General Question

bookish1's avatar

Can you help me brainstorm a solution to this stupid facebook dilemma?

Asked by bookish1 (13064 points ) January 8th, 2013

One of my teachers wants to communicate by Facebook, even though our school has online platforms for forums and posting links, etc. I find Facebook repellant for numerous reasons, and got rid of mine years ago because of harassment from ‘friends’ and relatives.

If I created a facebook just for this class, could I use a fake name or nickname? Does it make more sense to use my real name but make it “Private” or something? I really don’t want people from my past to be able to find me. Any suggestions are appreciated. I haven’t been on there in years and forget how it works. Thank you.

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38 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Can’t you just say that you do not have a FB, for privacy and other reasons. As a professor, I’d understand that.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

You can use a nickname. I have many friends that do so.

I actually find the thought of using FB for a class silly, though.

bookish1's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, thank you. That was my first impulse, but I thought I should ask around and try to figure out another way around this before coming to her with a complaint before we have even had class. I doubt it would have occurred to this professor that one of her students might not have a Facebook. My colleagues forget all the time that I’m not on there.

janbb's avatar

I would talk to the professor too. I think I would be very uncomfortable with the idea of using FB for that.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you must, make a FB account just for that teacher. There is no reason to use your own. That is an invasion of privacy IMO.

bookish1's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake: Thanks, maybe I’ll do that. It is kind of strange, 3 years of grad school and I’ve never had a prof make this request…

@janbb: Thank you for the input. It makes me uncomfortable as well.

@LuckyGuy: Thank you; that is what I was thinking to do… I don’t have a facebook account anymore. So what my question is really down to, is whether I should use my real name on there (and if it is even possible for the account to be unsearchable/private) or a nickname.

Can people find me on Facebook if my account is linked to an email address that they know?

Jeruba's avatar

For a class I took three years ago, the instructor set up a special class account on a site called “Ning,” and a week 1 assignment was to sign in and create an individual profile. The purpose was to be able to post discussion assignments and give feedback on other students’ comments. It stayed up for the duration of the class and then was deleted. Maybe your instructor would agree to do something like that and not require people to use or compromise other personal business that they may want to keep separate online.

The Facebook requirement is kind of like forcing students to invite classmates to their homes. You shouldn’t have to forfeit the privacy and control of your established personal resources for the sake of a class activity.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@bookish1 Ah! Your last question about having a searchable email address may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I know there are ways to enter an email address on FB and find a user. That is an invasion of privacy.

This is a tricky question. Talk to the professor, as others have suggested.

bookish1's avatar

@Jeruba, thank you for sharing that story. This feedback is making me think that maybe I am not just being a curmudgeon… This really got my hackles up. But the teacher seems pretty open to feedback so I think it should be OK.

@Hawaii_Jake : Thank you very much. If that is the case, I will email her.

Thanks so much jellies!

janbb's avatar

@bookish1 As you say, there are many programs that are suited for sharing coursework and discussion. I think the professor should use one of those.

wildpotato's avatar

Yes, you have the option of making a FB account with a completely fake name, or your real name with like an umlaut over an o or a u or an en-yay over an n or any numer of other non-English language symbols so people can’t find you if they search your real name. For example, one buddy of mine only has an account to get Xbox points or something and calls himself (I approximate here) “Max Gitfuck’t”; another who doesn’t want new people finding him goes by “Cårl Jöñes it was really hard to get those accents inserted on the iPhone!; other friends spell their names in Cyrillic or Greek letters.

bookish1's avatar

Thanks for the thought, @wildpotato! That never would have occurred to me.

wundayatta's avatar

Good ideas here, @bookish1. I encourage you not to give in. People don’t realize what an invasion of privacy Facebook is. People don’t appreciate privacy these days, it seems. Not like they used to.

bookish1's avatar

Thank you, @wundayatta. I just saw you write on another thread that you hate Facebook. I’m with you there.

And there’s really no need to go on there for class; there are web programs like Blackboard that schools shell out money for us to use!

wildpotato's avatar

@bookish1 Glad to help. Also, I hate Blackboard. No one uses it. It’d be nice if there was an academic version of FB, like Blackboard but with more of a “feed” format, and with a chat option. Like a LinkedIn for students and profs.

But yeah, you should not be forced onto FB if you don’t want to, and plenty of folks don’t want to. Seems wrong.

Bellatrix's avatar

@bookish1 firstly, I don’t think I could compel students to open a Facebook account. I wouldn’t anyway because the university can’t manage any problems that occur in Facebook.

If you do have to do this I would suggest making up a Gmail account purely for this purpose and having what my kids call a ‘fakebook’ page. I have one.

hearkat's avatar

Don’t tell anyone, but Kat Hearkat isn’t my real name.

bookish1's avatar

@Bellatrix: Thank you. Maybe my name on there should be Bookish Wormish ;)

Bellatrix's avatar

Why not! If the professor insists you have one they cannot insist you use your own name. I really think that is out of line. If you were doing something like a web-development course or something that meant you needed to understand how Facebook or social media generally works – I could see the point. However, most universities have their own learning management systems (flawed though they are @wildpotato) and I don’t think students should be forced to work outside of that LMS without good reason.

wundayatta's avatar

@bookish1 Blackboard is really clunky, but it can do things that Facebook can’t, like share files. Large files, I mean. Blackboard, unlike Facebook, is actually useful for more than social purposes.

glacial's avatar

@bookish1 I’ve had a Facebook account for years, but NEVER gave Facebook my real email address. I opened a new email account with a phoney name that matches my phoney Facebook name, and I don’t post it on my profile. So only Facebook uses it, and only for notifications that I ask it for. It forwards to my actual email address, so it’s not an inconvenience, and my security can’t be compromised.

