Social media can be an interesting topic for colleges, corporations, and middle schools to make a decision about. The fact is, it is there and the established practice for dealing with social media has yet to be established.
I go to CU Denver and none of the social media sites are banned. There is even a social media program that we are required to use, called Blackboard. Blackboard is an education software program that allows you to post assignments, send emails, and have a discussion board.
Many professors, in an attempt to increase class participation, make it a graded assignment to post in the discussion board on blackboard. Since Blackboard does not allow you to add a picture, it is hard to know who you are ‘talking’ to on the internet. This can lead to awkward conversation in real life while you trying to figure out if the Jane Smith you’ve been talking to online, is the same person standing right in front of you.
Outside of the assigned discussion board, I use Linked In (linkedin.com) to stay in touch with classmates. It is interesting seeing the other students backgrounds, and the pictures help you put a name to a face. Also, Linked In stays with you after class ends, and Blackboard goes away.
In the past I have been a part of organizations that banned any mention of the company, anything related to the company, or any topic related to information that might have to do with the topic. I completely respect this stance, as more and more the media is considering social media blogs newsworthy.
Anytime you post something on a social media site, you have to picture that information on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. If you think harm may be done if it were on the cover of the newspaper, do NOT put the information online.
A school with a younger age group than a college will definitely run into more problems with social media than a college may have, but can afford to allow more social media usage than a big corporation can.
Here is a big news story – middle school children can act very immature. Also, the earth is round.
The fact is you cannot keep the children from participating in social media. Instead of being afraid of schools, schools should educate children on how to use social media. Too many children are posting material that would not be appropriate on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, and they need to understand why this may be a bad thing.