll find you on Facebook.” I’ve done it, and I’m betting a lot of you have also.

Finding someone on Facebook seems less risky than giving out your phone number. But if you are the one being sought out, you need to be aware of your security settings.

I know a lot of people have their phone numbers, addresses and other important information on Facebook. If you are one of these people, make sure you lock down your settings so no one other than your “friends” can view this private information.

It is incredibly easy to find someone and find out everything you need to know about that person without ever getting to know them. You can find out if they are single, how old they are, their favorite things and even their dog’s name.

Ever heard the phrase, “It isn’t official until it’s Facebook official?” This seems to be typi used in terms of relationships, but it can be used in other instances as well.

Have you ever been talking to someone, after stalking their Facebook profile of course, and realize they telling you things that you already know? Whoops. Ever been in an instance where they say they’re single, but in fact are not?

Now you are in a bit of a bind. You don’t want to admit that you were stalking a person, but in the back of your mind you are screaming “you are a liar.”

Now let’s move to relationships. Everyone knows that it’s not true unless it’s on Facebook, and it certainly isn’t official. So you get to have a public relationship update, and everyone can “like” your new-found relationship.

This is fun up to a point. Facebook does allow you to share pretty much anything and everything you want to, but there are some things that really suck to have to deal with publicly.

Remember how fun it was to publicly announce your relationship? Well the other side of that, the public breakup, is not so fun. Everyone gets to see that you went from being “in a relationship” to “single,” and well that can lead to a lot of tough explanations.

To prevent said awkward moments, there is one key feature you need to be aware of. It’s called the remove button. This is your friend. If you have to go through the public breakup, remove the post and you won’t have to answer all the questions.

Facebook is a way that you can connect and network with people, but you also need to be aware of the risks. If you don’t go through your security settings, anyone can see your information. This is generally not something that you want, because the public includes employers.

Facebook is a great place to meet new people, learn about someone or spend your free time stalking those you don’t really know. There are a lot of options. Just make sure you don’t believe everything you read. Just because it’s on Facebook, doesn’t mean that it is true.

Robyn Scherer is a graduate student studying integrated resource management. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to news@collegian.com.

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