With the constant talk of Facebook, social networking sites have been on my mind lately.
I have been a member of Facebook for some time now and until just recently, I rarely checked it or kept it updated.
Lately I have found it a fun way to stay in contact with my friends and some of my family.
My sister who lives across the country does not seem so far away because of Facebook.
Though I use Facebook regularly, I am extremely careful about what I post and what pictures I put on my account.
It is not that I have anything to hide I just do not want to have every aspect of my life out for the whole world to see.
Part of my caution comes from the constant warnings that those of us who hope to have a career, should heed.
Employers look at Facebook.
They check MySpace accounts.
And that is most likely done in addition to background checks.
That is an interesting thought. There are more ways for employers and others, to check up on you.
It really brings the concept of Big Brother home on a whole new level.
What I did not consciously recognize until last week is that I make judgments based on what I see on social networking sites.
Last week I received a business card and it had the address of the person’s MySpace account.
I looked at the account and I was appalled by what I saw.
The site was completely unprofessional.
There were inappropriate photographs and there was information out for everyone to see that gave too much information about the person.
From those few minutes that it took for me to unconsciously and consciously evaluate their site I decided that I would never do business with them.
With the Internet and things like social networking sites, it is really easy to let ones guard down.
It is easy to forget that your friends may not be the only ones viewing your site.
It seems that the line between business and personal is becoming blurred.
It used to be that people had their business lives and their personal lives. But now the two are becoming intermeshed.
More people are posting all of their life out there on the Internet for everyone to see.
Nothing is considered sacred anymore.
The old philosophy of what someone does in his personal life is his business, does not seem to apply anymore.
If you post your personal life on the Internet, it is fair game.
It does not matter if the pictures of you drunk at a party swinging from a chandelier were taking on the weekend on your personal time.
It does not matter if you consider your political leaning to be personal.
If you post it, it is not personal anymore.
And you never know who is looking.
With MySpace, Facebook and other similar sites, it is your right to post whatever you want, but do not forget that it is your decision whether you post that revealing picture or that inappropriate post.
You also should consider the situations you place yourself in.
You never know who has a camera and where they might post a picture of you. All of what is posted on the Internet about you may not be up to you.
Just be aware and think about what you put on the Internet.
Susan Acker, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.