Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Social Networking's Pros and Cons

Some critics of social networking (and nervous parents) have advocated blocking access to sites like Facebook, MySpace and other high-profile sites at libraries, schools, and from home networks via web filters, etc.

However, these efforts have been rather ineffective and/or counterintuitive. Aside from the age-old guarantee that whatever one's parents disapprove of becomes infinitely cooler, many corporate and college recruiters are actively using social networks as a tool to help them find the best and brightest (as well as weed out the idiots).

Social networks, blogs, etc. are tools which students can use, or misuse. The trick is to educate them about the ways in which these new tools can be investments.

It's up to us--as professors, teachers, etc.--to educate ourselves about these new technologies first, and then help our students to employ them in the best possible ways. In particular, this is a natural fit for those involved in writing instruction... (hint-hint).

Meanwhile, a study has recently been released which details how the MySpace horror-stories are sinking in for today's teens.

It may have taken a while, but it's good to know progress is being made:

There is reason to believe that the next generation of collegiate social networkers might be more circumspect about what they choose to share with the Web at large, according to a survey released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The study, "Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview," found that two-thirds of junior-high and high-school students with MySpace profiles restricted their photos and personal information to people they deemed friends.

You can see the full post here.

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