Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Social Networking

Social Networking on the web takes place when computers are electronically linked and as a result individuals can form relationships based on common interests, activities and acquaintances. Social Networking services such as MySpace and Facebook are free. Users can create a profile for themselves, upload pictures, create groups, and add friends.


I have an account with both MySpace and Facebook and, in my opinion, Facebook is far more valuable. I feel that MySpace is too open and although you can set your profile to private, there are still facts that are viewable to the public such as your name, age and location. Although MySpace works with law enforcement to identify predators, I still feel a little uneasy with the service and I occasionally get the strange person wanting to be my friend. I do not see any educational purposes for MySpace. The only thing that a student may want to use MySpace for is to locate other students at the same school or to join a group that they are particularly passionate about such as "College Democrats".

Facebook has a lot of applications including: a Visual Bookshelf where you can add your favorite books for your friends to see and borrow, you can grow a virtual garden and have virtual pets, have your horoscope displayed on your page, share recipes, share photos, play games, join networks and much more. I also find this to have more educational aspects than MySpace. For example, you can publish notes from class discussions as well as homework assignments. In order to do this, you must make a Facebook profile that is accessible to all of your students. If your students do not have a Facebook account they will not be able to view your profile. In addition, you can use your classroom Facebook profile as a center for discussion. Students and teachers can post questions or topics for further discussion on the Wall application.


Both of these social networking sites have their downfalls. Privacy is obviously a big concern. If you are a member of these sites, it is imperative that you post appropriate material so that it does not come back and hurt you later. I found an article from USA Today that discussed evasive issues pertaining to these sites. There was one case where a student was denied admission to a school based on the content of his blog. In today's world, it is not safe to assume that the only people viewing your profile are your friends.


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