This is Maura Thomas from RegainYourTime.com. This is part five of my interview with Charles Palmer, the Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies, of Harrisburg University of Science & Technology. Please click the link at the top of the page to read the earlier parts.
Please click below to hear the transcript, and come back tomorrow and in the coming days to read or listen to the rest of the interview.
MT: Well, I find the whole thing really interesting and you’re doing a great job of explaining how…all of the aspects of it. So, there was a study put out about a year ago by Nielsen Online, that…the exact statistics escape me right at this moment but there was probably somewhere around a 3% difference. They asked people who used the internet how….if they used email. And they also asked people who used the internet if they used social media. And the percentage was more people said yes I use the internet and yes I use social media, than it was to email, only by about 3%. But I still thought that was really surprising, thinking, “wow, there are really people who use, you know, FaceBook and Twitter, and who *don’t* use email?” And the only conclusion that I could come to was that it’s kids. You know, teenagers, or college students. Do you think that’s an accurate conclusion? And my conclusion from that is, you know, the workplace is changing and it’s nice to think that when these kids get into jobs they’ll adapt, and they’ll start using our communication tools. But what I think is more likely is that we’re going to have to adapt to them.
CP: Yeah, I think we’ll be adapting to them. I think last fall, our university…our admissions staff…you know the admissions staff uses FaceBook a lot for recruitment purposes. And they had to put in place a policy of um…I think our admissions staff, they now all have two FaceBook accounts. One that represents the university, and then one that they use for their friends and family and outside. And I think, as we move ahead, we will see more of that, we will see more of students…again I’m talking high-school students moving in to college and then moving into their professional life…of sort of separating their online lives, between friends and family, and then…co-workers and professional…or we may even see another tool. We may see FaceBook go solely friends and family, and find other tools start to rise above, like LinkedIn and Bebo, and some of those other things, pop up as just professional usage. I have a friend that’s a recruiter for…I probably shouldn’t say the name of the company, but…she’s a recruiter for a company that has a rodent as a mascot. And she had a very interesting thing that she would do during the interview process…is, students would…she was recruiting graduate students and they would come in to the interview…and they would sit down and they’d introduce themselves and she would hand them a printout of their MySpace page or their FaceBook page, and a couple of times she told me that she actually…she’d slide it across the table and say, “I’m sorry we will not hire you, and this is why. This image that you’re portraying of yourself goes beyond what you and your friends say, this is potentially…this individual would potentially be representing the company.” And she was…she was very adamant about that. And for us it became an eye-opener, as we went about educating our students that “you’re online persona…it follows you. You create these things online and just because you delete it, doesn’t mean they go away from someone’s server somewhere. But that’s one of the things that been great about inter….about teaching students that lesson.
MT: And it leads into what I was thinking when you were talking about two FaceBook accounts. Do you think it’s really possible to…to…you know, be two people online? Do you think it’s really possible to keep separate your personal account, and that maybe it…it creates almost a false sense of security. “Well, I posted this racy joke but it was on my personal page, not on my professional page, so I’m sure that it’s fine.”
CP: Yeah. (laughing).
MT: What do you think about those things?
CP: Yes, I think…Yes and yes. I think there…it is possible to do it. I don’t know if…I don’t think FaceBook has any way of tracking it, but it would be…I bet it’s a high percentage of people out there have multiple FaceBook accounts. Then, I think yes, they have a false sense of security that if they posted that thing here, that it won’t show up in this other place. Especially when you start talking about photographs and tagging images. I have a friend who’s in the film industry. And he’s never told the truth about his age.
MT: Uh huh.
CP: He’s…an actor director, and (laughs)…the people that know him in that circle know him as ten years younger than he actually is. The amount of time that he spends untagging himself from friends’ photos that might identify his real age is really funny. I just saw him this weekend and…he took it as great…pride to tell me that his newest girlfriend knows exactly how old he really is. And I just found that really funny. But yeah, I think that there are a lot of people out there that do it. And not just for the social aspect. I think there are people out there who also…are on FaceBook playing the games…where, you know like a Mafia War, right? Or some of the games where you need your friends to be…to be a friend of yours in order to be…higher status, or higher something in the game. And I know…I’ve seen some of the posts where people will create a new identity, and that identity is now a friend of their other identity, and…increase the number that way. And I guess FaceBook really could track that with IP’s, but it would be really interesting to see, you know, what percentage of FaceBook users have multiple accounts.
MT: And heartening to know that there might be one thing that FaceBook doesn’t track.
CP: (laughing) Yeah, right.
MT: Well this has been very enlightening, and I don’t want to keep you too long past our time but I really appreciate you taking the time.
Please come back tomorrow for part 6 of my interview with Charles Palmer of Harrisburg University. Thanks for reading!