Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Great Facebook Debate

Obviously, I'm still thinking about "The Social Network."  

Mainly, I'm thinking about the same thing I've been debating since the beginning of the school year: Teachers & Facebook

It's a pretty big topic in the media these days - "Google" it, and you'll find over 180,000 posts - including articles in The Washington Post and other major publications... It seems that everywhere we look, a teacher is doing something stupid on Facebook and losing his/her job.  And, by "something stupid," I don't just mean the obvious --- people have been suspended from their jobs even over the comments or pictures their "friends" have posted on their page.  It's a dangerous world (wide web) out there.

... I've never really worried about my own involvement on Facebook.  I led Young Life for several years and have lots of friendships with high school kids (at other schools) so I've been "censoring" long before my school told me too.  (Not to mention the fact that my life is pretty clean cut and "open book" as it is.)  I follow all the basic rules: I set my privacy setting to the max, I don't accept student friend requests (sorry guys: it's a prompt "ignore"), I don't post inappropriate status updates or photos, and - honestly - I don't really do things in my "private life" that I'd be ashamed of if they became "public."  BUT, I still worry.  I can't help it.

Some things are out of my control.  I can't always control (well, honestly, I usually can't) what other people post on their pages or write on my wall.  And, I've heard of people getting in trouble for less.  

Is the occasional reconnection with an old friend or easy "event planning" tool really worth the stress of constantly worrying what might go on in the realm of my Facebook page?  I just don't know.

That brings me to my second point...

There is a quote in the movie where Zuckerberg's ex-girfriend says "The internet is in INK, Mark, not pencil."  (Or something like that.)  What I might have written six years ago when I was in college and first started using Facebook - long before I knew I would be a teacher - doesn't just go away.  It stays out there... forever.  Even, as I've recently noticed, after I die.  That's kind-of scary.

Last year, the seven o'clock news ran a clip on being addicted to Facebook and they included a photo of MY profile.  (No lie.) They didn't ask me.  They didn't care that I was a teacher and didn't exactly want it advertised that I'm out there.  It was in the public realm.  

I like Facebook. A lot.  But, I have to admit that recently I've been considering getting rid of it all together.  (I know, Mom, you'd flip!) 

With all good things, come bad things.  Have we created a monster?  OR, is it possible to really be a good, honorable person and use Facebook as a fun tool to stay in touch with friends and nothing more?  Am I being naive?  I am overreacting? 

Your opinion?  Let's talk...


  1. Well that question isn't loaded by any means! (can you hear my sarcasm? LOL)

    I think that we were given the freedom of speech for a reason. In this freedom we're also allowed to write what we want. My personal opinion is on the fence.

    My "rebellious" side says that it's your page and if people don't like what they're reading or seeing then they can navigate away from your page.

    The "proper" side of me says that because you are an authority figure and people look up to you, that you should still say what you want but censor it.

    You have NO control (except deletion after you see it) of what others post on your wall. That is no one's mistake (except Mr Zuckerberg's, in which case we should be able to approve wall posts or at least have the option to do so).

    I think you should keep your Facebook page, make everything as private as possible and have fun with it. Stop doing it when it's not fun anymore :)

    I could go on, but I don't want to bore you or anyone else :)

  2. I think it's unsettling and unfortunate that nothing on the Internet ever *really* goes away. My boyfriend is a teacher and isn't on Facebook at all so he can avoid the whole issue.

    As for me, I have been thinking seriously about starting a blog but am concerned about privacy issues. I'm not in education (which I think has higher standards for personal conduct outside of work), but I still don't want anything I write on a blog to come back to bite me, so I am still going back and forth on the whole project.

  3. You're over reacting. Love u

  4. We are only in an awkward phase because its still relatively new. Within the next few years there will be "Facebook policy" in teacher handbooks, mark my words.
    Then people won't be so scared. It will insist your page is private from all students and that anything you wouldnt share with your students in the classroom can't be visible to them on the internet, either. Plain and simple.

    I had a friend who was a crew coach at a high school. It was a side job, he was poorly paid, he mostly did it because he loved the sport and the kids. One parent saw over her kids shoulder his facebook page and a picture was of him on a beach shirtless with a beer in hand. He was obviously over-age, but it caused some big stir.

    People will make stuff up to get upset about but thats why schools need to just have strict, clear policies. Then the principal wouldn't have been stuck in a heated debate and simply could have stated it was or wasnt within their facebook policy.

  5. i agree w/ the above comments...except the over-reacting one...ha! i understand your worries about it. I think you are doing fine though. As long as you continue to keep your FB clean & keep it private & keep not being FB friends w/ students - you will be fine. If someone puts something on your page that you don't like, delete it immediately.

    I can't believe the news used YOUR profile!?!? Did you say anything to them about it? How did they do that if your profile is private? Just curious!

  6. Your post made me smile.

    My sister decided to post some bikini photos of me on facebook from our weekend in Florida even though we are waiting one more week to "announce" the pregnancy on Facebook. She took them down, thank goodness.

    So good seeing you last night!

  7. I can't put my opinion into words because I'm still caught up on your profile being shown on the news, in regards to having an addiction... HILARIOUS!!! How awesome and awkward is that at the same time???


  9. I had a facebook account at one time and I decided to dispose of it for many reasons. Call me crazy but it has taken over our world. I pulled into a gas station and it said "become our friend on facebook." Everything, everyone, is on facebook. If a person wanted to take over the world they could do it through facebook.
    I am not totally against fb because I do see the good things that it does, help with memorials, long lost friends and relatives etc. But at the same time I think it is a bad thing that could happen at any time.

  10. I don't think you are overreacting at all. I had many of the same privacy related concerns and ultimately decided to deactivate my account.

    I'm going on a month now and I really have missed it at all. It really is amazing how much time I wasted looking at stuff that really didn't affect my well-being at all. Life without Facebook has also caused me to revert back to the old fashioned methods of communication, like phone calls and face to face conversations. It really made me realize just how impersonal all of my friendships had gotten.


Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!

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