Letter to the editor


Profiles inaccurate reflection

Social-networking sites have fostered a new type of communication among users, where personal interaction is no longer necessary to know someone’s physical features, feelings and daily activities, circle of friends and location. Facebook, for example, is a site where you can create personal content and broadcast it to a multitude of friends.

What part of that personal content is actually telling of personal ability, motivation, work ethic and academic integrity?

Facebook is no longer just about your friends and family members. Companies, employers and colleges are logging in to see what the “online you” can tell them about the real you. But is there a correlation between the two?

According to The Wall Street Journal, a 2008 survey of 500 top colleges found that 10 percent of admissions officers admitted searching for applicants on social-networking sites to further evaluate their eligibility. This poses questions about how insightful one’s profile is about intellect and potential. Almost 40% of admissions officers making use of the sites admitted that the site negatively affected their views on the applicant, with only 25 percent admitting that their views of the applicant improved.

One college admissions officer explained that some colleges turn to the social websites because “no school wants to give a prestigious scholarship to someone standing on a beer keg and wearing a lampshade.” But what if that beer-keg loving, lampshade aficionado is the next Albert Einstein?

This issue is something unique to our generation. In any other decade, one would not usually get fired or denied a position over a wild weekend of binge drinking because there would be no evidence, and even if there were, that evidence would not be visible to all of your friends. This evidence, along with the information that you work for a certain company, and represent a certain school, is what poses problems for employers and admissions officers today.

More and more I have heard of people being fired or penalized because of their online lives, but this shouldn’t be the case. How much you drink, where you go, and how slutty or conservative you dress on the weekends should have nothing to do with opinions on your academic eligibility or work ethic, as long as the personal is separate from the professional.

The separation of online personal spheres from the workplace and academics is a necessity. Social networking sites should in no way affect the merit of an individual, being that such posts are not genuine reflections of personality types or potential.

Anneliese Azua

Freshman, gender studies


  • Ras

    The author of this article and those who share her views would also be the first ones to lambast a political figure if it was discovered that the candidate had sexual infidelities or racist comments hiding in his or her “personal” closet. Let’s face it – none of us want to be judged on some information that exists in our past. what I don’t understand are the idiots that keep feeding some compromising images, etc about themselves online and then feel entitled to force the world to ignore it if it got leaked publicly somehow.

    Eliot Spitzer made incredible accomplishments as governor of NY. No one can argue that he was a very competent and skilled statesman. His personal life which includes his sex life is not anyone’s business but his own and perhaps his wife’s. Yet he had to step down after it was revealed that he patronized prostitutes.

    The equivalent of what the author of this article is saying should apply to Spitzer as well. However, right or wrong, in the real world we can not separate and compartmentalize actions from the same person – no matter what you feel entitled to. Live with that and be cautious about what you decide to post.

  • LOL

    I can’t help but laugh at the third paragraph as well. Obviously there are good points to his/her argument, yet they are all weakened by the fallacious ad hominem ignorantly tacked on at the end. USC provides vast opportunities for students of all majors, and ultimately it is the determination, motivation and networking skills of the individual that determine their success after graduation.

  • Anon

    In the real world, there is no magical wall that separates your personal life from your professional life. And in the real world, most people who exercise poor personal judgement also tend to exercise poor professional judgement. There’s nothing wrong with a boss making reaching one conclusion based on another.

    Facebook is a public forum, and participation in it is entirely voluntary. Anything you choose to put on there is, in fact, a reflection of you because you posted it (or your friends posted it and you didn’t remove it from your wall). All of that is fair game for anyone you interact with to judge you for.

    But in your case, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Majoring in gender studies means you’ll probably end up working at Starbucks after graduation. That’s not the kind of job where bosses really care how much you party after your shift ends.

    • D. M.

      What is the necessity of adding that third paragraph? The writer makes his or her points, yet still feels the need to add a nasty and judgemental personal comment, which serves only to undermine his/her maturity.

    • LOL

      I can’t help but laugh at the third paragraph as well. Obviously there are good points to his/her argument, yet they are all weakened by the fallacious ad hominem ignorantly tacked on at the end. USC provides vast opportunities for students of all majors, and ultimately it is the determination, motivation and networking skills of the individual that determine their success after graduation.