SMCA IT

March 26, 2009

Facebook Accounts for Teachers – Professional or Not?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mark Glowacz @ 9:27 PM
Facebook Screen Shot

Facebook Screen Shot

I’m pleasantly surprised that I received a comment already and more importantly a great question was posed – is it professional or unprofessional for a teacher to have a Facebook account?

Let me give you the short answer. Yes.

In my opinion, having a Facebook account is no different than having a personal web page. Having it is neither professional or unprofessional. What you do with a Facebook account can have consequences to your professional life.

Personally, I like Facebook but have not obsessed over it. I treat it like any other personal relationship I might have. If someone asks me to be friends, my first litmus test is would I go out of my way to have a drink or dinner with that person? If not, I ignore the request. Tamar Weinberg, a social media expert, wrote an etiquette article that I think should be required reading even if you don’t agree with him.

Do teachers and Facebook accounts mix? Sure. Remember this – if you wouldn’t do or say something around your peers, boss or mother then you shouldn’t say or talk about it on Facebook.

Teachers who do use Facebook can be better authorities on the subject when helping students understand the consequences of Facebook usage. Illustrate a now famous story of a bank intern getting fired or more recently a teen suing former classmates for defamation.

Facebook can be a great tool to reconnect with friends and family. It can also be public proof that you might be a goofball and can’t be trusted with serious job responsibilities.

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5 Comments »

  1. I think it depends on how the Facebook is used. As you said, if the book is used for no good then it is unprofessional. If on the other hand, it is used as a way of contact and community with the students and the stakeholders in the school, then it is professional.

    Comment by Ron Bridges — March 27, 2009 @ 2:48 AM

  2. I’m teaching a class for teachers about Facebook in Singapore – they have a whole range of other issues. one teacher posted a picture of herself in a bikini – not a big story in west – but in SE Asia it was considered inappropriate.
    Global tools used differently around the world. Teachers have a tough job keeping up.
    Oh and thanks for the link to the etiquette thingie 🙂

    Comment by Laurel Papworth — March 27, 2009 @ 2:51 AM

    • Regional expectations are definitely a consideration; this is an excellent point.

      It is worth noting that when in doubt, check with your supervisor, department head or principal to make sure you don’t compromise the expectations set before you.

      Comment by Mark Glowacz — March 27, 2009 @ 4:55 PM

  3. I like one of my kid’s teachers solutions. He keeps his fb profile private, but started a group for his students that he keeps updated. Perfect balance.

    Comment by Beverly Hogue — March 27, 2009 @ 2:54 AM

    • I like this solution. Admittedly, I’d have to look into this since I’m not familiar with Facebook groups. I’m a member of my university’s and fraternity’s alumni groups but that is the extent of my experience with it.

      Comment by Mark Glowacz — March 27, 2009 @ 4:57 PM


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