Friday, December 02, 2005

Information for Student Bloggers

I found out about this through the Resource Shelf. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, those great paladins of intellectual freedom in cyberspace, have put together an FAQ Sheet on Student Blogging. While it is focused on students in middle and high school, it also contains some good information for college students. One sample question is "what about blogging about my own private life?" Here is the EFF's answer:

"Keep in mind that whatever you post on a public blog can be seen by your friends, your enemies, your teachers, your parents, your ex, that Great Aunt who likes to pinch your cheeks like you're a baby, the admissions offices of schools and colleges to which you might apply, current and future potential employers, and anyone else with access to the Internet and a search engine. While you can change your blog post at any time, it may be archived by others. "

This is something that a lot of bloggers may not think about. There are options to blog anonymously, and you can visit EFF's site to learn about some of them. However, if you blog under your name and do so publicly, you really need to keep in mind that someone somewhere can and will see it, and this can include people with less than noble motives. This leads me to point out this other item. A lot of college students use the popular social service Facebook. Very often, students who use this service post on it all sorts of personal information, including the photos of the latest drunken party, and they do so thinking that only their friends may see their posts. Well, students and other users of Facebook may want to think again as some college administrators and even police may use the service to crack down on those doing illegal acts. This post talks about using Facebook to spy on college students. Regardless of where someone stands in regards to services like Facebook, users should be aware that any information they make public can be found, and stuff on Facebook, or any other social service like MySpace or MSN Spaces or Yahoo!'s 360 for instance, is no exception. The message here is be aware, be informed, and then act accordingly.

Update note (12/16/05, 3:30p): Coach Brown at A Passion for Teaching has a great post. He is a teacher who as an experiment decided to set up his own MySpace account and see what happens. He reports on the results here. I found the post through the Carnival of Education Week 45.

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