Friday, September 24, 2010

Facebook - Friend or Teacher?

Alex Golub, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, wrote in an article about Facebook that:

The more widely you friend people on Facebook -- and it is a slippery slope -- the more and more your Facebook page becomes a professional Web replacement on Friendster's slick Internet replacement Web site. It becomes less and less a "private" space and more and more a place to show a public face to a very wide audience. In forcing you to craft a public persona, it raises uncomfortable issues of power and inequality and lurk under the surface of our actual world interactions -- which is probably a good thing.

Keeping in mind the popularity of Facebook, how do you feel about instructors and students in higher education being friends on Facebook? Have you experienced this?

Where is the dividing line between personal and professional interaction on Facebook? OR, should there be a division?

To read the entire article, go to: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2009/02/03/golub

14 comments:

Ashley Burbank said...

I don't know if I think friends and instructors should be friends on facebook because a lot of things can be taken out of context or make personal judgements about students and visa versa. I'm friends with previous teachers which I believe is okay but I wouldn't befriend a current teacher.

Anonymous said...

I do not think teachers should friend other students. I have some of my students but it is the students that have moved on to highschool and I will no longer teach. I never friend them during the time of working with them. And it is a call of a comfort zone. There are some students I would never friend with and others that I would. So it is a individual basis as well. It also depends on the person on facebook. If you are person on facebook that shares all your personal life on there then I would recommend not being friends with any of your students. I am a very private person. I do not put much on my facebook other than the basic of my life that I dont care who knows. I do not put my problems online or anything inappropriate. So it is a individual choice of a teacher and what students you would allow.

Ginny said...

I do not think teachers should friend other students. I have some of my students but it is the students that have moved on to highschool and I will no longer teach. I never friend them during the time of working with them. And it is a call of a comfort zone. There are some students I would never friend with and others that I would. So it is a individual basis as well. It also depends on the person on facebook. If you are person on facebook that shares all your personal life on there then I would recommend not being friends with any of your students. I am a very private person. I do not put much on my facebook other than the basic of my life that I dont care who knows. I do not put my problems online or anything inappropriate. So it is a individual choice of a teacher and what students you would allow.

Anonymous said...

I think this post is very interesting. It is so true how Facebook is becoming more of a professional place then a private network. I have had personal experience with the professional side of facebook already. I am on an activity scholarship at my college and one of the requirements now is that you must friend either the coach of your activiy or the head of the department. I understand the prinicples behind this requirement, to make sure that the students representing the college are doing that properly since they are getting paid to attend the college. But as a student that stays out of trouble and follows the guidelines presented to me, I don't mind doing this but I find it as a little bit of an invasion of my privacy. I have nothing to hide on my Facebook page but it is still my page and I should be able to befriend and let others view it at my own liking and not at the demand from others.

Donna Barlow said...

Facebook is virtually everywhere I look these days. As hard as I've tried to avoid it, I find I can't get around the internet - or even the news without hearing about it. When a profile is created, everyone in the world has access to whatever you post - if you let them. I find that it can be a way to professionally link to others, but the reality is, what you post is open to whoever follows you. I don't know how others have so much time to keep up the features, like farmville. I barely have enough time to read what others have posted...

dreams1599 said...

I think the same rules apply online and offline. I don't see a problem with instructors and students becoming friends on Facebook as long as there is a legitimate relationship between them. I think the same applies to supervisors and subordinates. It all depends on how the relationship is handled. When I was younger my husband and I worked at the same place and he was my immediate supervisor, I am also good friends with my current boss and my boss from my last job. The way I have always handled this is to treat the relationships as separate from one another. What happens at work stays at work, and what happens at home stays there. This arrangement has never caused any problems in my personal or professional life. I think a division is unnecessary beyond this mental division.

Kim Webb said...

I feel it is up to the individual whether or not to befriend an instructor. I would not want to befriend any teacher I would not enjoy hanging out with outside a classroom setting. I would also not befriend them while in their class, or if there were a possibility of attending their class in the future. I post pictures of my daughter on my site, so I am pretty particular with who I befriend.

Tara Yarmer said...

I don't think that, while in still in school, teachers and students should be friends on facebook. I believe that it is just too personal when teachers are supposed to be so professional and have the responsibility of setting certain examples. Perhaps once the student is out of school the situation may be more appropriate

Chris Ridey said...

I think that Facebook is good for keeping up with friends and family, but I think it would work good as a professional site to as long as you separated the two. I do not think they should be mixed...

Gail Akerberg said...

I think that students and instructors can be friends but each has to remember that there should be no favoritism in the classroom. I think Facebook is a giant gossip column that you can find out things about otther people instead of being a true friend and calling them. Instead of trying to discuss something by texting or going through Facebook why not do it the old fashioned way and call your friend and talk to them, there might just be fewer fights and misunderstandings if people would do this.

Anonymous said...

I think if you manage to keep your facebook page as a way to socialize, and not share too much personal information, then it'll be fine. Facebook is otherwise, a great place to talk to family and friends that live in different states or countries.

Jill Wilkinson said...

I think it depends on what you use your facebook for. Some people use their facebook page for professional use only and some people use it as a huge gossip page. If the use if more professional I think it may be ok to friend people that are in your professional life however you have to be careful because somebody could post comments that you may not want other people to know or see. I personally think a lot of people share way too much information on facebook, therefore since I can not control what other people post I will avoid professional attachments unless I create a professional only page.

Ruth said...

I believe that facebook is a good way to keep in touch with friends and family whom you do not get to see everyday. I think that it is unprofessional to be facebook friends with your boss or people you have to answer to at work. I don't think it is appropriate to get your personal life mixed with your job. I also think that by friending too many people you have to begin to monitor your posts and comments or it turns into a circle of gossip that ends up getting someone hurt.

Crystal said...

I agree with Tara! I work in a school setting now and am not comfortable being "friends" with the students I work with. It is hard for me to expect them to respect me on the same level if they are able to talk to me differently on Facebook. It is one thing to connect with kids and try to reach them on their level, but Facebook is a social networking site. It is personal. At the end of the day, I love the kiddos, but 8 hours is plenty of time with them. I don't think it's necessary to be friends on facebook as well. I would imagine that professors sould feel the same way.