The Challenges and Advantages of Facebook
by Kate Wadas
UMCP Graduate Student
College Student Personnel
All across the United States college students are asking each other, “Would you like to be my friend?” The situation sounds simple enough, but this request is unusual because the question is being asked over the Internet through the online community Facebook.com, often shortened to Facebook. Over 2000 colleges and universities and a handful of high schools have Facebook groups and if a school is not listed, it is easy to create a group under that school’s name. All a person needs to create a Facebook account is an email address ending in .edu, which is also all that is needed to create a group for a specific school (Toomey, 2005). Within the online community, members can make friends at their own school, as well as other institutions by searching for a specific person or interest. Members can create groups to post announcements, photos, and other information concerning the group. These groups range from actual student organizations, such as a fraternity or the ski club, to groups made up for fun like “I Heart Professor Smith” or “Adderall got me through finals.” university officials, particularly those in student affairs, have begun to see the impact the Facebook has on students and their interactions with one another. Unfortunately, not all the interactions and the ways in which students represent themselves are in a positive light, which causes concern for student affairs professionals. The ways in which student affairs professionals interact with students has changed, and will continue to change, because of the Facebook and other online communities. Student affairs professionals need to decide if they should be part of these online communities, what the role of discipline is when students post inappropriate material, and how the technology can be used to the advantage of an institution.
Student Affairs Professionals on Facebook
Student affairs...