Johns Hopkins University junior Joshua Robinson e-mails to give me a well-deserved scolding. He’s the author of an opinion piece that appeared in the Johns Hopkins News-Letter warning his fellow students that the personal information they post in the online social networking system Facebook could be accessed and used by just about everybody. Silly me! I misread “News-Letter” as “Newsletter,” and assumed that the paper was an official JHU handout, and thus did not credit Mr. Robinson properly. The item was solely his opinion (and a timely, well-couched opinion at that). My apologies to Mr. Robinson.
The underlying brouhaha involved JHU student Jered Ede’s article in Human Events Online detailing JHU”S decision to ban the campus conservative newspaper, the Carrollton Record, for daring to report on a university-paid visit to campus by gay porn-film director Chi Chi LaRue. (See “Gay Porn at Johns Hopkins,” May 19, and the Mailbag for May 23.) LaRue’s tuition-subsidized speech featured free pornography handouts to JHU students. Apparently some JHU students who had proudly advertised on Facebook their membership in the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance (the group that sponsored LaRue’s speech) were shocked, shocked when that information surfaced along with their pictures in the Carrollton Record.
Here’s Mr. Robinson’s e-mail to InkWell:
“In your recent posting about the Carrollton Record, you claimed the following: “Here is Johns Hopkins’s own warning to its students about Facebook:
“”More than ever before, potential employers are using Facebook to collect information on candidates. Students are surprisingly unaware that the photos they post from that beer funneling contest may break the deal on a summer internship or post-graduation job….
“‘In the meantime, remember:Facebook is more public than you think. If you’re currently looking for a job, post with caution. Cut out the expletives. Watch out for addiction-insinuating posts on your wall. And for God’s sake, delete the lap dance pictures.’
“These are my words, not those of the administration of Johns Hopkins. I am a junior at Hopkins. My views, which were published in an op-ed, have nothing to do with any sort of warning or notice emanating from the University. In fact, the whole point of my article was that the University WASN’T doing enough to warn students of the dangers of posting incriminating or damaging information on Facebook. A more careful reading next time, please!”
Right you are, Mr. Robinson, and I’ll try not to let it happen again.