Are college/high school students rebooting their Facebook accounts when they look for jobs?
March 28, 2012 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone rebooted their Facebook account? Do high school and college students delete, then restart, their Facebook accounts when they start looking for jobs?

What happens when you have a Facebook account and for personal or professional reasons, you want to restart it. Like a "digital makeover" or something? Are parents helping their kids learn how to put their best digital foot forward as they become young adults by remaking their Facebook pages? Have you, or young people you know, done this?
posted by aoleary to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I know a number of people who've just changed their names on Facebook and left it at that. Occasionally it leaves me slightly confused as to who Mario is and why I have his updates on my feed. I don't think any of the ones I know have bothered setting up other Facebook accounts to be their professional selves or anything.
posted by gracedissolved at 1:02 PM on March 28, 2012

I have a number of friends who have turned the privacy settings all the way to the max on their old accounts (to keep up with friends, older contacts, keep tagged photos, etc.), and meanwhile start new alternate accounts with new email addresses that are basically barebones and public-facing. That way, new contacts (people searching them for work, etc.) see the public one, and don't look for the private one (I've heard some companies that get suspicious if you have a private account or no account at all).
posted by General Malaise at 1:06 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can change the privacy of all old posts with an automated tool now- I did that when I added some people to mine.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 1:07 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've seen several job-seeking college students change the names on their accounts so a prospective employer won't find them by a search on their real names. Often in addition to locking down the privacy on their accounts pretty tight. (They're more savvy than you might think about such things, or perhaps it's just that the ones I know are a non-representative sample in that regard). Haven't seen any who have deleted their accounts entirely (which doesn't mean it doesn't happen, of course, but I think very few go that far).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:09 PM on March 28, 2012

I have many friends who do not use their last name on Facebook. The most common thing I see is using your middle name in place of a last name.
My sister uses a variation on our last name... Replace Smith with Smif.

Personally, I just keep my privacy settings maxed out.
posted by smitt at 1:24 PM on March 28, 2012

Oh - more in line with the "makeover"... I've also seen (and done) friend "purges". Cleaning out people you don't know well, are not close to, or just don't speak to.
posted by smitt at 1:28 PM on March 28, 2012

I know some people who have gone the fake-last-name route. Cops and teachers, mostly.

Personally I've never seen any reason to, but then again I try to keep everything on Facebook and G+ inoffensive enough that it could be printed out and passed around my workplace or neighborhood without causing me any harm. I think that's pretty much a good rule to live by.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:46 PM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

I had pretty much mined my past for all it was worth and did a complete reboot, waiting the 2 weeks or so for the old account to disappear. With the new account, I pretty much excluded all my relatives and people from high school. I am 53, and that ancient history has no place in my current life.
posted by Ardiril at 1:48 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a 20-year-old male. My profile is pretty locked down. It's not connected to any usernames I might do something dumb with (like, say, this one), it's set so the public can only see very little if any info, and then within my friends I have a group called "Old" that I lock down pretty tightly and put co-workers, bosses, teachers and parents in.

And as far as being savvy, we ought to be... it's our technology.
posted by papayaninja at 2:47 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have 2 accounts: one account is locked down so it is invisible from Google search, and just to be careful I use a modified version of my first name. This is my main account. I've also downloaded all of my wall posts and status updates as an HTML file, and have gone back in time and have deleted as much as possible.

I have a second account with my real name. This displays in Google Search.

However, I can't see Facebook ever being a problem.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2012

It is worth noting that having more than one Facebook account is a violation of Facebook's Terms of Service, and can result in both being deleted.

The solution here is, as Nimee Amee suggested, to use their past post visibility tool. Navigate to this page and click "Manage Past Post Visibility." Then select that all past posts should be visible to "Only Me." You may also want to limit who can see tagged content (in the Timeline and Tagging section). This should result in you having an account that has all your old data, but is a "fresh" account to the public.
posted by Amplify at 2:55 PM on March 28, 2012

Every 8 to 10 months my wife gets sick of Facebook and deletes her account, mostly due to my meddling family, I think. Every time she reboots, she gets friend requests from all of them within a few weeks because they somehow "see" her again. I assume FB recommends her as a friend since she shares the same last name.

Anyway, she has done this three or four times now and it's no big deal.
posted by tacodave at 3:27 PM on March 28, 2012

I've noticed a lot of people with disemvoweled names, so that John Smith has turned into Jhn Smth.

This won't show up on a search for "John Smith" but you can still puzzle out who the person is when they comment on your stuff.
posted by BrashTech at 4:03 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have things locked down so that nobody can see anything unless I've added them as a friend. Also, I don't add people as friends unless they're actively involved in my life. I don't quite get why more people don't just take this route.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:54 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I added UTF-8 characters that look almost identical to the English alphabet equivalents to my name making it appear exactly the same but be unsearchable. Cyrillic characters are good for this.
posted by Infernarl at 5:14 PM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

Here is an NYT trends piece about school students using a Facebook alias during the college application cycle so as to be undetectable to admissions offices (none of whom would confirm that they care one way or the other about a child's Facebook profile).
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:15 PM on March 28, 2012

I deleted my Facebook once, and went from using a fake name to my real name. I doubt it made any practical difference, but it made me feel better and it erased all of the instances where I was tagged in a questionable photo. I now keep my privacy moderately high and don't add employers or supervisors. If someone that I don't want to add or offend brings it up, I just tell them that I only use my fb for family and close personal friends.
posted by windykites at 3:39 AM on March 31, 2012

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