University suggests new students clean up Facebook profiles


My nephew Max will enter Indiana University as a freshman this fall and he just received the above status update on Facebook.


  1. Students at MIT who go through the username self-selection process are reminded that they will be sending email from this address to their parents and prospective employers and while naming themselves something like BIGNUTZ may seem funny when you’re an entering freshman it’s going to be a lot less funny when you’re sending out resumes.

  2. I must have missed this boat entirely. I once got a letter from my future roommate and it scared the holy Jesus out of me.

    Which was fine, because he had enough for both of us.

    The school never told me a damn thing about my future roomies, and in fact neglected to inform me that my hall on the dorm was being changed to a freshman hall during my final semester.

    *That* roommate puked on my boots and the lower third of my CD tower the night before classes started. I cleaned the CDs up but I left crusted puke on my boots and propped them up on his desk in front of him every day for the remainder of the school year….before he dropped out.

    The weekend before exams.

    I am not making any of this up.

    1. I had three friends who all experienced the same thing with evangelical roommates Freshman year. One tore down my friend’s posters of The Cure and The Damned for “obvious” reasons. Another woke my roommate at four in the morning the night before an exam and said, “I want to tell you how much I love Jesus and why you should too.” 

      1. Another woke my roommate at four in the morning the night before an exam

        So Peeves was based on a real character.

      2. They will never understand the value of The Cure and The Damned..  Unforgivable they are and I mean it. 

    2. September, 1975:  “Hi, you must be my roommate.  Just to let you know, I’m a radical faggot.”  Single room for the rest of the year.

      1. It’s glorious and depressing to think that just before was born, you were still managing more awesome one-liners than I ever will.

        I need to practice my irony more.

        1. I actually want to meet the whole Antinous family.  If he is this hilarious, imagine a bunch of them together, zingin’ each other with their rapiers.  When you’re in Mass next, consider it, dude.  I’ll bring the aspic.

      2.  My cousin did something similar to that to a Marine recruiter. They never bothered him.

        I wish I’d done it. One of them hounded me for 6 months after high school. I finally agreed to let him come to the house and give the sales pitch to me (and my family) and he went through the whole thing about “the Marines can take a boy that is scared of something and help him conquer it. I know men that were afraid of ladders that now jump out of airplanes, that could not go to the community pool that are now underwater demolitions experts. Son, what are you afraid of?”

        I pointed at my mother and said, “Sir, that woman is the only thing on this Earth I fear.”

        He stood up, put on his hat and excused himself. Never heard from him again.

  3. Given the growing use of searching Facebook by employers and others, with potentially negative results for you, this is probably a good life-lesson IU is handing out.

    Hope Max enjoys Bloomington!

        1. You missed the point.  If your facebook profile starts as private, and you’re responsible about your passwords, then they shouldn’t have the opportunity to get a screenshot.

          1.  And facepants would never, never change their privacy settings without warning you. Never.

          2. 0. You lock down your FB and only share with 1 friend.
            1. You post something funny/shocking/stupid to FB2. Friend takes a screenshot and sends it to a friend
            3. ??? Internet Broadcast Network ???
            4. No Job For You!

            If your FB is so private that no one can see it, why bother.   If you share it with even one person, you are trusting that said person is every bit as conscious about security and privacy as you are, always and forever.

            This isn’t some hypothetical. There are entire web sites devoted to screenshots of FB stupidity.

  4. They say that as if these same students won’t fill their facebook wall with photos of themselves and friends being drunk and disorderly. 

    1. My girlfriend is a Graduate Assistant in a dormitory, who is friends with many of her residents on Facebook.  They seem to have no problems posting evidence of their many, many room violations online, for all to see.

  5. “Now is a good time to just stop using Facebook, before you, your roommate or someone else embarrasses you for the whole world to see!  It’ll stop people casually spying on your private life too!  We recommend e-mail, phones and sitting down, chatting and sharing a meal with people you like as superior alternatives.”


  6. You would be surprised at A) the number of incoming freshmen who don’t think about their online presence at all and B) have no online presence because their entire experience with the internet consists of SMS from a phone and maybe an email message sent once or twice form their parent’s account.

    I used to teach a class for incoming freshmen about how to search library databases, do general online searching and how to avoid plagiarism. The first thing I would do is talk about their online presence, by picking a random student and Google their name. 9 times out of 10, they made an Oh Shit face when they saw me typing their name into Google on the overhead projector. Then I’d explain about Facebook’s privacy settings, how to shut down your myspace account and tell them a few horror stories about people who lost their first job right out of college  because their employer Googled them and found their Facebook pics of them at parties.

    that 10th time though, I’d get someone whose computer skills were nonexistent. I had a freshman ask me what a browser was. When I told her to open Firefox or IE, she couldn’t locate the icons. She didn’t know what they looked like, because her entire interaction with the internet had been mediated through a program called Panda, (which I later learned was something that Evangelical and homeschool parents use to lock down their computers. It basically scrapes HTML and CSS from a list of pre-approved webpages and displays them as if the entire Internet was just those pages.

