Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Facebook and Politics

So, here's a link (via the corner) to a story about political campaign troubles stemming from the website, theFacebook.com.
I think it's crazy that the actions of grown children can affect their parents so much, especially in politics. I mean, I understand the reasoning, "if this person can't even control their own family, how are they going to do a good job in public office." But I don't think it holds water. Grown children, are just that, grown-up, now adults...and responsible for their own decisions. If a good parent raises their kids right, and then that kid goes off to college and makes some bad decisions, does that mean the parent is at fault? Not in my book. Adults should make their own decisions and be held accountable for them. Relevant family information, like signs of abuse, are different...but someone is not going to lose my support because their kid drank some beer at age 20.

Another group to think about is all the current college students who are would-be-politicians or would-be-prominent-people (at my current count this is all college students). When we get older and start running for election, or try to get appointed to prominent public position, are people going to go look at our facebook profiles from college and bring up dirt? There are even some harmless sites that could get blown extremely out of perspective...for example, mulematch.com. That's a compatibility site...where you have a profile and answer some questions, then the algorithm determines how compatible you are with people. It doesn't work...at all...but it doesn't remove your profile when you graduate. That would be extremely sketchy if someone checked when I was forty, and it would be useless to explain that I just didn't bother to delete my profile.
All these situations leads me to believe that we should all get off the groups...but they're fun, and we'd miss out. And what about the political capital you gain when you are an active member of any group? These facebook sites are excellent networking programs, and politicians would be hurt by losing the opportunity to engage in them. Plus, there would be suspicion if someone didn't participate. I think 99.9% (give or take) of new students at my school join the facebook before they even get to campus. So, when we're older, "Everyone is on Facebook...why is X not?" I predict that we'll be damned if we do, damned if we don't.

The world is changing, and the internet is making everything much more transparent. This is a good thing, and we (as in, the cynics in the media) need to be careful not to over-react while we're in transition. This transparency will help us to find out when someone is a real bad apple, but we need to not cut people off by making them nervous about going to a party while they're in college.

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