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Aug 02

To Facebook or not to Facebook

Updated August 3, 2012:

I’ve been contemplating creating a Facebook page for my class/class blog. There are a lot of positives, but there’s a pretty significant negative.

Obviously Facebook is a huge online powerhouse in terms of making connections. A large number of people use it and check it frequently. A class Facebook page would allow for parents to see updates in a timeline they are already checking frequently (theoretically). The class blog allows for comments, yet people seem much more likely to like or comment on a Facebook post. I’m not sure why that is.

Conversely, I worry that having a Facebook page for the class would encourage students to have a Facebook account. That would not be a problem normally, but my students are too young to use Facebook according to its Terms of Service. I realize many of my students have Facebook accounts, but I think there could be an ethical gray area with having a class page they could “Like” and follow. But would having a class Facebook page provide students without a Facebook account a “good” reason to convince parents to allow them to sign up? Then, it could be concluded that I am indirectly encouraging – or at least not condemning – a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service.

I don’t know if I am over analyzing this or if it is a valid concern. I do know I haven’t made my decision yet. Of course, the easiest thing is to continue as I have in the past with the class blog and to not make any changes. The big question then becomes is that the best option, or am I missing an opportunity to connect with parents in a new way?

I just don’t know yet! What do you think? Do you have a class Facebook page? If you do, how old are your students, and how effective have your interactions been? I’m looking forward to hearing your perspectives.

Update:

So far, I have heard lots of arguments for not having a class page. However, I know that schools, teachers, and districts connect in this way. I’m very curious to hear if there are any opinions on the opposite side of the debate. I am not suggesting “friending” but a page – similar to pages for businesses used to delivering messages to parents and perhaps invitations to events. It’s purpose would not be to reach students. Obviously, no one would be required to access or like the page. It would just be one more option.

However, since there is such much against it, sticking with just the class web site seems like the best option. But I am still really interested in finding positive perspectives. Can you chime in?

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