Monday, February 21, 2011

How Clean is Your Facebook Account?

Given this recent headline in The Atlantic, and given many schools' tendency to panic and over-react regarding most social networks, I'm sure we all, as tech-savvy media specialists, keep our online digital footprints pretty clean.   But is your Facebook profile as clean as you think?

SocioClean, a free online tool, promises to analyze your profile and give you the bad/good news.

I gave it a go, and think the tool is just about as reactionary as many a district superintendent.

Once you log in, it only takes a few minutes for SocioClean to analyze your status updates, images, and wall posts (both from you and your friends), then report back your grade. Here is my report:

Yikes!  Fortunately the site breaks down your results and gives specific examples of objectionable content, and I was very surprised to find out my biggest fault is my aggression level.  Really?  Laid back me?  My profanity level was also pretty high.   Once I started digging into the results, however, it turned out to be not quite as bad as SocioClean would lead me to think.

The aggression level came from many of the reports on Egypt (I lived in Cairo for 5 years, so followed the uprising there very closely)--some of the offending words being bombs, wrecked, terrorist,  and fire.  Hmmm.  My profanity level was medium high, and on looking at it, I am rather chagrined at how often I say "bloody hell" on a post.  I'll have to watch that.  However, it also pegged calling someone a "blow-hard" as sexual, as well as the xxx a couple friends signed off with.  Getting up at the crack of dawn was tagged as a drug reference, as was a dinner of Korean Hot-Pot, while a mention of Dick Cheney was tagged as profane.  Well, no argument there.

If SocioClean gives me an F, I give it a solid C.  It's overly sensitive, and doesn't recognize context,  but would be interesting to use with students to get them thinking more clearly about the cumulative effect of their posts.  It gives back results for racial comments (for some reason, the word Osama makes you racist), as well as those mentioned above.

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