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Tips for Using Facebook in College

written by: Destiny Keller•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 10/30/2010

Facebook is a growing social network site with over 500 million active users today. Be in the know about the great resources this site can provide, how to keep your facebook profile safe.

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    Facebook can be a fun and exciting social media site for college students. Facebook provides users with the ability to email, chat, and leave public messages for friends. There are over 77 thousand applications which are games, and social networking tools. One can see why Facebook seems so appealing, as it reports to have over 500 million active users, 30% of which are in the United States alone! With some schools such as University of New Hampshire reporting over 96% of their students using Facebook, the questions should not be how to get rid of Facebook, but how to use it correctly, and to the student's advantage. Here are some helpful facebook tips for college students.

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    Positive Aspects of Facebook

    There are many great aspects of Facebook, especially when it comes to networking. This site can be a great advantage for students looking to find old friends, keep updated on distant family members or friends, and find millions of people to communicate with. Many organizations create a profile or a group that helps to keep their members informed of events and to help keep them updated on important information. This idea has also spread to companies and entrepreneurs, as everyone is taking advantage of this social network opportunity. For the students a UNH, 89% said they use social networks for social reasons and 79% said they use it for entertainment. This site offers a great advantage to students as they can catch up and see how people they know are doing in a matter of seconds, based on their Facebook pages and status updates. They can also use this site to their advantage to know when events are going on, and plan their schedules accordingly. Another positive aspect of Facebook is actually in the aspect that many people find negative, which is using Facebook as a distraction. Many students use Facebook as a way to relax or unwind, as they catch up with friends or family, or even play silly mindless games. This tactic, when not abused, can be helpful to college students, as it provides them with a temporary escape from their busy, and often stressful lives.

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    Negative Aspects of Facebook

    Just as there are positives to Facebook, there are some fall backs. Some Universities such as Ohio State University have found links between Facebook and lower GPAs, although they cannot say it directly causes them. Facebook can also bring up some scary security issues, like any other social networking sites as the wrong people can find private information, or photos that users do not want shared with others. When Facebook is not used safely and correctly, it can become a problem for students.

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    How to Be Safe On Facebook

    The best way to keep Facebook a positive aspect of your life is to know how to use it properly. Here are a few important facebook tips for college students to keep you safe and out of trouble while using this popular social networking site.

    1. Know how to set your privacy settings. Everyone has the ability to edit their privacy settings, and should set them accordingly. The safest option is to keep your pictures and statuses to private, where only friends can see. Search settings are also important, and fall into two categories: internal search listing and a public search listing (which shows your public profile). Both of these can be turned off or adjusted to limit who can find you in a search. With this, be sure to add only people that you know to your friends list, as this can lead to major consequences when strangers can access your personal information.

    2. Know who your audience is. This is an important piece of advice, especially for college students. It is important to keep in mind who you add to your friends list, such as family members, coworkers, bosses, and groups of people. If you are okay with adding them, be sure to keep in mind who your audience is when you post things. Posts and pictures can lead to everything from family disputes, to problems at work or school. Keep in mind that simple posts such as "studying at Sarah's house" can help potential dangerous people to know you are not at home, or home alone.

    3. Keep your Page Professional. Although it may be tempting to post pictures of a fun drinking party, or angry status updates about your teacher, these thing can come back to haunt you. It has happened in the past. Even such comments such as "Bored at work" can end up with serious consequences as it did for Kimberly Swann, who got let go from her job after posting that as her Facebook status. Future employers have also been known to look up your name on social networking sites, to get more background on potential hires.

    4. Keep personal information private or don't post it period. For delicate information, such as addresses and phone numbers, it is best to keep that information off Facebook completely. If people need your number or address, do not post it on their wall. Instead, it is perfectly acceptable to send them a private message, or call them instead.

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    Have Fun

    Facebook was originally designed for college students, as a way for them to connect with people and escape their everyday lives, at least temporarily. If you use it safely, and do not overuse it, this social media site can give you the environment it was designed to. Be sure to keep your Facebook as safe as possible, and save some time for studying!

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