Teachers' Social Networking Increases With the Use of Professionally Oriented Social Media
Back in the dark ages when I was an educator, colleagues and I rarely used social media. It was only after we left the teaching profession did we begin to go on Twitter, Facebook and other popular sites. In fact many of my colleagues still avoid Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. To some extent it's a lack of being savvy. To another extent it's because of privacy issues spurred on by mistakes individuals have made forgetting that on social media, there is really no such thing as private (Anthony Weiner, et. al.).
In recent reports it was noted that while those younger faculty currently working in the profession are on Facebook and Twitter, they are more likely to use less-established networks that offer privacy and resource sharing with peer-to-peer connections that meet their professional needs. This was affirmed by Jessie Arora, the founder of Teacher Square, an organization that helps educators share information about education and technology. Teachers do have their personal connections of friends and family on Facebook, but for the most part, they will not interact with with their students or parents, and they avoid the space altogether for strictly professional use.
A friend of mine, a former Principal in the New York City Public Schools affirmed that she repeatedly warned her staff to stay off social networking sites. Her rationale was if a student with malevolence in his or her heart wanted to make trouble, all he or she needed to do was identify the teacher's name and plug a search in to Facebook, Twitter, et. al. and "have fun." Anything was possible. Better to stay off sites or use them sparingly, diligently and circumspectly since teachers are held to the highest ethical standards of any of the professions.
Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are blocked by schools because of ethical concerns. The professional divide between teachers and students must be upheld. Social media sites are friending sites. For the teacher and student relationship to be the most efficacious, it should be learning based. As a result, educators--with their particular schedules and Internet habits--are moving toward social networks designed specifically for them, according to data from a survey conducted by MMS Education, a marketing company based in Newtown, Pa.Continued on the next page