In my profession, daily use of social media is accepted AND expected. I plan my posts, strategizing for each of our clients in addition to representing our company brand. I get the luxury of both work and play on social media, and I have been involved personally with this form of networking for quite some time. I signed up for Facebook when I first found out about it, back in my first semester of college. It was a time when you were required to have a .edu email address to create an account. I've seen many changes in the social media world since then; the growth and expansion of Facebook, the demise of MySpace, the rise of Twitter, and the power of photos on Flickr and Tumblr, to name a few.
Many people don't think twice about what they're doing on social media. In general, a personal social media account is a space that belongs to the individual. Sure, there are certain unspoken rules that should apply to everyone (don't post pictures of you throwing up on the street corner after a long night of drinking, avoid nude photos- you know, follow common decency). However, being active on social media is so common, no one really considers that certain groups may be getting left out of experiencing social networks to the fullest.
I found an interesting article detailing one profession that walks a fine line in the social media universe, and that is teachers. Not only do they have to deal with constant friend requests from current students, they have to be careful about everything they post in a public forum because so many of their students are on Facebook. Student-teacher relationships are frowned upon in any capacity, and privacy controls can only do so much. Can students and teachers share a particular social media space? That is an ethical question that has led many teachers to seek out other platforms for social media that are catered to educators, such as:
Edmodo - A social learning site that, "provides teachers and students a secure place to connect and collaborate, share content, and educational applications, and access homework, grades, class discussions and notifications (Edmodo website)." The purpose is strictly educational, and the network provides a safe and secure environment for connecting with peers and colleagues, as well as students.
edWeb - A networking website strictly for educators. Similar to LinkedIn, it offers, "a community to connect with peers, share information and best practices, spread innovative ideas, and provide professional development (edWeb website)."
This doesn't mean that teachers can't benefit from using the typical social media platforms. For example, the article points out that Facebook and Twitter are great sources of technology news that can be integrated into the classroom. However, because teachers feel limited on how active they can be on more well-known social media platforms, opting to join one of these specialized networks is very appealing.
By: Jocy Vuiller