If You Want a Counterintelligence Degree or a Degree in Intelligence, Update Your Status
Raise your hand if you have a Facebook account. Since I can’t see anyone reading this article, I’m just going to assume that almost everyone asked this question should raise their hand skyward. Social media has become integrated into the fabric of everyday life for most Americans, but sometimes telling the world what you “heart” isn’t always the best thing to do for your academic career, especially if you’ve been considering a counterintelligence degree or a degree in intelligence. According to a recent article in USA Today, an increasing number of universities and higher learning facilities are taking a gander at your Facebook page or Twitter account while reviewing your admission application. It’s a great way for schools to get a sense of what type of person they would be granting access to their hallowed halls. All universities have to be concerned with their image, and to that end, they only want students who will reflect positively on the university when they are out in the world. If you’re posting pictures of you puking at the bar, friends with High Times Magazine, or obviously spend too much time tilling your virtual fields, then you may not be what they’re looking for.
Ok, if you’re seriously considering a counterintelligence degree or a degree in intelligence, then you most likely have been around the Intelligence Community in some facet or faculty. As such you should know that there is a difference between what happens during the mission and what is broadcast on the news. Realize that this type of OPSEC and INFOSEC is critical, not only to those missions, but in your personal life as well. Your virtual life may not always exactly line up with the way you would like to present yourself professionally. Remember, schools that you apply to may be dropping in on your page and may not “like” everything they find. If schools don’t enjoy your comments, then how do you think potential employers would feel? Your OMG story may be funny to you and your buddies, but could cost you dearly if read by prying eyes.
Additionally, if you’re truly looking for a career in the Intelligence Community, then you should already know that they are looking for quiet professionals, not tweeters who “check-in” everywhere they go, broadcasting every thought, feeling and action. If you have a Twitter account, strike one. If you have a Facebook account that is used for more than just keeping in touch with grandma and maybe a few old Army buddies, then you’re already behind the power curve. Now I’m not saying that social media is bad, because it’s not; however, in this realm of the world it can be a handicap, and it is at least frowned upon when misused. Information on the web is information for the enemy. Privacy settings can definitely greatly help to ensure that no unauthorized personnel can view the dark corners of your page, but sometimes your profile picture alone can say it all. So if you’re serious about getting a counterintelligence degree or a degree in intelligence, then you may want to update your status to: “No Comment” and black out the eyes on all of your photos.
By the way, don’t forget to “Tag” this page!