How do you decide who to befriend on a social network? I was planning on writing this even before my mother befriended me on Facebook.
This is not a how-to guide for students using social networks. This is about how I use them as a teacher. I preface this by saying that there are no rules. And if there were rules then those rules are changing as we go. My idea of how to use the different networks has certainly changed from a year ago. A year from now I might say something completely different.
This is the one network where my personal business is all hanging out. There’s nothing inappropriate on there but because I share pictures of my new kitchen and my Hawaiian vacation, I only befriend people I know…usually these are people I’ve met in person but occasionally they are people with whom I’ve developed an online blogging relationship or correspondence. Sometimes web site visitors who I’ve never talked to before try to befriend me and I don’t accept. Sorry, pick another network and we can be colleagues.
Anyone who joins should read this article on setting up the privacy settings on Facebook. I block my page from Google and I don’t allow all my friends to see tagged photos of me so that I have control over what photos of me people see. Invariably you will only be tagged when you’re having a bad hair day or a big zit.
But because it is possible to block as much as you want to about yourself from people you don’t want to see it, I don’t think you have to be afraid of joining. I do draw the line when it comes to befriending students. My first year’s class is not quite starting high school yet so the issue has never come up for me. However, I always wonder if a student posted something about contemplating suicide or experiencing child abuse on their Facebook account if you would be mandated to report it or liable if you didn’t report even if you might have missed it in the first place. I just think it’s inappropriate to befriend students. Feel free to disagree.
Thanks Oprah and CNN for bringing this to the masses. Twitter is like the status function of Facebook and just that. What’s cool about is that you can have conversations with people you’d never talk to in real life and you can get up to date news.
Anyone can follow me on Twitter. At first I would follow back anyone who was also a teacher but it got so cumbersome to follow everyone that I started missing tweets from the people I really don’t want to not miss. I use Tweetdeck on the Mac now and that helps to separate the people I follow into groups and it has a super great desktop interface.
I’ll add anyone to my network on there if know them even just a little bit. Tell me you use my web site and we’re colleagues. That’s all it takes. This is a business oriented Facebook minus the pictures. You basically post your resume and recommend other people. The day that a Fortune 500 company comes looking for a second grade teacher and UCLA graduate to be CEO I know I’ll be snatched up.
Ning is like a Facebook for teachers. I used to add anyone to my colleagues list by lately Ning is subject to random spam attacks by nefarious and less than nefarious types. I don’t like being spammed by friends or porn stars so I’ve become more selective about adding people as colleagues. I add people I meet at conferences so that I remember them and can find them later. It’s not supposed to be a mailing list manager but some people use it that way.
If you only join one Ning then join Classroom 2.0. The whole idea is that you join Nings based on your interests but what happens is you end up a member of 20 nings and it makes you wish you only had joined one in the first place. Stick with Classroom 2.0. I haven’t stopped by there in ages but it helped me immensely in setting up technology projects and finding like minded individuals.
These are my thoughts about who to befriend. Agree? Disagree? Have different ways of using the networks? I did befriend my mom. I think