Facebook – a renewed ‘like’

Facebook is just fine

Facebook is just fine

About six months ago I decided to take a break from Facebook. I was finding that I was distracted by it and it was a very convenient procrastination tool. I was also becoming increasingly conscious of my online presence and digital footprint and wanted to think about the role of my Facebook account in this. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go cold turkey – I still liked being able to see what my friends were sharing, but I retreated and became more of a lurker.

Six months later, and Facebook is back in favour.

I was already starting to enjoy a new found love of Facebook when I stumbled across the article Facebook is Just Fine. It reminded me what it is I tell people about Twitter – it takes work, there is definitely a learning curve in the beginning and it needs work to keep your feed interesting and relevant. That is equally true for Facebook.

Spending more time on Facebook I was rewarded quickly with chats with friends in far off places. People with who I would have lost contact with were it not for Facebook. I still very much want to keep Facebook as my private, personal space and I am reluctant to let my professional world into this,  however I am exploring this in a small way.

I have been invited to and joined two private groups. One is a UK ESOL group and the second is a group of people from the LSIS research project I did this year. With this professional/personal divide in mind, there are only two people from the LSIS group that have become Facebook friends -  these are the two people that I got on well with. Beyond this, the group will be a great way to keep in touch professionally, but I am not really interested in sharing my weekend plans with, or reading about random thoughts from, anyone else from the group.

I have also been considering the value of Facebook as a teaching and learning tool. It seems that more and more tutors are using Facebook Pages or Groups with their students. However, beyond reminding students to come on time or do their homework I am not too sure how these are being used. I am looking to set up a Facebook User Group at work in order for tutors using Facebook to discuss and share how they are using this tool.

In Teacher Education, we have agreed that we won’t use Facebook directly with the students and have agreed to trial using Yammer groups. The idea of this was introduced at the first CELTA interviews and seemed to be very well received and I hope the trainees will use this as a kind of ‘coffee room’ (Reynolds, Wormald, & Bailey 2013)
- where they can drop in the chat or listen in their own time. We are hoping that people that may already engage with Facebook won’t have any issues with joining a new social network, while those who don’t use Facebook will be reassured by the ‘closed’ nature of the group.
I’ve already set up a Tech for Learning Alumni group and this has been well received by the tutors from the course so far. I’m keen to see how this develops over the next few months.

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