    I had another student who, at age 19, had never used MS Office before. The few times he had ever written a paper on a computer, he used Text Edit, and never saved. He’d print a draft and if he had to revise, just typed the whole thing over again, like it was a typewriter.

    The idea that the Millennial Generation are all computer savvy, and so we can skip the tedious step of teaching them computer basics is a lie. And believing it is producing a generation that is not just computer illiterate, but functionally illiterate as well.

    1. Add to that all the students who don’t know how to bake a loaf of bread or skin a moose and you can see the trouble we’re getting into as a nation.

    2. That 1 out of 10 seemed to have superior skills of persuasion, because they somehow landed a job at the help desk where I used to work.

      “First open Excel…”


      “Open a command prompt…”


    3. Who are these people? I finished high school over 10 years ago, yet I had a website at the age of 15 (hosted on Tripod which outlives Geocities – boo yeh!).

      People should teach themselves computer basics. Pretty much everything I know about computers was learned by research on the net – including the skills I now use to make a living.

  7. What is with this “room-mate” idea in the US? It strikes me as a horrible invasion of privacy, as well as an excruciating kind of Russian roulette. In Europe, student accommodation has single rooms – I would never have used it otherwise. Why do you guys put up with this?

    Genuinely curious,Adam 

    1. Back in the 90s, my (UK) University hall of residence was organised into self-catering flats of nine people sharing each kitchen: five single rooms and two doubles. The doubles weren’t offered to couples, so yes, almost half of that hall’s freshers moved-in with strangers.

    2. Weirdly, you almost always get a private room if you’re hospitalized in the US.

      1. Probably because American spontaneously combust if they see another one nude. 

        At least that’s what I gathered from US TV (til HBO, that is.)

    3. Well, a lot of older universities have dormitory buildings that are 50-100 years old.  Sure, they’ve probably been renovated for plumbing, electricity, and internet, but still.

      1. Yeah… don’t tell Europeans about “old”.  This office (originally a large house) was built in the 18th century.

        Cambridge University has *really* old buildings, but their students don’t share rooms.

        1. Do you mean to say that European universities care about their students’ comfort and privacy?  How bizarre!

        2. There’s architecture within a stones throw from my house that predates the forming of the United Staes, always makes me smile when they reference ‘old’ architecture, and normally mean something that was built 100 years ago, which incidentally is still newer than my house.

          Nothing wrong with it, it’s all relative, but does amuse me.

          1. But there’s very little difference between a building built in 1600 and one built in 1900 compared with the difference between a building built in 1900 and one built in 2000.  There’s about 10,000 years of buildings without electricity, indoor plumbing, etc. and 100 years with.

    4. Careful with the “in Europe”… lots of countries here.

      Yes, student accommodation in my country is single room, but mostly as a shared flat with common kitchen and bathroom (two or three single rooms per flat). So, you still get a lot of horror stories about flat mates.

    5. I had a roommate when I studied in London (although only for the first year).  Apparently due to British privacy law, I couldn’t be told anything about him before I met him, but I did write a few lines about my interests for the university — they tended to do a good job at matching people.  The only problems were people who’s parents influenced those few lines — I knew a student with Muslim parents who’d been pressured to write that he’d pray every morning at 5, so he’d been put with another student who’d said the same thing.  He changed rooms after a week or so — turned out the real Muslim student wasn’t impressed with my friend arriving home drunk at 3 or 4am.

      Anyway, central London is expensive, and I paid £80/week for my share of the room — a single room in the same building was £125/week.

      Outside London I’m not aware of any city where housing is expensive enough for students to share rooms.
      Housing is so expensive in London that it’s not unusual for recent manual-work migrants, illegal immigrants and temporary workers to share rooms.

    6. This never made sense to me either; my first two years at university (in the US) I shared a room with a roommate but the rooms were so large they could have easily been divided with a to-code wall and each resulting room would have been quite spacious for a student. This means that the dorms had to have been designed with students sharing rooms in mind, and not due to a lack of space. Makes no sense.

      Junior and senior year I lived in an arrangement like people are describing in Europe, single rooms with shared bathroom and common areas. The newer dorms at that university are all designed that way, but most universities have primarily the older style dorms.

    7. I’ve never lived in a dorm, just off-campus, but people renting separate rooms in the same house (sharing common areas like a kitchen and bathroom) will usually use the term ‘roommate’ even though ‘housemate’ might be more appropriate.

  8. Just another reminder of the deluge of students descending on our silly town in a few weeks. IU would be doing them a bigger favor by reminding them how one-way streets work.

    Best of luck to Max!

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