Social Media Stalking Your Future Roommate

Your roommate assignment finally shows up in your mailbox and you immediately search for them on Facebook. Why? Let’s be honest, you want to see if they are “normal.” Social media allows you to catch a glimpse of someone’s personality and lifestyle, but it does not give you the whole story, or even the right one.

My freshman year, I requested to room with a friend of a friend whom I had never met before. When I searched her on Facebook, nothing came up. I sort of panicked. What normal high school girl did not have Facebook? I communicated with her instead through texting (at least she had a cell phone) and it seemed like we would get along well.

Move in day arrived and I was anxious to meet the girl I would be living with for the next nine months. When I walked into our dorm room, a completely normal, nice person greeted me. After the first few weeks of living together, I knew I had gotten a really great roommate. We have roomed together every year since (even going abroad to London together) and she has become one of my best friends. So why did she not have Facebook? Turns out she just does not do well with technology.

While you are seeking out roommates and dorm mates on social media, do not be surprised if someone reaches out to you as well. I received a Facebook message from a girl who would be living in my dorm down the hall from me. We added each other as friends, and the Facebook evaluation began. My first impression? She liked to party. I could not really tell you how I came to that conclusion; her pictures made it seem like she was always with a lot of people at parties, having a wild and crazy time. I was not sure I was ready for partying in college, so when she invited me to have dinner with her once we got to school, I was slightly apprehensive. But I went, and it turned out I was completely wrong about her! She was not in to partying at all, and actually lead a pretty conservative lifestyle.

Although I hate to admit it, I do use social media as a way to see what people are like before I meet them. Or even dig deeper into the lives of people I just met. Sound creepy? Yeah, I know, but I also know I am not the only one who does it. Social media is such a big part of our lives and we have the ability to share so much. It is ok to do some social media research on roommates or dorm mates before you get to college, but keep these things in mind.

Not everyone has Facebook, Twitter, etc. In fact, some people are actually deleting their Facebook accounts because they do not see the point of having one anymore. If your future roommate is not social media savvy, do not freak out. Find a better way to communicate, such as texting or, better yet, an actual phone call. There is also a possibility that their profile is super private or unsearchable. More and more people are doing this due to employers’ abilities to find and use social media profiles in their hiring processes.

You Can Look, But Do Not Judge If someone shares a lot on their social media sights, it might seem like you will get a pretty good look at their lifestyle, hobbies and attitude. But never, ever make assumptions until you really get to know someone. And the only way to do that is through the tried and true face-to-face conversation.

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Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in journalism and strategic communication. With an interest in social media, she can often be found exploring the Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and Pinterest profiles of big brands. Her laptop and iPhone never leave her side. Outside of school and work, Caitlin can be found enjoying a good TV show or two and spending time with her friends and family.
Caitlin Furin

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