Facebook fundamentally changed the way people use the internet.
I think this nearly-irrefutable, bold statement is often forgotten by media consumers who also use Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and dozens of other sites to express themselves and learn from others on the internet.
Before Facebook, articles and jokes circulated on email chains, and boy were they the opposite of visually-appealing. They were often accompanied by “share this message, or else” and many false articles were represented as fact, thus spawning Snopes.com and other sites dedicated to squashing urban legends and other foolishness circulating the internet.
Now, for a story or picture shared on Facebook, a few quick context clues make it pretty clear whether something is accurate or not.
Facebook is also extremely versatile. You can post to a timeline or tag friends or students in a “note.” You can create Groups – open and closed – and events; both which have highly-unique and differing features. Facebook even provides a weather forecast for the time of the event, based on the location selected. What a service!
I think groups and “fan pages” are the best avenues for educators to engage their students with. Most schools – K-12 through college – already use Facebook for marketing and branding purposes, and for announcing events. However, teachers and professors can create professional “fan pages” that their students can “like” instead of “friend.” Creating a fan page will allow the teacher to separate their personal information from their individual Facebook account. They can use this professional account to share information on their “fan page,” which will pop up on students’ news feeds if they “like” it, and teachers can use this separate account to interact with students in groups for the class, etc.
Facebook allows for the posting of text, pictures, and video in the group, thus making it among the most flexible and powerful avenues for teachers to engage students.
PS – This assignment was adapted from Jane Hart’s 10 Tools Challenge: http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2013/01/08/take-the-10-tools-challenge/