Another dot in the blogosphere?

Mixed advice about social media

Posted on: June 12, 2015

I found this social media advice for teachers.

I hope teachers do not take the advice like it is gospel truth because there are exceptions.

For example, I am all for keeping it “light and positive”. But sometimes there are heavy or serious matters that might be discussed on social media. The mostly asynchronous nature of social media affords time and space for thoughtful reflection and these might not be light at all.

You also cannot always be positive. Sometimes you have to be point out flaws, be a critical friend, or simply provide balance. But you can do it professionally and after you have established yourself as a trusted entity.

Some people might label providing an opposing view as “negativity” and the author advises disconnecting with it. This is not always advisable because you might suffer from group think or delude yourself into thinking that there is no thought contrary to your own.

The author also advises teachers not to follow students on Facebook. On the surface, this seems like good advice. Dig deeper and it is still good advice. Teachers should be never appear to be establishing and nurturing inappropriate relationships. However, following such advice blindly relies on fear instead of common sense.

Here is an alternative: You can be connected in monitoring mode without being in conversing mode.

For example, when I was a teacher educator at a university, I followed my student teachers on Facebook if they asked to friend me. I was able to monitor their morale and get informal feedback because they would share things openly on Facebook that they would not do elsewhere.

That is how I found out how one student teacher was contemplating suicide. If I did not read what she wrote on Facebook, I would not have been able to intervene by connecting her with an institute’s counsellor.

Bottomline: The list of social media do’s and don’ts are not rules, especially if they are grounded in fear. There will be exceptions based on the care you have for your learners.

2 Responses to "Mixed advice about social media"

I like the way that you have framed your post here in terms of that being anti-positive on social media does not always mean being negative. I especially find that putting out an opposing perspective or even questioning a particular truism on Twitter has meant that I have been seen as being “negative” and undermining the concept under discussion.
The moment we get too prescriptive around how social media should be used, we start limiting the learning that could take place. All within the bounds of being professional of course – no one likes a troll.


I concur! It becomes obvious when someone is a troll or when they are trying to be constructive. We need to be sensitive to that difference, not just plain sensitive to everything. ūüėČ


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