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08-09 Social Networking

Page history last edited by Admin 10 years, 6 months ago


Social Networks are one of the main ways that young adults communicate with each other -- 55% of all teenagers use social networking sites, and use of these sites has even surpassed landline telephones for a certain percentage of teenagers according to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project ( PIP_Teens_Social_Media_Final.pdf).


It is worth noting that these networks incorporate many of the tools we are exploring in other Things -- blogging, photo and video sharing, internal email, message boards, and IM.  One-stop shopping is part of their appeal . . . one username, one password, all the info in one spot.


Another part of the appeal is the need to "belong to a group"  -- a milestone of adolescent development.  Young people create their own groups, "friend" people, and more . . . often without the watchful eye of a parent or other authority figure.  This is one of the reasons many teenagers like MySpace and Facebook.  Facebook began as a college-focused social network. (In fact, it originally required a .edu address to join.)  When it opened up to everyone, many Facebook users were not happy -- the exclusivity for young adults seemed lost.  However, many adults are discovering the appeal of social networking; you may be interested in reading 12 Ways to Use Facebook ProfessionallyLinkedIn is a social network specifically for professionals.


Of course, the lack of the watchful eye is, to some parents, teachers, and librarians, the reason social networks are suspect and prone to abuse.  Many parents, schools, and organizations opt for blocking access to these sites.  Others look to education on internet safety, privacy, appropriate use of technology, and other issues as a way to allow use of these networks that are so important to teens and young adults.


MySpace and Facebook may grab the headlines in social networking, but there are many other social networks.  Social networks are online communities created around interests with people-to-people recommendations and communication.  These specialized social networks allow like-minded users to find and interact with one another, whether around crafts or cars or any other shared interest.  Some examples are Classroom 2.0 Ning, Teacher Librarian Ning, Minnesota Life, Bake Space, Film Crave, Shelfari, and Fuzzster.


Read Social Networking in the Classroom: Learning by Stealth

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