Facebook fuss part umpteen: students are dum-dums

The latest round of Facebook numbskullery comes from none other than Edinburgh’s Student newspaper. Now, a few people have tried to persuade me to write for it, what with me having this blog and being a student at Edinburgh University and all. But it isn’t something that I could be proud of.

Reading the Student is like placing your mouth at the anus of somebody who’s had laxatives for lunch. And this is apparently ‘Scottish student newspaper of the year’. I dread to think what the others must be like.

Student is littered with screamingly obvious spelling and grammar errors. Most of the space is filled up with contrived politically incorrect jokes in an attempt to prove that it’s well edgy. When you talk to actual students, nobody seems to like it. But we all pick it up because it’s free, like the Metro.

At least it isn’t EU Student Association propaganda rag Hype. It consists of nothing but pages and pages telling you how great EUSA is. Hype is an apt name for it. It has absolutely no redeeming features. You can’t even wipe your bum with it because it’s too glossy (aaah, so that’s where EUSA’s budget goes!).

Anyway. That Facebook numbskullery. The front page of this week’s Student screams:

Undergraduates have been advised to clean-up their profiles after it emerged that firms in the UK are screening potential employees through social networking websites.

Well, no, it hasn’t just “emerged” that firms screen employees through social networks. It is just common sense. And if you find that shocking, you should just ask yourself: if you were an employer, wouldn’t you?

Should you doubt this, in a shock outbreak of good journalism, some handy figures are provided:

…77% of recruiters in America run searches on the internet to screen applicants. “36% of firms in the US who do these searches have rejected candidates as a result,” claimed Dave Opton, CEO and founder of Execunet.

The story is continued on page 3 where the article tells us about Facebook groups you can join if you fancy being part of a collective exhibition of sticking your fingers in your ears. One group is called “Hey Employers GET OFF FACEBOOK!!!”. Another is called “Dear Employer, I’m an upstanding individual despite my Facebook pictures”.

Newsflash. If you post pictures of yourself violently sicking up and caption it “Dohh, I knew I shouldn’t have had that 16th pint!”, and you put those pictures on the World Wide Web for all to see, then all are going to see it! It isn’t difficult. If you wouldn’t put it on a billboard, don’t put it on the web.

You can say that you are a model employee despite that picture of you lying naked in a pile of vomit. But that is a bit like standing outside a school gate with your hand down your trousers and asking concerned parents to stop giving you a funny look because you are an otherwise perfectly law-abiding citizen.

Continued on page 5, where readers are subjected to an awful opinion piece called ‘Whose space is it anyway?’ It starts off quite reasonably. But by the end, the writer has made so many unworkable and just downright stupid suggestions that it makes me want to gnaw my own face off.

He briefly toys with the idea of bringing in anti-discrimination legislation to end the problem. That’s right, because the fact that employers are a bit wary of employing people who proudly post pictures of themselves drunkenly crapping their pants in the street is a real blight on our society!

But just you wait until you find out who’s to blame for this whole hoo-ha.

The network could be better policed and restricted by those that run the sites.

I’m not even sure what is meant by this, but I’m guessing he means that employers should somehow be blocked from accessing people’s profiles. This is completely unworkable, and also against the spirit of the website whereby people post profiles of themselves for other people to look at. Why put something on Facebook then throw up your arms in horror when somebody reads it? What did you expect was going to happen to it?

Besides, did you not realise that you can make your profile visible to friends only? Do you need your mum to still hold your hand? Why aren’t you responsible enough to face the brunt of your own actions? It is not Facebook’s fault if you choose to upload damaging information about yourself.

But because the sites are owned or funded by the same business interests that recruit young graduates, there is little incentive to adapt for the needs of the users, who, after all, are not paying anything.

So there you have it. This whole fuss isn’t the fault of the students who are stupid enough to supply embarassing information about themselves to the general internet-surfing public. It’s the fault of big business of course! Why didn’t I think of that?!

Students are meant to be the cream of the crop. But in actual fact most of them are thundering dum-dums who don’t have two brain cells to rub together.


  1. I’m not even starting on Student. Lets just say my flatmates had to physically ban me from reading it last year because they couldn’t deal with the ranting. (Standard editorial policy: if someone gives constructive criticism – such as, you know, maybe use some grammar and structure sometimes – call them fat – the worst thing you can be in yah-land? – and laugh at them.) AAAAAARGH.

  2. This is what I found back in the day… you’d think a university, especially one like Edinburgh, would have students who would at least be able to put together a fairly coherent argument for anything, without relying on personality, demagoguery and ad hominem attacks. That’s what I expected anyway.

    Instead you got Ruth Cameron (ex-Studnet newspaper, remember) wanting to get rid of Teviot Library because it’s “dirty, old and smelly”, which is a strong argument for giving the place a deep clean and a fresh coat of paint, but a rubbish justification for getting rid of the whole thing. On NUS, the strongest argument that the Yes camp put forward (apart from 10% off at Topshop) was that the last time Edinburgh students even discussed NUS membership was 1984. The overall message of the No camp was “Well, we’ve been independent since 1979, and didn’t some ex-NUS Presidents become Labour MPs who voted for Top-Up fees?”

    Not inspiring, is it?

  3. I have been unmasked, though it was never much of a mask in the first place. 😛

    And the less said about my party tricks, the better!

  4. It’s not students. Trust me, it’s really not students. People, generally, are stupid, and so many feel the need to have their hands held it’s scary.

    But I do like it when you go on “state the obvious” binges, it’s very apparent that it’s needed. Gah!

    As for top student newspaper? Exeter’s Exeposé was apparently a top student paper as well. No idea who awarded it, but I suspect it was “as voted by Exeter students”, because choice of one isn’t much.

  5. Good article. Facebook really demonstrates some of the awful features of the modern student body:

    1) Self-importance – ‘Don’t let non-students on Facebook’ groups outraged at the prospect of those with less academic minds knowing details as intimate as their favourite films.

    2) ‘Quirky’ student humuor – ‘Some washed up ex-celebrity appreciation’ groups, ‘I feel a childish sense of pride in drinking more than I should/studying less than I should’ groups’ and ‘Failed attempts at Monty Python humour themed’ groups.

    3) Shit taste in music – or rather lack of any taste in music. Nothing against the students who list a whole bunch of artists I personally don’t care for, rather the student who write ‘I’m lovin’ a bit of (insert flash in the pan indie pop band) but I don’t mind as long as it isn’t (insert one or more of the following genres: metal, techno, rap)’. Students that are in effect saying ‘despite knowing not much at all about music I feel perfectly comfortable making fun of the music some people happen to be passionate about’.

    So in agreement with it isn’t facebook itself that sucks rather the students that use it.

  6. You are so right Jon. I cannot stand it when people say something like, “I like all kinds of music except dance.” If somebody says that, it’s a surefire sign that they are an arsehole. Sure, there are certain genres of music that I don’t like, but I don’t run around making a point about it.

  7. […] Student is notorious for its howlingly obvious spelling and grammar errors. Maybe I should hunt down the edition from a few weeks ago that talked about the “gravitas” of a situation. I can’t remember what situation it was, but I clearly thought the gravitas [sic] of this basic English error was more important because that’s the only thing I can remember about it. […]