Facebook actually makes it easy to keep email addresses (among other things) from being searchable, whether through Facebook or through Google.

Judi's avatar

My sister puts her last name first. My nephew used to call himself Beasta Comendante. His girlfriend doesn’t use her last name she just calls herself by her first name and “Russian” as her last name. (She IS Russian.)

jerv's avatar

Adapt to the 21st century.

Forgetting how to set things to Private is no real obstacle as things have hanged there anyways. You should learn about filtering and blocking though. It’s trivially easy to cut down on the problems many have with FB, but only if you are both willing to acknowledge that this isn’t 1964 any more, and have enough tech-savvy to handle a light switch. Too many people are stuck in the past and/or unwilling to learn anything, have unreal expectations, and then get frustrated that things didn’t go exactly the way they wanted with no effort or thought required.

You know enough not to give strangers your checkbook or credit cards, right? How many people know your SSN? If you have enough common sense to avoid those issues, you should be fine on FB; if not then you will have enough problems off-line that FB won’t add to them appreciably.

As for family drama or friends pestering you, I got enough of that before the Internet went mainstream.

Kardamom's avatar

I have not yet anyone else’s responses, but will do so after posting. You should just tell the professor that you prefer not to use Facebook for privacy reasons, and do not have an account (whether you do or not) and would prefer to use the online forums instead.

It’s kind of weird and not kosher for teachers/professors/bosses to want to talk to you via FB when other school forums or plain old e-mail will do. Do not succumb. Don’t allow people who don’t belong there to hook you in, or else you’ll be sorry in the end. Keep your privacy as much as you can/want.

Sunny2's avatar

If you want a fake name, how about Joyce James?

jerv's avatar

@Kardamom That also means no using credit cards, or enrolling in those programs where supermarkets offer discounts for having that little card on your keychain, or anything of the sort. And it’s not like forums are really any safer in that regard anyways. or even surfing the internet (especially not with IE); even having an e-mail or Fluther account is about as risky, really.

Response moderated (Spam)
bookish1's avatar

@wundayatta: Ah yes, I forgot that about BB. Good point.

@glacial: Good tip. Thank you!

@Sunny2: That would be kind of fun, but I’ve just gotten everyone IRL used to the idea that I am a guy, so that probably would be counterproductive :-p

@Kardamom: Thank you. That’s just what I did last night and it worked. Apparently one other student had problems with this policy as well.

@jerv: I haven’t lived to see the year 1964, so I’m not as old as you think I am. I’m most likely younger than you are. This isn’t about not knowing how to use a light switch, but thanks for the condescension anyway. Nor is this about “pestering.” I am willing to bet you haven’t been harassed by relatives urging you to have torture therapy or drop dead to stop embarrassing them.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Open a gmail account and use that address to open the facebook account. Don’t make your name too tricky or silly. It might be your first name and the class you are taking. e.g. Steve Philosophy . That way people in the class will know who you are won’t think you are spam. You can set gmail to forward mail to your real account.
I do not trust FB privacy at all. There are too many chance for error and they a have the right to change things as they wish.

bookish1's avatar

@LuckyGuy: Thank you for another good idea. I feel the same way about FB privacy. They change the terms of use all the time.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m guessing the prof wants to use FB so the class can work cooperatively on projects. IMO, you don’t want to be the lone stick in the mud. Go with the flow. Just have a dedicated account with a name your relatives won’t find. Also use a picture that can’t be run through google goggles or similar search engine. Use a picture of something that you have not put online before, like your text book or the classroom door.
It is easier to stay below the radar if you walk in the crowd. Get it?

bookish1's avatar

@LuckyGuy: Again, thank you for the good advice. But fortunately, the dilemma is over as I was not the sole stick in the mud!

jerv's avatar

@bookish1 You don’t know my family; suffice it to say that I can sympathize with you regarding such ill treatment from relatives.

bookish1's avatar

@jerv: Got it. I am sorry for going off, and thank you.

jerv's avatar

@bookish1 We all have our bad days. No harm done :)

Zakat's avatar

Ha, well it’s good to know that someone else out there really does despise Facebook as much as I do. But I’m a neophyte to this whole loathing Facebook thing. Lol.

I had undergraduate professors who did the same thing. I just asked to use e-mail because I didn’t want them snooping around my personal life, and all was good. And that was back when I actually had one that I used frequently. It didn’t make sense to me, either. We already had a school e-mail address and two different online platforms for communication.

jerv's avatar

I still don’t get why some people are blame Facebook for allowing people to snoop into personal lives. There is much about my life that never gets shared on FB, and they only know what you tell them, not all of which is necessarily true. You don’t need a PhD in Information Theory to have that bit of common sense.

Don’t get me wrong; I can see many other reasons to dislike Facebook, but most of those are far more valid than, “I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut!”.

Zakat's avatar

@jerv Haha, you’re right. But for me really Facebook was never an accurate reflection of who I actually was anyway. I just didn’t want to post something and then be questioned or asked about it in a professional setting. Like, “Hey, that must have been some party last night.” or “How old is your younger sister? She looks really good in your pictures.” Ha, I don’t even want to think about the latter.

But I could actually care less what people know about me. I just don’t like staring at them and their cute little lives. This quote courtesy of another user who posted on one of my questions earlier today:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”—Steven Furtick

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