I have an account with Facebook, and at first I would spend forever reading everyone's postings. I have to admit that I haven't been very diligent with checking it or keeping up to date with it. I have so many other things going on that I don't really have time to monitor it. I enjoy finding old classmates and connecting with people that I haven't seen or heard from in a while. I think that is probably one of the greatest advantages to the social networking sites. I was able to search for groups such as people from my home town, people who graduated high school with me, people from college etc., etc. For that reason alone I think that this is a great tool. With that being said, here are some of the problems. I do not feel the need to know every little detail about what people do all day. It does get a little ridiculous when people post EVERYTHING, but I still read it anyway when I log in. Also, I'm not a huge fan of all the odds and ends such as quizzes, Farm Town request, and other random things that come up. Here is a link to my profile.
Facebook seems to be a more conservative program, but MySpace was a different experience for me. When I went out to browse around MySpace, I was APPALLED by some of the things I saw and read on the students' sites. I wanted to see what all the hype was about a few years ago, so I went out and looked at several of my students' sites. Holy Cow! Even the kids that I thought were "good" kids had some very questionable content posted, and that doesn't even count the profanity. I am not a big fan of MySpace, but I think it has more to do with how it is being used than the program itself.
As far as educational uses go, I am a little skeptical. One educational use I could see social networks having is through collaboration. Through these sites, students and teachers can connect and discuss different topics without having to physically be in the same place. Students could work on group projects with one another and teachers could collaborate on curriculum and lesson plans. These sites also eliminate the distance barrier, and would allow some great opportunities for students to connect with people from various countries around the world to learn together.
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